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The Shenandoah Valley Beef Initiative – Adding Value and Access to Local Markets

Last month we were proud to announce awards for the Value-Added Producer Grants program.  Managed by USDA’s Rural Development, this program has had nearly a decade of success in helping producers capture more value for their agricultural products by producing, processing, or marketing their product in a way that enhances the value or expands the customer base for that product.  Supporting this type of activity also creates new jobs, contributes to economic development, and enhances consumer food choice. Read more »

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Secretary Tom Vilsack Declares National Farmers Market Week August 1-7, 2010

Written by Rayne Pegg, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service

The Secretary of Agriculture has officially declared August 1-7 2010 as National Farmers Market Week.

National Farmers Market Week is an opportunity to celebrate the thriving farmers markets in your community.  It’s a time to specifically honor the market vendors who tend the farms, grow the produce, raise the meat, bake the bread and prepare the other fresh local products you find at your farmers market. It’s a time to thank the market managers who organize and run farmers markets smoothly so you can enjoy the goods vendors have to offer.  It’s a time to benefit from the community pride and economic opportunities farmers markets build in towns and cities across the country. Read more »

Take 10 to Play 10

By Amanda Eamich, Director of Web Communications

The Apps for Healthy Kids polls are open with 95 games and apps waiting for you to test and play. We’re thrilled with your interest thus far with almost 5,000 votes cast in the first week.  Read more »

USDA Wants to Hear Your Views About The Power of Telemedicine

Written by Jonathan Adelstein, Administrator, Rural Utilities Services

Remote learning, teaching, and service delivery are becoming a way of life, and nowhere is that truer than in rural regions.

Digital networks and new technologies are emerging to bring more cost-effective and high quality telemedical services to rural populations across the country.   The financial distance penalty so often assumed to be part of rural life appears to be receding as our broadband networks are expanding.  With medical record keeping systems moving to digital formats, the opportunity to have records and diagnostic tests “move” with you from doctor to doctor or from doctor to clinic is becoming more commonplace, as is the availability of sophisticated diagnostic procedures and specialized help, again through the broadband networks being built with USDA funding support  in metro and rural regions. Read more »

Commercial Kitchen Space Available to Pennsylvania Producers Thanks to USDA Funding Support

Written by Allison Bitzer, The Susquehanna Photographic

At a recent event, USDA Rural Development awarded $99,000 to York, Pennsylvania’s future Shared Kitchen Incubator at market. The project is YorKitchen, a commercial kitchen space that will be available for small culinary and agricultural businesses to prepare and package their goods. The project will offer affordable use of the space and its equipment as a way support local tastes and talents. Read more »

Wisconsin Utilities Receive Recovery Act Support to Bring Broadband to Three Counties

Written by Kelly Edwards Wisconsin USDA Public Information Coordinator

Today too few rural citizens are able to take advantage of the opportunities broadband provides.  With broadband becoming increasingly critical for economic growth and information accessibility needs, rural counties and cities are beginning to take the initiative to develop local and regional broadband networks on their own. Read more »