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“Spuds Unearthed!” Exhibit Digs Up History of the Potato

Jean Ristaino of North Carolina State University used USDA funds to sequence late blight disease, pictured, responsible for the Irish potato famine. Her research is leading to new ways to combat the disease.

Jean Ristaino of North Carolina State University used USDA funds to sequence late blight disease, pictured, responsible for the Irish potato famine. Her research is leading to new ways to combat the disease.

The potato is the world’s fourth largest food crop and is the largest vegetable crop in the United States. The crop originated in the Andes Mountains in South America, and in the ensuing 7,000 years, has spread across the globe. Potatoes have played an important role in saving populations of people around the world from starvation. However, the potato has had a tumultuous history, suffering from late blight disease, which caused the Irish potato famine and a severe outbreak in 2009 in the United States. Read more »

Rural Development Employees “Pour Sweat Equity” Into Home Building

Volunteers secure the north end wall of the house after it is lifted into place.

Volunteers secure the north end wall of the house after it is lifted into place.

A nice break in the recent rainy weather in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia offered perfect timing for a Self-Help Build day.  The event which was held September 29, 2010, has become an annual occurrence during which volunteers gather to help families build their homes. Read more »