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Kickoff ‘New Markets, New Jobs’ Event Puts Small and Medium-Sized Agribusinesses in the Spotlight

Yesterday, I was honored to represent the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the ‘New Markets, New Jobs’ conference held at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Minnesota is one of our agricultural trade leaders, ranking sixth among all 50 states for U.S. farm exports, generating nearly $8 billion in economic activity from agricultural trade.  This made it the perfect setting to launch a year-long, multi-city campaign focused on supporting our nation’s small and medium-sized businesses as they face the many challenges of global trade. Read more »

USDA Launches Spanish-Language SNAP Retail Locator

As this blog is being posted, I am down in Miami at Sedano’s Supermarket with local business leaders, retailers and community members to unveil a new consumer resource that will help families in need gain access to healthy food.  I am pleased to unveil the Spanish-language version of the SNAP Retail Locator, an online search tool to help Spanish-speaking recipients locate an authorized Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)  store near their home or workplace.

USDA is committed to improving access to SNAP and providing vulnerable participants with information to make more informed shopping choices. And this innovative new tool will make it easier for SNAP participants, especially those who may be new and unfamiliar with the program, to gain access to the nutritious food they need. Read more »

The Farmers Market Promotion Program is Feeding Healthy Communities

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

Fresh, nutritious food is a cornerstone of a community’s physical health, but community health is more than physical well-being.  A vibrant, healthy community encompasses both the well-being of consumers through improved health, and the well-being of producers through improved economic outcomes.  Making this connection, and providing healthy, affordable food supplies, are goals of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative. Read more »

South Dakota Forum held to discuss Healthy Meals for Students

Opportunities for freshly grown local produce to be served in schools were discussed when school district food service directors attended an informational forum in Pierre, South Dakota last week.  They participated with a panel made up of South Dakota food producers, USDA Rural Development, South Dakota State Department of Agriculture, Dakota Rural Action, the state Department of Health, Value Added Agriculture Development Center and South Dakota Buy Fresh-Buy Local representatives.

Farm to School is a program that connects schools (K-12) and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers. Read more »

Putting Rural Development on the Map

Home page of online mapping tool, the Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America

Home page of online mapping tool, the Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America

Today, the Economic Research Service (ERS) posted a new and innovative interactive mapping tool that makes it easy to visualize and compare rural economic and social conditions among counties, states, and regions. By creating county-level maps of the United States,  users can see how socioeconomic conditions vary across the United States, or within a state. Read more »

Ohio USDA Rural Development Hosts Wind for Schools Meeting

USDA Rural Development State Director Tony Logan joined officials from the Ohio Department of Education, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and Green Energy Ohio (GEO), on Feb. 10, 2011, to co-host a Wind for Schools informational briefing at Rural Development’s state office in Columbus. The briefing’s primary goal was to increase statewide awareness of the educational benefits of small scale wind projects at Ohio’s K- 12 schools.

Briefing attendees included classroom educators, representatives from business, agriculture, power companies, green energy advocates and Senator Sherrod Brown’s office. Participants discussed the US Department of Energy’s (USDOE) pilot Wind for Schools program and reviewed opportunities for state, federal and school district collaboration to deploy similar wind projects in Ohio. Read more »