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FSA Youth Loans Build Future Farmers

Across our communities, young farmers are taking out loans, rolling up their sleeves and taking part in the American Dream in hopes of becoming future farmers with the ability to own a farm of their own one day.

Rebecca Hatcher and Jake Broadway are members of the Grundy County High School Future Farmers of America. When they decided to participate in the 4-H market steer project they contacted the Winchester Farm Service Agency (FSA) office about a youth loan.  After receiving the loan, each purchased a market steer to show in 4-H shows in the area and the nearby county fair. Their plan is to market and sell the steers this summer and save the profit for college. Rebecca’s father, Wade Hatcher, is sponsoring both steers at his farm. Read more »

Calling All Farmers (Markets)

USDA Agriculture Marketing Service

Today USDA opened the annual updating of the National Farmers Market Directory. The Directory captures information about where and when farmers markets operate, if they participate in federal nutrition benefit programs, and detailed information about their seasonality and location.  It is a great tool for markets to make sure people in their community can find them; in addition to helping people find the closest farmers market, they are included in maps, mobile apps and other stats. Read more »

Desktop Conservationist Helps Fix Priority Watersheds

Earth Team volunteer Steve Eckstein’s computer work is helping North Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council (NJRC&D) improve water quality in a big way. He’s also helping farmers get conservation funding needed to improve their land.

Earth Team is the name given to USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service volunteers. Earth Team volunteers work side by side with Natural Resource Conservation Service employees on conservation projects to improve their local environment. Read more »

Chef Lovely Helps Chicago Students Win the Future

Students at Chicago’s Mark Sheridan Math & Science Academy sampled—and enjoyed—nutritious food prepared by Chef Lovely Jackson as part of a Chefs Move to Schools event on April 5th.

Students at Chicago’s Mark Sheridan Math & Science Academy sampled—and enjoyed—nutritious food prepared by Chef Lovely Jackson as part of a Chefs Move to Schools event on April 5th.

Chicago is fortunate to have a bevy of talented chefs and also to be the hometown for the Healthy Schools Campaign, a national organization that advocates for policies and practices that allow students, teachers and staff to learn and work in a healthy school environment. Read more »

Faces of the Forest Celebrates Warren Heilman

Warren Heilman is riveted by numbers, especially those that tell the story of how weather affects wildfires.

Heilman is a U.S. Forest Service meteorologist who conducts studies at the Northern Research Stations’ East Lansing, Mich. office. His work on how weather impacts fire behavior helps firefighters and fire managers better understand how fires spread across the landscape.

His research leads him down seemingly endless lists of questions for which answers are sometimes elusive. Read more »

Wood to Energy – Removing Woody Biomass from National Forests Helps Local Economies

The USDA Forest Service Woody Biomass Utilization Team promotes and guides the removal of woody biomass from national forests. Removal of woody biomass from forests provides a variety of critical benefits for rural economies from wood to energy projects to overall ecosystem health. Woody biomass is used in bioenergy facilities that use commercially proven technologies to produce thermal, electrical or liquid/gaseous bioenergy.

Because climate change is having profound and significant impacts on the nation’s forests and rangelands, demands for renewable energy and bio-based biofuels products is increasing exponentially. Forests also play an important role in sequestering carbon, thereby reducing the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Read more »