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Happy Anniversaries: Conservation Reserve Program Turns 25, 100 Years Since President Reagan’s Birth

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which has protected the nation’s natural resources since 1985, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

CRP was signed into law by former President Ronald Reagan – who’s centennial is being celebrated this year – as part of the 1985 Farm Bill that was reported to be one of the most massive agricultural reform bills in the nation’s history. It was touted by then Agriculture Secretary John Block as the “agricultural recovery program to put this industry back in the business of prosperity in the years to come.” Read more »

AMS to Host an Introduction to PACA Webinar — In Spanish

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is excited about one of our upcoming webinars.  To date, AMS Fruit and Vegetable Programs has delivered nearly ten free online webinars for fruit and vegetable growers, handlers, and distributors of all sized operations.  The webinars have been a big success, with an average of nearly 200 attendees benefiting from the extensive knowledge of AMS employees.  So what’s got us so excited this time?  On June 23, AMS will deliver our first ever Spanish language webinar.

The demographics of the U.S. agriculture industry are changing.  According to the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture, there has been a 14 percent increase of farm operators reporting their ethnicity as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino origin.  This segment is the second highest of all ethnic groups operating in agriculture.  To meet the needs of our Spanish speaking customers in the U.S. and abroad, Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) employee Pat Romero will deliver “An Introduction to PACA – In Spanish.” Read more »

California Chef Helps Schools Go for Gold!

Salida Union School District’s Child Nutrition Services Director, Chef Billy Reid (right), Tammy Zeiger (left), a member of his team, and several students demonstrate how to cook a healthy school lunch using USDA Foods.

Salida Union School District’s Child Nutrition Services Director, Chef Billy Reid (right), Tammy Zeiger (left), a member of his team, and several students demonstrate how to cook a healthy school lunch using USDA Foods.

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

Chef Billy Reid, manager of child nutrition services at Salida Union School District, is an advocate of the Chefs Move to Schools initiative. Chef Reid has been using his expertise to make sure students in his District eat meals that are both healthy and tasty. Read more »

Supporting the Next Generation of Agriculture

All universities engage in research and teaching, but the nation’s more than 100 land-grant colleges and universities, have a third critical mission—extension.  “Extension” means “reaching out,” and—along with teaching and research—land-grant institutions extend their resources, solving public needs with college or university resources through non-formal, non-credit programs.

These programs are largely administered through thousands of county and regional extension offices, which bring land-grant expertise to the most local of levels.  And both the universities and their local offices are supported by NIFA, the federal partner in the Cooperative Extension System (CES). Read more »

Aurora, Minnesota Expands a Medical Center with Help from USDA Rural Development

White Community Hospital and Nursing Home has provided quality care for community members of Aurora, Minn. for over 50 years. To strengthen and stabilize its healthcare services, White Hospital joined Essentia Health in 2010. Funds provided by USDA Rural Development will help combine Essentia Health’s Aurora Clinic with the White Community Hospital and Nursing Home facilities to offer a wide variety of services all in one convenient location known as Essentia Health – Northern Pines.

Rural Development funding for the expansion includes a guaranteed community facilities loan through Agstar Rural Capital Network and a community facilities direct loan. Read more »

Water Quality in Wisconsin’s Crawfish River to Improve Thanks to USDA Funding Support

On April 28, 2011, Fall River Students attended a special school assembly and were joined by Local, State and National Officials in a 2011 Earth Day Celebration.   They honored their village’s new wastewater regionalization project, which was recently selected by USDA as a National 2011 Earth Day Project.  When completed, the enhanced system will provide adequate wastewater treatment to the Village of Fall River; now and into the future; by preventing untreated seepage from the system into area ground water, nearby creek, and the Crawfish River.

The event included a formal program where USDA Wisconsin Rural Development State Director, Stan Gruszynski, presented the Village of Fall River with a National Earth Day Award, and announced that the Village had been approved for a $6.4 million Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant combination from USDA Rural Development. Funds will be used to upgrade and regionalize the village’s wastewater treatment system. Attendees were also treated to a performance by the Students, who sang Earth Day songs to kick-off the event. Read more »