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Risk Management Agency Seeks Public Input on Establishing a Single Data Reporting System

USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) working together have made great strides in making acreage reporting simpler for farmers and ranchers.  The Acreage and Crop Reporting Streamlining Initiative (ACRSI), seeks to reduce the reporting burden on producers submitting data to USDA.

In listening sessions with producers last year, FSA and the Office of the Chief Information Officer found some common themes emerged: Read more »

USDA Leaders Share Successes, Goals for Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan addresses the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council and members of the press.

Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan addresses the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council and members of the press.

On July 11, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and I traveled to Richmond, Virginia to represent USDA at the annual Chesapeake Bay Executive Council (CBEC) meeting. The CBEC is the governing body of Bay restoration and protection efforts, and it includes leaders from federal agencies and states across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Read more »

APHIS Veterinarians, Protecting our Nation’s Wildlife Populations

Dr. Jack Rhyan, APHIS Wildlife Pathologist, Fort Collins, CO

Dr. Jack Rhyan, APHIS Wildlife Pathologist, Fort Collins, CO

I’m Dr. Jack Rhyan and I’m a wildlife pathologist for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services. I’ve worked for APHIS since 1990, and had spent seven years at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories before taking my current position at the National Wildlife Research Center. Read more »

A Louisiana Bank Leverages USDA Rural Development Funds to Build a Hotel and Create Jobs

Recently, about 150 people came out to show their support for the new Hampton Inn & Suites of Marksville at their grand opening in Avoyelles Parish in Louisiana. USDA Rural Development State Director Clarence W. Hawkins joined Thomas G. Christopoulos (owner) along with representatives from Cenla Chambers of Commerce; Daniel Decuir, Marksville Mayor Pro Tem; and other dignitaries to introduce the new 77 room hotel to the city. The hotel will provide an estimated 15 new jobs for area residents.

“Rural Development will continue to invest in the development of our rural communities throughout the State of Louisiana,” said State Director Hawkins. This new hotel will impact the Town of Marksville by creating jobs, furnishing accommodations for the overflow of visitors and it is the first brand name hotel to come to Marksville, Louisiana. Read more »

Restoring Native White and Red Pine Plant Communities in Minnesota

Rieber Paulson monitoring the growth on a 5-year old white pine.

Rieber Paulson monitoring the growth on a 5-year old white pine.

Rieber Paulson knew part of his 40-acre forest in Northern Minnesota needed to be harvested.  He also had a vision of what the area should eventually look like. Read more »

Meeting with Illinois Business Leaders in Springfield

This past week, I had the chance to sit down with about 20 business leaders in central Illinois to hear their views on ways we can improve the nation’s economy, especially from the agriculture industry perspective.  The meeting was part of a series of outreach efforts across the country this summer to rural Americans as part of the White House Business Council and the White House Rural Council.

I want to thank Tim McArdle of Brandt Consolidated, Inc., who leads a successful agri-business in Springield, IL that helps farmers adopt new technologies for their operations.  We gathered representatives from many local businesses and had a frank and open discussion about the role of the Federal government in creating a business environment that encourages job growth and improves economic conditions in the agricultural sector and rural communities. Read more »