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Tribes Lead Cultural Preservation Threatened by Invasive Species

Kelly Church, Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa; Richard Silliboy, Aroostook Band of Micmacs; and Butch Jacobs, Passamaquoddy, evaluate the quality, strength and condition of green ash splints pounded from experimental black ash logs.

Kelly Church, Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa; Richard Silliboy, Aroostook Band of Micmacs; and Butch Jacobs, Passamaquoddy, evaluate the quality, strength and condition of green ash splints pounded from experimental black ash logs.

The emerald ash borer beetle (EAB) is responsible for the death and decline of tens of millions of ash trees across 15 States.  It has had a devastating effect wherever ash trees grow.  Whether the ash is used by industry; shading homes and urban streets, or an integral part of our forest ecosystem, its decline due to EAB is being felt by everyone.  Perhaps one of the hardest hit by this pest are Native American tribes of the Northeastern United States for whom brown ash is rooted deep in their culture, providing spiritual and economic support to their communities. Read more »

7,175 Ways to Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food: Visit a Farmers Market

Fresh mushrooms and peppers sold at the Ypsilanti Depot Town Market in Michigan.  Michigan ranks among the top ten states for growth and for number of farmers markets this year.

Fresh mushrooms and peppers sold at the Ypsilanti Depot Town Market in Michigan. Michigan ranks among the top ten states for growth and for number of farmers markets this year. (Image courtesy of realtimefarms.com)

As the weekend approaches, there are things we all look forward to – sleeping in late, spending time with family, splashing in the neighborhood pool, and picnics with friends.  For me, I look forward to visiting my local farmers market.  It is a time for me and my urban-raised children to connect with local farmers and thank them for their hard work in providing the food we eat every day.  In the DC metro region, it’s the height of tomato season here.  I find strange and luscious heirloom tomato varieties in the farmers market that I never see in my grocery store.  Always trying to expand my children’s palate, the farmers market provides a great place to taste fresh foods.  The farmers cheer as my children try new fruits and vegetables.  The infectious excitement and fun at the market facilitates my efforts to get my kids to gobble up healthy food. Read more »

City of Liberal, Kansas and USDA Rural Development Help Families Build Homes

Six families gathered in Liberal, Kan., to celebrate the completion of their newly constructed homes.  The families utilized USDA Rural Development’s Self-Help Housing Program administered by the City of Liberal to help construct the homes.  The family members devote time and labor to painting, roofing, siding and other types of tasks and lower the cost of construction, while developing equity in their new home.

In 2006, the City of Liberal was awarded a technical assistance grant from USDA Rural Development to begin the Self-Help Housing Program.  Through the program, 30 homes have been built in Liberal.  USDA Rural Development’s direct home loans have financed $3.9 million in construction for Liberal’s self-help homes. Read more »

USDA Feeds Families, Dominates OPM Hall of Fame

Emily Clever, Morningside Shelter Case Manager, Deborah Boyd, RD Specialist, and Laura Gibson, co-chair of the Vermont RD Feds Feed Families campaign, deliver food donations to the Morningside Shelter in Vermont.

Emily Clever, Morningside Shelter Case Manager, Deborah Boyd, RD Specialist, and Laura Gibson, co-chair of the Vermont RD Feds Feed Families campaign, deliver food donations to the Morningside Shelter in Vermont.

With just over three weeks left in the 2011 Feds Feed Families campaign, we are nearing the finish line of what has been an extraordinary show of support, commitment and compassion from USDA employees across the country. Read more »

Bringing Relief to Tornado-Stricken Cattlemen

John Sudduth, Don Allison, Carl Godsey, Allen Owens  and NRCS’ Wade Hill distributed the fencing supplies to tornado victims in Marion, Franklin and Lawrence Counties.

John Sudduth, Don Allison, Carl Godsey, Allen Owens and NRCS’ Wade Hill distributed the fencing supplies to tornado victims in Marion, Franklin and Lawrence Counties.

When tornadoes struck Alabama in April 2011, people across the state rushed to help their neighbors with food, shelter and basic necessities. But volunteers didn’t have much time to help cattlemen round up and secure livestock. Read more »

Fourth Generation Farmer, Educator, and Lawmaker Helps White House Win the Future

Jason Frerichs, Farmer/Rancher/Educator, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, Wilmot, SD

Jason Frerichs, Farmer/Rancher/Educator, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, Wilmot, SD

Cross posted from the White House Rural Champions of Change website:

Jason is a fourth generation farmer/rancher, educator, and lawmaker from Wilmot, SD. Jason manages a 150 head beef cow/calf operation as well as raises corn, soybeans, wheat, and alfalfa. Frerichs is an agriculture instructor at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, SD where he is also the Watertown Area FFA Advisor. Representative Frerichs has been a key player in the development of renewable energy and education issues in the State Legislature. Frerichs is actively involved in the Farmers Union, the South Dakota Education Association, SD Stockgrowers, and the United States Cattlemen’s Association.