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Annual Hummingbird Festival returns to Land Between The Lakes’ Woodlands Nature Station

Sadie Armin Begtrup of Nashville, Tenn., prepares to release a hummingbird after it was banded at the annual USDA Forest Service Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area Hummingbird Festival Aug. 5-7, 2011.

Sadie Armin Begtrup of Nashville, Tenn., prepares to release a hummingbird after it was banded at the annual USDA Forest Service Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area Hummingbird Festival Aug. 5-7, 2011.

More than 1,300 people gathered at the Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area in Golden Pond, Ky., during the annual Hummingbird Festival, where they learned about the ruby-throated variety and how to help them survive the long migration from the eastern U.S. and southern Canada to Mexico and Central America. Read more »

A Visit to the Ohio State Fair

The Ohio State Fair is a unique and exciting showcase of Ohio’s agriculture, livestock and natural resources.

At the fair, I had the opportunity to visit with members of the Ohio FFA.  These young people were impressive and demonstrated a true commitment to agriculture and Rural America.  It is these future leaders who will be challenged to maintain a traditional way of life in Rural America, and to continue to feed and clothe this country and the world. Read more »

Plant Materials Center Helps Conserve Florida’s Water Supply

PMC staff preparing field for planting test plants in Ona, Florida.

PMC staff preparing field for planting test plants in Ona, Florida.

In Florida, saving water and reducing nutrient runoff are top priorities for state and federal agencies. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Brooksville Plant Materials Center staff and the faculty at two University of Florida Research and Education Centers are collaborating on the development of a seed-producing, improved, low-maintenance native groundcover that can substitute for more high-maintenance grass turf in areas with low foot traffic. Read more »

Farmers Get Pricing Insight Through Market News

A wide variety of eggplant sold at the North Carolina Farmers Market.  The North Carolina State Farmers Market is one of the local markets covered by USDA Market News.  Photo by Justin Henry.

A wide variety of eggplant sold at the North Carolina Farmers Market. The North Carolina State Farmers Market is one of the local markets covered by USDA Market News. Photo by Justin Henry.

The announcement this week that the number of farmers markets has grown by 17 percent nationwide comes as no surprise to the USDA’s Market News. As demand for local and regional foods has grown, USDA’s Market News has grown as well by providing coverage of farmers markets and auctions. Read more »

Kentucky Rural Development Celebrates BIG Opportunities and Job Creation

The ribbon cutting photo includes from left to right: Donna McClure, Sen. McConnell’s office, Mark Johnson, Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Earl Gohl, Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, Congressman Hal Rogers, Tom Fern, Kentucky State Director, Bill Singleton, Kentucky Highlands Chairman, and Jerry Rickett, Kentucky Highlands President.

The ribbon cutting photo includes from left to right: Donna McClure, Sen. McConnell’s office, Mark Johnson, Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Earl Gohl, Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, Congressman Hal Rogers, Tom Fern, Kentucky State Director, Bill Singleton, Kentucky Highlands Chairman, and Jerry Rickett, Kentucky Highlands President.

Job creation in rural America begins with local leaders, a vision for improving the local economy and then bringing together financing partners to make the vision a reality. I had the honor of joining Congressman Hal Rogers and representatives from Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul’s offices today to celebrate such job creating efforts in Laurel County, KY.   As we walked through this 9,600 square foot business accelerator, you can understand why it is referred to as the BIG Center. Read more »

Healthy Kids are Smarter Kids: Culinary Demo Highlights USDA Foods

Things were cookin’ in Nashville last month, and not just the July weather in this vibrant southern city.  At the historic Opryland Hotel, we joined our partners at the School Nutrition Association’s annual convention to show how USDA Foods are increasingly vital to the health of our nation’s schoolchildren.

The culinary demo was led by local chef and Nashville public school dad David Owens, who wowed convention attendees and members of the media with baked chicken in fruit sauce, vegetarian chili, and vegetable rice. But the exhibition was about more than creating great tasting meals. Along with Nashville Education and Training Coordinator Deborah Walker, Chef Owens emphasized practicing safe and healthy preparation, choosing reasonably priced options, and integrating ingredients relevant and appealing to the modern school nutrition program. Read more »