The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Beijing has been working closely with Chinese retailer Beijing Hualian Group High End Markets (BHG) for several years, building a strong partnership. The Beijing ATO is staffed by Foreign Service Officers from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), who work in more than 100 offices around the world to establish solid export relationships for U.S. agriculture. In five short years, BHG has become one of the premier retailers of high-end imported foods to domestic Chinese consumers. In addition, BHG’s purchases of U.S. high-value food products jumped from $3 million in the first quarter of 2011 to $7 million in the second quarter. Read more »
Tucked away in the hillsides of Somerset County, Pennwood Farms is seeing great results from its new methane digester. The 600-cow dairy farm is owned by four brothers who installed the digester in April of this year with the help of a $264,450 USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) loan, a $264,574 REAP grant and $475,274 in PA Energy Development Authority funding. The digester produces biogas to power a 180-kilowatt engine-generator, providing more than enough electricity to meet the farm’s needs. In addition to electricity, the digester also produces fertilizer and cow bedding, saving the farm over $60,000 per year in bedding costs.
Rural Development’s REAP loan and grant to Pennwood Farms are excellent examples of funding that contributes to making farm operations more energy efficient and economical. This funding for renewable energy projects helps rebuild and revitalize rural America. Read more »
In conjunction with National Bike Month, the National Forests in Florida celebrated the renovation of the Munson Hills Off-Road Bicycle Trail on the Apalachicola National Forest. The project was funded by the Recovery Act.
The ribbon-cutting event in Bristol, Fla., was attended by an enthusiastic crowd. Guest speaker Jim Wood of the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails kicked off the ceremony. Recognition was given to those individuals who contributed to the restoration and renovation of the trails by Deputy District Ranger Harold Shenk. Following the ceremony, a group bicycle ride was led by the Tallahassee Mountain Bike Club. Read more »
Last week we were honored to host USDA’s 3rd annual Iftar commemorating the month of Ramadan and the contributions of USDA’s Muslim employees. More than 200 attendees, including USDA employees, Muslim community members, and representatives from faith-based and secular non-profit organizations, gathered at USDA headquarters for an evening with a themed focus on “Food and Faith: Setting a Safe and Healthy Table.” Read more »
In a scene that’s a telltale sign of summer across the southern United States, farmers’ markets and grocery stores are now proudly declaring that they are stocked with ripe, delicious, American-grown peaches.
Thanks in part to a Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) grant from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to the Georgia and South Carolina Peach councils, fresh Georgia and South Carolina peaches are now also being enjoyed by our neighbors in Mexico for the first time in 17 years. Read more »
Cowboys are known for being good story tellers, and Roy and Steve Breuklander are no exceptions.
Roy might tell you how his grandparents homesteaded in Cherry County back in the 1880s. Roy’s son, Steve, might share how his family started one of the first canoe outfitters in Niobrara Valley. Read more »