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Separating Fact from Fiction on Obama Administration’s Farm Policies

An August 18 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, ‘Obama on the Farm’, missed the underlying fact: the Obama administration understands that America’s farmers are some of our nation’s finest conservationists, and we have gone to historic lengths to support them in these efforts.

Sadly, rumors and misconceptions have become the norm, not the exception, especially when it comes to regulations and the Obama administration’s work on agriculture.  First, it was that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was considering treating spilled milk like an oil spill.  Not true.  In terms of water regulations, EPA has made it clear that recent rules do not seek to regulate land that occasionally ponds during heavy rains. Read more »

Innovation Leads the Way for Farmers in Oregon

Deborah Kane, Food and Farms at Ecotrust, Oregon

Deborah Kane, Food and Farms at Ecotrust, Oregon

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

Deborah is the Vice President of Food and Farms at Ecotrust, a non-profit organization based in Oregon. Read more »

Spotlight on Rural America

Cross posted from the White House blog:

Today, I am hosting a forum focused on the rural economy at the Iowa state fair.  But, Rural America has been in the spotlight all this week as I joined President Obama to travel across parts of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, visiting rural communities to discuss his Administration’s efforts to create jobs and drive economic growth.  From investments in rural broadband to efforts to support small-business innovation, the President talked about his commitment to rural America – and he listened to what local residents had to say.

The centerpiece of his trip was the Rural Economic Forum, held Tuesday at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta.  There, 200 small business owners, farmers, retirees, elected officials and others came together to discuss their ideas for a revitalized rural economy.  I was pleased to participate in that forum, along with my Cabinet colleagues Housing and Urban Development Secretary Donovan, Transportation Secretary LaHood, and Administrator Mills of the Small Business Administration. Read more »

Feeding Hungry Kids Tops Perth Amboy Priorities

A youngster enjoys a crisp apple for lunch at the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development’s Mi Escuelita summer food program site in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.   More than 75 kids enjoy physical activities such as soccer and basketball followed by a free healthy lunch each day during summer thanks to the USDA Summer Food Service Program.

A youngster enjoys a crisp apple for lunch at the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development’s Mi Escuelita summer food program site in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. More than 75 kids enjoy physical activities such as soccer and basketball followed by a free healthy lunch each day during summer thanks to the USDA Summer Food Service Program.

Despite having some of the highest unemployment and home foreclosure rates in New Jersey, the city of Perth Amboy refuses to let kids go hungry over the summer.  In 2011 the city extended the Summer Food Service Program by two weeks and added 20 new feeding sites.  Through an aggressive marketing effort using local newspapers, businesses, cable TV access programming and schools to advertise site locations and activities, Perth Amboy has made providing meals to kids when school’s out a top priority. Read more »

FSA Administrator Reassures Drought-Stricken Producers in Texas

A burn scar from a recent rangeland wildfire is evident in Kleberg County Texas – more than 3 million acres of rangeland have been lost to wildfires in Texas this year.

A burn scar from a recent rangeland wildfire is evident in Kleberg County Texas – more than 3 million acres of rangeland have been lost to wildfires in Texas this year.

Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Bruce Nelson traveled to South Texas last week in the midst of the historic drought impacting most of Texas and the Southwest and adversely affecting thousands of agricultural producers. Nelson took the opportunity to visit with area farmers, ranchers and agribusiness representatives who are working hard to keep their operations going in the face of the natural disaster. He made a point to reassure everyone that Secretary Vilsack and the USDA are committed to helping affected producers. Read more »

U.S. Hosts International Meeting for the Protection of New Plant Varieties

U.S. officials and members of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants observe lettuce trials in California’s Salinas Valley.

U.S. officials and members of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants observe lettuce trials in California’s Salinas Valley.

Members of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) attended a weeklong meeting hosted by U.S. officials in Monterey, Calif.  The UPOV’s Technical Working Party for Vegetables, made up of delegates from 13 countries, was also able to observe a lettuce field-trial in the Salinas Valley. Read more »