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Tips and Recipes to Kick off National Chicken Month and Labor Day Weekend

As the Labor Day holiday approaches and National Chicken Month begins, we have some tips and recipes to help you on your path to becoming a grill master.

While you probably know that all chicken is inspected to make sure it is safe to consume, understanding grading and classes of chicken can help you choose the right type of chicken for grilling, broiling, or frying. Companies use grading services provided by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to ensure that their products have the level of quality consumers expect when they see our “Grade A” shield on the package. Read more »

Rural Champion Leads Efforts to Re-Build Hurricane Ravaged Town

Linda Roberson, Rural Town Manager and Finance Director, Florida

Linda Roberson, Rural Town Manager and Finance Director, Florida

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

Linda Roberson is the Town Manager and Finance Director of Zolfo Springs, Florida. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Agriculture Is Resilient Through Disaster

This week I traveled to North Carolina and Virginia to view the damage from Hurricane Irene, survey the response efforts, and meet with local residents.  This trip was my fourth in as many months to make sure that the USDA is helping families rebuild and recover from natural disasters including tornados, wild fires, floods and drought.

So I’ve seen how tough times are affecting folks across the nation, and particularly our farmers and ranchers.  Unusual weather patterns have driven thousands of Americans from their homes, and threatened their livelihoods.  And my heart goes out to all of those who have been touched by these disasters. Read more »

A Funky Finale for the Feds Feed Families Campaign

Grill Masters FNCS Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, MRP Under Secretary Edward Avalos, and FSIS Deputy Under Secretary Brian Ronholm grill hot dogs for the event.)Grill Masters FNCS Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, MRP Under Secretary Edward Avalos, and FSIS Deputy Under Secretary Brian Ronholm grill hot dogs for the event.)

Grill Masters FNCS Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, MRP Under Secretary Edward Avalos, and FSIS Deputy Under Secretary Brian Ronholm grill hot dogs for the event.)

Last Friday, with the sun shining down and the DJ playing “Givin’ Up Food for Funk”, national office USDA employees celebrated the end of a successful Feds Feed Families campaign at the USDA Summer Bash.  Given the level of fun that was had, I think it’s safe to say that it was the first annual USDA Summer Bash. Read more »

USDA and EPA Highlight Unique Wastewater Treatment Facility

On August 30, 2011 USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel joined Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Curt Spalding and Maine DEP Acting Commissioner Pattie Aho in highlighting one of the most affordable and advanced wastewater facilities in the country. This was an excellent opportunity to highlight the unique project as well as the important partnership between USDA Rural Development and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Greater Limestone Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility is impressive for many reasons. The $21 million total project brought together federal, state and local partners to regionalize two aging rural wastewater treatment facilities in northern Maine (Loring and Limestone) into one state-of-the-art facility. Read more »

Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager Travels to PA for Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Tour

Mac Curtis (left), owner of Windview Farm in Port Treverton, explains to Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager how his farm has benefited from the promising technology of a poultry litter incinerator that reduces his energy costs and the amount of nutrients flowing into the Chesapeake Bay.

Mac Curtis (left), owner of Windview Farm in Port Treverton, explains to Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager how his farm has benefited from the promising technology of a poultry litter incinerator that reduces his energy costs and the amount of nutrients flowing into the Chesapeake Bay.

On a crisp, fall-like day in August, Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager travelled to Pennsylvania to tour two USDA funded facilities that are helping to reduce the amount of nutrients flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. The first stop on the tour was Windview Farm where owner Mac Curtis has revolutionized his poultry farm with a $100,000 Conservation Innovation Grant from Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The project demonstrates the promising technology of a poultry litter incinerator to produce energy and nutrient management benefits.  Last year, in addition to reducing 400 tons of poultry litter to 30 tons of ash, the farm saved 90% of their propane costs. Read more »