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Tribal Colleges to Receive USDA Funding to Improve Classrooms, Upgrade Computer Equipment and Provide Jobs

Earlier today I announced on behalf of Secretary Tom Vilsack that 19 tribal colleges in nine states have been awarded grants through the USDA Rural Development’s Tribal College Initiative Grant program, part of our Community Facilities program.  Funding will be used to upgrade Tribal college facilities and promote energy savings efforts.

Investing in Tribal educational facilities is key to increasing economic development in Native communities. These institutions and the students and faculty will benefit from funding that will enable them to provide enhanced educational opportunities and create jobs. Read more »

La Farm Service Agency del USDA Reduce Tasa de Quejas a Nivel más Bajo en la Historia, Mientras que Aumenta Préstamos a Agricultores en Desventaja Social

Bruce Nelson, el Administrador de la Farm Service Agency (FSA) del Departamento de Agricultura de Estados Unidos dijo hoy que la FSA ha reducido significativamente el número de quejas de derechos civiles en el año fiscal 2010 al nivel más bajo en la historia de la agencia, mientras que al tiempo aumentó el número de préstamos y la cantidad en dólares vinculados para el año fiscal 2011 a programas dedicados a las minorías y a las mujeres agricultoras.

“Las cifras de préstamos reflejan los importantes avances que hemos logrado en el esfuerzo por servir con igualdad a todos los solicitantes elegibles al apoyo de los programas de la FSA”, dijo Nelson. “Bajo el liderazgo del Presidente Obama y del Secretario Vilsack, la Farm Service Agency se ha comprometido como nunca antes a la diversidad, la inclusión y el rendimiento, para el beneficio de nuestros clientes y nuestros empleados. Read more »

USDA Farm Service Agency Decreases Civil Rights Complaint Rate to Lowest Level in History

USDA is making an effort to transform the workplace so that all customers are provided the opportunity for success and the numbers show the department is making progress.

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced this week that it has significantly reduced the number of civil rights complaints in fiscal year 2010 to the lowest level in the agency’s history, while increasing the number of loans and dollars obligated to programs dedicated to minority and women farmers for fiscal year 2011.

“The loan numbers reflect the significant progress we have made in the effort to equally serve all eligible applicants for FSA program support,” said FSA Administrator Bruce Nelson. Read more »

Learn How the Pending Trade Agreements Will Benefit You

As Agriculture Secretary Vilsack said today during a national media call, Congress must now take action on an important part of President Obama’s jobs agenda: new trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea and trade adjustment assistance to help train workers for the 21st century economy. When approved, these agreements will clear the way for new American exports around the world, help create jobs and provide new income opportunities for our nation’s agricultural producers, small businesses, and rural communities.

What these three agreements come down to is opportunity. For American agriculture, passage of these agreements means over $2.3 billion in additional exports, supporting nearly 20,000 jobs here at home. Read more »

USDA and DSU Deliver More than Healthy Food to Those in Need

People’s Garden committee member Rhonda Tyndall (left) shows DSU nutritionists Donna Brown and Carol Giesecke exactly which veggies and herbs will be ready for use in their upcoming cooking demonstration.

People’s Garden committee member Rhonda Tyndall (left) shows DSU nutritionists Donna Brown and Carol Giesecke exactly which veggies and herbs will be ready for use in their upcoming cooking demonstration.

Providing healthy produce to needy families is one of many goals of USDA’s People’s Garden Initiative. But ensuring that those who receive the food know delicious ways to enjoy it is also important. Read more »

Managing Risk: Key to Climate Change Adaptation for Resource Managers (Part One)

We face multiple risks every day as resource managers. We are pretty good at intuitively understanding the likelihoods of different hazards, the uncertainties around them, and their potential impacts on the resources we value, and we use this understanding in our resource management decisions. But the risks we manage are rapidly changing with the climate. Sustainability can no longer presume stationarity. To sustain the benefits of our forests and grasslands, our risk management approach itself must adapt to changing means and extremes. We may have to become even better at the techniques and principles of risk management. Our experience and intuition will only take us so far in a rapidly changing world.

Risk can be defined as exposure to a chance of loss. Losses can be ecological, social, or economic, expressed in absolute terms or in a sense of failure to reach a goal or a desired condition. The link between exposure and loss is vulnerability, shaped by the likelihood and magnitude of hazards (stressors) and by the sensitivity of resources to stressors and its capacity to cope with and recover from stress. Understanding exposures, vulnerabilities, and losses and taking actions to reduce losses within the limits of financial and organizational capacities is the discipline of risk management. Risk management can allow us to capture opportunities as well as reduce or avoid losses. A stressor event – fire, epidemic, flood, landslide – can create opportunities for transition to more resilient conditions, for retreat from high exposure zones, or for learning to avoid similar losses in other places. Read more »