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Organics Take A Major Step Forward with U.S.-EU Partnership

EU Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş (left) Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced that the United States and the European Union formed a partnership that will recognize the two organic programs as equivalent and allow access to each other's markets. The announcement was made at the BioFach World Organic Fair in Nuremberg, Germany on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. Photo courtesy of the European Commission.

EU Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş (left) Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced that the United States and the European Union formed a partnership that will recognize the two organic programs as equivalent and allow access to each other's markets. The announcement was made at the BioFach World Organic Fair in Nuremberg, Germany on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. Photo courtesy of the European Commission.

Travis Forgues is an organic dairy farmer in the town of Alburgh in northwest Vermont, almost at the Canadian border and surrounded on three sides by Lake Champlain. Like many of the other dairy farmers in northern Vermont, Travis is a realist. He went to college. He tried city life. But he was born into farming, and that’s how he wanted to raise his own family. So Travis went to his dad and had a talk about organic farming, and he convinced his father, and then many others, to convert their land from conventional agricultural practices to organic. As Travis saw it, organics was a growing niche within American agriculture, and consumer demand for organically produced dairy was taking off. Better still, consumers were willing to pay more for organic products. Today, as a result of Travis’ work, nearly 130 dairy farmers across New England have signed on to the “New England Pastures” organic dairy cooperative for Organic Valley. Read more »

We Can’t Wait: Bringing New Investments to Rural Communities by Leveraging Existing Programs

Cross posted from the White House blog:

Since the formation of the White House Rural Council in June 2011, we have had a unique opportunity to provide recommendations on how to grow the economy and create jobs in rural America.

The feedback we’re providing to the White House, based on our travels throughout the countryside, has helped us find creative ways to move the country forward without relying on Congress to act because rural Americans can’t wait. Read more »

Making Science Real through STEM Education

Students in the Schmahl Science Workshop and the Greene Scholars Program recently discussed their research projects with Deputy Under Secretary Ann Bartuska, pictured here (center) with Gloria Whitaker-Daniels (left), and Belinda Lowe-Schmahl (right)” (Photo Credit:  Belinda Lowe-Schmahl)

Students in the Schmahl Science Workshop and the Greene Scholars Program recently discussed their research projects with Deputy Under Secretary Ann Bartuska, pictured here (center) with Gloria Whitaker-Daniels (left), and Belinda Lowe-Schmahl (right)” (Photo Credit: Belinda Lowe-Schmahl)

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Developing a rapid, inexpensive biosensor to detect salmonella on vegetables; expanding understanding of the antimicrobial properties of nutmeg; finding a non-invasive method to test for glucose levels.  Read more »

Rural Roundtable: Strengthening Maine’s Economy

USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel; Under Secretary for USDA Rural Development Dallas Tonsager (right) ; and Maine Congressman Michael Michaud at a Rural Roundtable in Maine  About two dozen Maine business leaders discussed business development issues with Federal officials.

USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel; Under Secretary for USDA Rural Development Dallas Tonsager (right) ; and Maine Congressman Michael Michaud at a Rural Roundtable in Maine About two dozen Maine business leaders discussed business development issues with Federal officials.

It was a unique opportunity for Maine leaders to share their thoughts on the challenges and prospects for Maine’s economy at a Rural Roundtable held earlier this month, at the Rural Development State Office in Bangor. The Roundtable, facilitated by USDA Rural Development Maine State Director Virginia Manuel, brought the participants together with Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager and Maine Congressman Michael Michaud for a candid discussion. Read more »

Bringing Gold to the Red Poppy Capitol of Texas

Children listen attentively to the award ceremony.

Children listen attentively to the award ceremony.

Did you know that Georgetown is the Red Poppy Capital of Texas? I was surprised to find out that the city is known for the red poppy wildflowers that bloom throughout the city each spring. They hold the Red Poppy Festival each year in April and attract approximately 30,000 visitors. Read more »

Forest Service Law Officers Help Rescue Starving, Abandoned Horse in Colorado

As night falls, SerVivor is led out on the trail created by the Routt Power Riders snowmobile club members.

As night falls, SerVivor is led out on the trail created by the Routt Power Riders snowmobile club members. Photo courtesy Ed Calhoun

On Jan. 8, a U.S. Forest Service dispatcher radioed agency law enforcement officer Mike Seawall that members of the Routt Power Riders snowmobile club had discovered a small abandoned horse an hour and a half north of Steamboat Springs, Colo., on the Routt National Forest. Read more »