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Secretary’s Column: Remembering Those Who Served

This Memorial Day weekend, Americans across our nation will spend time with family and friends – enjoying parades, barbeques, ballgames and the great outdoors.

But it’s important that we also take time to remember the men and women who have given their lives defending the United States. While we cannot repay the debt of gratitude we owe these service members, we can honor their memory. We can pay tribute to our veterans, as well as those who today are on active duty. Read more »

In Honor of Small Business Week, Save Mother Earth by Saving Resources

Business owners and managers around the world like to save money.  Electricity, natural gas, and water are three utilities that can drain a bank account fast.  N-K Properties, Inc., a car wash business, based in Yankton, South Dakota wanted to improve the bottom line.  The car wash business is a very utility hungry business, so energy efficient technology would benefit the business with increased comfort for employees and customers to significant dollar savings in energy, operation, and maintenance costs.

The design concept that N-K Properties was operating under for their energy efficiency improvements was – Save Mother Earth by saving resources.   Working collaboratively with USDA Rural Development, N-K Properties, Inc. was able to integrate energy efficiencies into their operation with the installation of a wind turbine to generate electricity.  The signage consists of Light Emitting Diode “LED” to save energy.  In addition, geothermal heating and cooling equipment were installed for the building. Read more »

Forest Service Eastern Region highlights Legacy Trail on White Mountain National Forest

Driving along the Kancamagus Highway  on White Mountain National Forest, Lincoln, N.H.

Driving along the Kancamagus Highway on White Mountain National Forest, Lincoln, N.H.

The Weeks Act 100-mile Legacy Trail has recently been unveiled as a virtual self-guided driving tour of the White Mountains in New Hampshire.   The tour is named after the watershed conservation legislation of 1911 known as the Weeks Act that led to the creation of national forests east of the Mississippi River. Read more »

Undersecretary Promotes “All of the Above” Renewable Energy Strategy

Rural America has great potential in helping the U.S. meet the future energy demand by deploying alternative energy and energy efficiency sources and practices, so says U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Under Secretary for Rural Development, Dallas Tonsager, who visited the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland Wash., with other members of a technical advisory committee exploring ways to further the use and development of advanced bio-fuels.

Tonsager co-chairs the Biomass Research and Development Board, which was created by the Biomass Research and Development Act of 2000.  USDA and the Department of Energy implement the Biomass Research and Development Initiative, which consists of grants made available through the 2008 Energy Act and other programs. Read more »

USDA Uses Its ‘Noodle’ to Expand Wheat Exports

Imperial Foods’ owner Ahmadou Danpuolo Baba, U.S. Ambassador to Cameroon Robert P. Jackson, President of First Bank Group Dr. Paul K. Fokam, and U.S. Consul  Edward Gallagher observe a production run of U.S. wheat- and soy-based noodles at the opening of Imperial Foods factory in Douala. Photo credit: Imperial Foods

Imperial Foods’ owner Ahmadou Danpuolo Baba, U.S. Ambassador to Cameroon Robert P. Jackson, President of First Bank Group Dr. Paul K. Fokam, and U.S. Consul Edward Gallagher observe a production run of U.S. wheat- and soy-based noodles at the opening of Imperial Foods factory in Douala. Photo credit: Imperial Foods

On my first visit to Cameroon, I had been asked to speak at the formal opening of the Imperial Foods noodle plant—a public-private partnership that helps to illustrate how USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) serves American agriculture in markets around the world. Read more »

Intertribal Agriculture Council Executive Director Praises Appointment of Members to the USDA Council for Native American Farming and Ranching

I was pleased to receive this statement in support of Secretary Vilsack’s appointment of members to the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching (CNAFR) from Ross Racine Executive Director  of the Intertribal Agriculture Council.

“The addition of CNAFR to the USDA available tools should provide much needed Native American input to the Department policies, rules and program delivery.  The CNAFR represents a diverse geographical group of individuals which in turn represents the diversity of Native American agriculture and natural resources.  In addition, I foresee the CNAFR providing an additional sounding board for Tribes and individual Indian producers as barriers are identified and are in need of address to facilitate Native American participation in the vast array of USDA programs and services.  CNAFR increases the Native American focus on Indian agriculture and increases the number of individuals pursuing positive change thus increasing Indian participation in USDA programs. CNAFR is another step USDA is taking to insure Native Americans have full opportunity to utilized programs and services to improve the quality of life on our Reservations.” Read more »