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Mississippi Marks the 150th Anniversary of USDA

Mississippi staff recently commemorated the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its work on behalf of agriculture, rural America and people throughout the country and world who benefit from the work of the agency. Mississippi agencies USDA Rural Development (RD), National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), and Forest Service celebrated on May 15. In addition to an event at the RD state office, all the agencies area offices across the state hosted events. The event included watching the national observance from USDA headquarters in Washington, a slideshow presentation detailing history about all the agencies, agency information on display, and comments from agency heads and staff.

When President Abraham Lincoln founded the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1862, he called it “the People’s Department,” a sentiment that still rings true today as the Department’s diverse portfolio boasts strong support for American agriculture and local and regional food systems, as well as critical nutrition assistancefood safety, conservationrural development, and research programs, among many other programs and initiatives. “USDA still continues as ‘the People’s Department’ by  investing in rural America and the rural communities that millions call home and investing in community facilities and helping to ensure communities have access to critical infrastructure. Additionally through grant and loan programs for rural businesses, USDA helps to drive job growth in rural America and build thriving economies for the long term,” said Trina George, Mississippi State Director USDA Rural Development. Read more »

USDA Forest Service response to the Pentagon on 9/11 –The Leader’s View

The USDA Forest Service, along with our Federal, state and local partners operate the largest wildland fire management program in the world. To help manage these wildland fires the partners have created interagency incident management teams. These teams have responded to many incidents including major fires, insect infestations, the shuttle recovery and hurricanes. These incidents have tested the management skills and abilities of the agency and its partners.

On September 11, 2001, within hours of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, interagency incident management teams were dispatched to New York City and Arlington, VA. I served as an Incident Commander of the California Incident Management Team that responded to the Pentagon. Read more »

US Forest Service Presents Prestigious Award to 88 Year-Old Environmental Leader

Florence LaRiviere, Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge

Florence LaRiviere, Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge

More and more folks live fulfilling lives well into their senior years but it’s especially noteworthy when an octogenarian is still working on environmental conservation issues like Florence LaRiviere. This year the Environmental Law Institute honored LaRiviere with its 2012 National Wetlands Award for “Wetland Community Leader” and asked U.S. Forest Service scientist and Associate Deputy Chief for Research and Development, Dr. Deanna J. Stouder, to present the award. Read more »

Together We Can: Webinar Series for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Please join us for our next webinar entitled, “Together We Can Feed Kids During the Summer.”

Please join us for our next webinar entitled, “Together We Can Feed Kids During the Summer.”

Last week, USDA’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships led a webinar to share with local faith and community leaders opportunities to partner with USDA to help those in need in their communities.  This webinar was the first in a series entitled, Together We Can.  The series aims to equip organizations with introductory knowledge, best practices, and contact information to help community-based organizations understand and access USDA programs. Read more »

Help Wanted: Grant Reviewers for Farmers Market Promotion Program

Must have a desire to help farmers reach new markets and to help businesses bring healthier options to local communitiesExperience & qualifications should include some knowledge of local and direct marketing methods.  Must be willing to devote 50-60 hours during the month of July to help score project proposals.  See below for more detail.

The Farmers Market Promotion Program is a competitive grant process designed to help expand opportunities for farmers and bring healthy foods into more communities.  The grants are administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), and aim to help farmers throughout the country.  About $10 million is available this year to support direct-marketing projects like farmers markets, community supported agriculture, roadside stands and agritourism. Read more »

The Slippery Slope of Ramps

During April and May ramps are often served in restaurants in the eastern U.S.

During April and May ramps are often served in restaurants in the eastern U.S.

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 USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

To many of locals in western North Carolina, they’re called wild leeks.  Some call them ransoms and still others call them wood garlic because of their pungent smell. Nevertheless, ecologists simply call them ramps. This native plant has been useful to humans since inhabiting the eastern regions of the U.S. and Canada.  Still today, locals harvest ramps for food, medicinal preparations, and to sell at markets and spring festivals. Read more »