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Organic 101: Role of the National Organic Standards Board

This is the sixth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is made up of dedicated public volunteers appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. It advises the National Organic Program (NOP), a part of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), on what substances should be allowed or prohibited in organic agriculture and recommends standards, policies, or guidance to help shape the organic regulations and the organic certification process.  Read more »

Extending the Season, Expanding Variety and Growing Locally

healthy plants growing in abundance under the protection of a high tunnel.

I remember when I first moved to Alaska, the only vegetable I ate was potatoes. Fruits and veggies were expensive and weren’t even fresh! Up here, produce is shipped or flown up from the lower 48, and by the time it gets to off-road communities it can be nearly rotten. Plus, the nutritional value of produce declines each day after picking. But now, the last frontier is seeing a paradigm shift in favor of flavor: high tunnels. Read more »

Collaborative restoration efforts on Colorado’s Hayman Fire landscape celebrated

Jugita Krilaviciute, left, works the soil during the Vail Resorts Hayman Restoration Project in the Trail Creek drainage on Thursday, June 2, 2011. The Vail Resorts Hayman Restoration Project is in the second of a three year, $750,000 partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and The Rocky Mountain Field Institute to restore lands damaged by the 2002 Hayman wildfire, the largest in Colorado's history. (Vail Resorts Photo/ Peter M. Fredin)

The Hayman Fire was the largest and most destructive wildfire in Colorado’s history.  On June 8, 2002, the fire began raging through the Pike National Forest, as well as state, county and private lands, burning a total of 137,760 acres. Read more »

Leveraging USDA Resources Has Positive Impact On Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate’s Economy

Pictured standing left to right: Sonya Lawrence – homeowner; Rural Development Area Specialist Roxanne Woodring; Rural Development Area Director Bruce Jones; Lincoln and Devola Bird and family - homeowners; JC Crawford - Native Homes (Contractor); Dustin LaFromboise and family – homeowners; Jasmin Zetina and family – homeowners; Homes Are Possible, Inc. Executive Director Jeff Mitchell; kneeling left to right: family of homeowner Sonya Lawrence (2 children kneeling at left); Angie Johnson - SWO Homeowner Program; Christina Eberhart - homeowner; Rural Development Area Specialist Janell Telin; and Robert LaCroix and family – homeowners….five of the families will have homes in the subdivision of Long Hollow on the SWO reservation and one family will have a home in Watertown.

I was honored to attend the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Annual Homebuyers Fair on June 20, 2012 in Sisseton, South Dakota.  Although the previous evening and early morning rain saturated the ground, it didn’t stop the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate from having a successful event. June is homeownership month, and  USDA Rural Development was on-site at the fair to remind rural residents of the opportunities to purchase, repair and refinance homes in rural areas. Read more »

USDA Helps Improve Medical Care Access and Educational Opportunities in Northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan

Jennifer Witting, nurse at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital in Laurium, Michigan, with newly installed telemedicine equipment. The equipment enables nurses and doctors at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital to consult specialists at Aspirus Hospital in Wausau, Wis. while with their patients.

 

June is Dairy Month and Wisconsin is a national leader in agricultural production with dairy farming being the number one agricultural activity in the State. Wisconsin has more than 76,000 farms dotting its rural landscape, supporting communities, families and businesses of all size.Critical to the future of rural Wisconsin is modern infrastructure, state of the art technologies, and advanced education opportunities. Read more »

USDA Officials Discuss Housing Opportunities During the 38th Annual National American Indian Housing Council Conference in Alaska

June is Homeownership Month in America.

 Earlier this month, representatives of Native American Tribes traveled from as far away as Massachusetts to Anchorage, Alaska, to attend the three-day National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC) Conference.  Now in its 38th year, the main theme was housing which is a basic human need. Read more »