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An Administrator Sees how USDA Supported Broadband Helps Rural Businesses Thrive

Rural Development Utilities Administrator Jonathan Adelstein receives lesson in  fiber splicing. Photo credit: USDA employee Delane Johnson.

Rural Development Utilities Administrator Jonathan Adelstein receives lesson in fiber splicing. Photo credit: USDA employee Delane Johnson.

On a recent visit to North Carolina, USDA Rural Development Utilities Administrator Jonathan Adelstein visited Atlantic Telephone Membership Corporation (ATMC) in Brunswick County, North Carolina. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Creating Jobs by Strengthening the Bio-Based Economy

At USDA, we’re working every day to create jobs and support the American agriculture sector.   One important piece of this effort is our support for a bio-based economy that will help increase business opportunities for farmers and ranchers, and create jobs across our nation.

Today, there are more than 3,000 American companies producing more than 25,000 bio-based products made from renewable sources grown here at home. In turn, their innovation is supporting more than 100,000 American jobs. Read more »

Why ‘Bee’ Concerned about Pollinators? They are the Little Things that Run the World!

Bumble bees (Bombus spp.) are important pollinators for many food crops and medicinal plants, like this purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). Photo Credit: FS photo by Teresa Prendusi

Bumble bees (Bombus spp.) are important pollinators for many food crops and medicinal plants, like this purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). Photo Credit: FS photo by Teresa Prendusi

Every time you walk into your garden to enjoy a beautiful flower or pick a fruit, think about thanking a bee, butterfly or hummingbird. These and other kinds of animals are pollinators and the subject of USDA’s participation in the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign which celebrates National Pollinator Week June 18-24. Read more »

June Is Dairy Month and Family Farms add Value to Western Kansas

The McCarty family moved to the plains of western Kansas to allow their four sons to fulfill their dairy farming destiny. The first stage of a multi-year collaboration with The Dannon Company is in the background: a milk processing and condensing plant that helps to reduce the carbon footprint of the yogurt. Pictured left to right are Mike, Clay, Judy, Tom, David and Ken McCarty.  (Submitted photo.  Used with permission).

The McCarty family moved to the plains of western Kansas to allow their four sons to fulfill their dairy farming destiny. The first stage of a multi-year collaboration with The Dannon Company is in the background: a milk processing and condensing plant that helps to reduce the carbon footprint of the yogurt. Pictured left to right are Mike, Clay, Judy, Tom, David and Ken McCarty. (Submitted photo. Used with permission).

June is Dairy Month.  In agricultural circles, the term “Value-Added” often implies a business venture through which an agricultural producer, or group of producers, further process a commodity in the value-chain that leads to the ultimate consumer.  But sometimes, the value-added of a value-added venture moves well beyond further processing of a commodity. Read more »

Vermont USDA Staff Help Restore a Hurricane-Damaged Teen Shelter

Robert McDonald, Housing Program Director and Molly Lambert, State Director USDA Rural Development on front steps of Mountainside House Teen Center in Ludlow VT.  USDA staff helped repair the building as part of June Homeownership Month activities.

Robert McDonald, Housing Program Director and Molly Lambert, State Director USDA Rural Development on front steps of Mountainside House Teen Center in Ludlow VT. USDA staff helped repair the building as part of June Homeownership Month activities.

There are several definitions of home. The one I think best fits the Mountainside House Teen Center in Vermont is “A familiar or usual setting: a congenial environment.” Read more »

Let the Fun Begin – See What’s New at the USDA Farmers Market

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan with members of Hip Hop Public Health.  The organization educates others about the importance of regular exercise and healthy eating.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan with members of Hip Hop Public Health. The organization educates others about the importance of regular exercise and healthy eating.

It’s officially summer and the USDA Farmers Market is back in full swing.  An increasingly popular destination for Washington, D.C., residents and visitors of the National Mall, the market regularly attracts hundreds of customers each Friday during the summer and early fall.  Come see some of your favorite vendors and USDA staff during the 2012 outdoor season. Read more »