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Growing a Mississippi Farm Organically

The Stoltzfuses use high tunnels to lengthen the growing season for fresh fruits and vegetables. They built the first high tunnel on their own, and they liked it so much, they decided to build a second one with the help of NRCS.

The Stoltzfuses use high tunnels to lengthen the growing season for fresh fruits and vegetables. They built the first high tunnel on their own, and they liked it so much, they decided to build a second one with the help of NRCS.

For many farmers, the lessons of agriculture begin at a young age. This is true for Florence, Miss., farmer Kathy Stoltzfus, who says that her dad taught her what she knows when she was a child. She has fond memories of running barefoot through rice fields and the taste of freshly grown food. Read more »

U.S. Agribusinesses Encouraged to ‘Explore Exporting’

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service has 98 offices worldwide that work every day to maintain access of U.S. agricultural products.

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service has 98 offices worldwide that work every day to maintain access of U.S. agricultural products.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is funding its partners, the four State Regional Trade Groups (STRGs), to host a series of nationwide seminars that inspire small and medium U.S. food and agricultural companies to become exporters. Read more »

Join a White House Hangout on Local Foods

In every state, people are connecting directly with their food each time they bite into a local apple, grill a local steak or create a salad with local ingredients. Local food is about the products that farmers and ranchers grow and raise. It’s about the businesses that bring food from farms to our tables, and efforts to connect consumers with producers like farm to school and agritourism. And it’s about the sense of pride behind campaigns like “Buy Fresh, Buy Local,” “Appalachian Grown,” or “Idaho Preferred” that let consumers know their food dollar is flowing back into their local economy. Women play a prominent role in developing local and regional food systems that are creating jobs, pulling new people into agriculture, connecting communities, and improving health.

On Tuesday, July 17th at 3:00pm EDT, Jon Carson, White House Director of Public Engagement, and I will join inspiring women leaders in the field of local foods through a Google+ Hangout to hear their stories and answer your questions. It’s also a chance to see more stories like theirs when we unveil the 2.0 version of the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass. An innovative digital guide and map, the KYF Compass highlights USDA-supported local food projects around the country. The 2.0 version features thousands of local food projects in all 50 states and includes keyword and zip code search features. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Conserving and Restoring America’s Natural Resources

Every day, the work of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conserve America’s lands and natural resources stretches across our nation. As President Obama and I work together to boost the rural economy and create jobs across America, it’s important to recognize the strength we draw as a nation from our forests, grasslands, farms, ranches, rivers and wilderness areas.

And it’s even more important that we all work together to protect them.

In 2010, President Obama established the America’s Great Outdoors initiative to help reconnect Americans to the land, promote recreation and tourism that bring jobs to rural communities, and build on America’s long history of conservation. Read more »

Wine Barrels Become Wood Flooring with Help from US Forest Service

Forest Products Lab engineer John Hunt (left) and Jubliee Flooring owner Joe Triglia inspect flooring milled from discarded wine barrel staves.

Forest Products Lab engineer John Hunt (left) and Jubliee Flooring owner Joe Triglia inspect flooring milled from discarded wine barrel staves.

Joe Triglia, owner of Jubilee Flooring in Long Island, N.Y., has spent years working out a way to turn discarded wine barrels into wood flooring.  Now, with help from the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory , his vision is turning into a promising business venture. Read more »

Hunger Doesn’t Stand a Chance in Michigan

Lori Cook, aka TV-personality “Maranda,” interviewed me about the importance of the Summer Food Service Program.

Lori Cook, aka TV-personality “Maranda,” interviewed me about the importance of the Summer Food Service Program.

Hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation, and the State of Michigan is making sure that nutrition assistance programs don’t either. I recently traveled to the west side of the state to see some of the inspiring work our partners are doing to make sure that no one in their community has to face hunger. Read more »