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Feds Feed Families in South Dakota

Rapid City staff working together on personal time to support the cause.

July is a busy month for most…bringing with it Independence Day; declared National Picnic, Ice Cream, Hot Dog, and Blueberry Month; as well as the continuation of the agency’s summer Feds Feed Families Food Drive and the very first Rural Development Cultural Transformation Day. Read more »

Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 7/16/12

Satellite image with enhanced low cloud-top temperatures for 6:45 a.m. EST (NOAA)

Satellite image with enhanced low cloud-top temperatures for 6:45 a.m. EST (NOAA)

Weekend thundershowers provided limited and localized relief to a few Midwestern fields, but most of the Corn Belt remains in dire need of moisture.  Currently, very hot weather is building back into the Midwest. High temperatures above 100°F can be expected in portions of the western Corn Belt for the remainder of the week. The eastern Corn Belt should experience some mid- to late-week heat relief, but only scattered showers will accompany the transition to cooler weather. Like last week, substantial drought relief will be confined to the Southeast. Read more »

HealthierUS Schools Challenge Reaches Major Milestone

First Lady Michelle Obama joined Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and celebrity cook Rachel Ray at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 to speak with faculty and parents about the United States Department of Agriculture’s new and improved nutrition standards for school lunches.

First Lady Michelle Obama joined Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and celebrity cook Rachel Ray at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 to speak with faculty and parents about the United States Department of Agriculture’s new and improved nutrition standards for school lunches.

It’s always a treat when we get to announce major progress toward making the school day healthier. Today, I am happy to say that over 3717 schools are recognized through the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC).  This voluntary initiative acknowledges schools that go the extra mile to increase nutritious food offerings, teach kids about healthy eating, and promote physical activity.  Read more »

New York Rural Development Staff Observes Cultural Transformation Day with Representatives of Area Tribes

USDA Rural Development (NY) Cultural Transformation Day Volunteers pose at the conclusion of a beautiful day spent working on the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy Native American Village at the New York State Fairgrounds.

This past Thursday the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development’s New York Cultural Transformation Day took place at the Iroquois Confederacy’s Six Nation Agricultural Society Indian Village at the New York State Fair Grounds. Things got started early as more than a dozen USDA Rural Development staff members joined with representatives from the Iroquois Confederacy Nation to build, discover and practice community relations and also to beautify the landscape. Read more »

From Homeless to Homeowner: With Some Support From USDA, a Mom’s Sacrifice Helps her Children

Sonia Romero (left), joins Leticia Perez, Leticia’s mother Maria, daughter Bianca and son Sergio in the living room of their new home.

“When I’m old enough, I’m going to buy you a house,” Sergio Perez told his mom. It was the best gift he could think of for his mother, Leticia. Sergio, his sister Bianca and their mother had been homeless, moving from relative to relative after her divorce.

 Although the three were without a home, they never seemed to be without each other. There is a bond…and a palpable tenderness among the three of them—even with a teenage boy and a pre-teen girl! Read more »

Calling All Champions of Change: Send Us Your Stories!

President Obama and I know that today’s young people are critical to winning America’s future. From passing on the long-held traditions and values of American agriculture, to helping Americans live healthier lives by supporting the First Lady’s ‘Let’s Move’ initiative, 4-H and FFA members are truly making a difference.

This September, the White House will welcome 4-H and FFA members from around the country to Washington for a day of discussion on their work, and the future of American agriculture.

In addition, the White House will honor 12 Champions of Change- 4-H and FFA members who are helping America win the future with unique projects that move their communities forward. Read more »