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Secretary’s Column: Research Strengthening Agriculture’s Resilience

Today, President Obama and I continue doing all we can to help farmers and ranchers impacted by the drought. As Congress comes back to Washington in September we will continue to encourage passage of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible – to give USDA tools to help those who have been impacted by drought, while giving more certainty for farmers and ranchers.

While the drought has taken a toll on agriculture this year, we also know that America’s history of agricultural innovation and research advancement means farmers and ranchers are better-prepared than ever before to mitigate its effects.

USDA scientists and research partners have helped to provide these important new tools for decades – and their work continues today. Read more »

Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture Adds USDA Mural to Collection

The USDA mural displayed at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.

The USDA mural displayed at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.

The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) has a new mural added to its collection at its new Nebraska Agriculture Industry Education Center.  The USDA mural depicts the various projects that can be accomplished through the programs and funding offered through the USDA Mission Areas.

USDA Rural Development State Director Maxine Moul was in Curtis last week with the Dean of NCTA, Dr. Weldon Sleight, who gave her a tour of the mural and the Education Center.  Moul serves as the chair of the Nebraska Food and Agriculture Council, whose membership includes the USDA agencies located in Nebraska.  Coordinating the creation and installation of the mural were the USDA Agencies of Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Rural Development. Read more »

On Drought, USDA is There

USDA Undersecretary Michael Scuse and Cass County FSA committeeman and farmer Trent Smith discuss the drought’s impact on this year’s soybean crop. Smith’s farm was one stop on the Undersecretary’s tour assessing Missouri’s drought.

USDA Undersecretary Michael Scuse and Cass County FSA committeeman and farmer Trent Smith discuss the drought’s impact on this year’s soybean crop. Smith’s farm was one stop on the Undersecretary’s tour assessing Missouri’s drought.

Last week, USDA Undersecretary Michael Scuse visited with farmers and ranchers in Missouri and Kansas. Scuse is just one of several USDA officials to fan out to more than a dozen drought-affected states in the past two months as part of President Obama’s commitment to get help to producers impacted by the nation’s worst drought in a generation. Over the past eight weeks, USDA has helped to lead these efforts by opening conservation acres to emergency haying and grazing, lowering the interest rate for emergency loans, working with crop insurance companies to provide flexibility to farmers, and offering other forms of assistance meant to bring relief in the short and long term. Read more »

Virginia Farmers Sprout Agricultural Knowledge for White House Fellows

White House interns met with several Virginia producers to learn the important role agriculture plays in feeding, clothing and fueling America and the world.

White House interns met with several Virginia producers to learn the important role agriculture plays in feeding, clothing and fueling America and the world.

Twelve White House fellows were given the opportunity to experience agriculture first hand. From a custom slaughterhouse to a large-scale fruit and vegetable operation, the group grazed the hills and pastures of Virginia to learn the importance of ag in the U.S.

Hosted by Virginia Farm Service Agency staff and accompanied by Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service Deputy Under Secretary Karis Gutter, the fellows began their tour at the USDA Fredericksburg Service Center where they met their tour guides — County  Executive Director Jeanne Turnure and FSA Manager Kim DePasquale. Read more »

USDA Support Helps Build Feed Mill, Boosts Small Businesses in Southwestern Minnesota

Kyle Oldre, Rock County Administrator speaks at the dedication as State Director Colleen Landkamer and other dignitaries look on.

Kyle Oldre, Rock County Administrator speaks at the dedication as State Director Colleen Landkamer and other dignitaries look on.

As construction crews were busy putting the finishing touches on New Vision Co-op’s new grain elevator and feed mill in Magnolia, Minn., last month, USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer and other area leaders visited the site to highlight the economic impact of the project.

“This investment by USDA means jobs and economic development opportunities,” Landkamer said. Read more »

Bringing Decent, Affordable Housing to a Rural Mississippi Community

Mississippi Rural Development State Director Trina George (Third from right) helps cut a ribbon marking the opening of Rosedale Estates.

Mississippi Rural Development State Director Trina George (Third from right) helps cut a ribbon marking the opening of Rosedale Estates.

Recently, Trina George, Mississippi State Director for USDA Rural Development participated in the Rosedale Estates open house. The Open House commemorated the completion of a new 24 unit apartment complex in Rosedale, Miss., that received funding from USDA. The apartment complex received two loans through the Rural Housing Direct Loan Program. The most recent loan was finalized two years ago. Read more »