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Application Deadline Approaches for 2009 Crop Assistance Funds

A little over a week remains for eligible producers to apply for assistance for 2009 losses under the Crop Assistance Program (CAP). Applications must be submitted by Dec. 9 for producers of rice, upland cotton, soybeans and sweet potatoes to be eligible for up to $550 million in disaster assistance for losses caused by excessive moisture or related conditions in 2009. Read more »

Turning the Page on Discrimination at USDA

Since my first day as Secretary of Agriculture in January 2009, President Obama and I have made resolving USDA’s troubled civil rights record one of our top priorities.  Today we have taken an important step forward in this work as the House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing the Claims Settlement Act of 2010 to finally allow USDA to turn the page on past discrimination against black farmers.  The inequities many faced are well-documented and affirmed in the courts; however, the question of compensation has lingered. Read more »

It stands for more than the season

"Crewmembers with the Capitol Architect's Office guide the Capitol Christmas Tree into the five-foot-deep stand that will hold the tree upright throughout December on the west lawn of the Capitol building. The Lighting Ceremony for the tree is slated for Tuesday, December 7." USFS photo by Keith Riggs

"Crewmembers with the Capitol Architect's Office guide the Capitol Christmas Tree into the five-foot-deep stand that will hold the tree upright throughout December on the west lawn of the Capitol building. The Lighting Ceremony for the tree is slated for Tuesday, December 7." USFS photo by Keith Riggs

It stands as a tribute and image of the season, when we as a nation celebrate Christmas. It is the focus of a nation for the lighting ceremony and is the background of news footage, specials and photographs throughout December. It stands in the spotlight for only a few weeks and then the lights fade and it is gone. Read more »

Solid Waste Management Grants Make an Impact in Rural Alaska Communities

Literally millions of tourists have visited Alaska, a state which is over twice the size of Texas.  While many have seen the southeast region and the southcentral corridor stretching from Fairbanks through Anchorage and south to the Kenai Peninsula, relatively few have visited southwest and Interior Alaska, home to many small, predominantly Native villages.  These communities have faced numerous challenges, not the least of which is effective trash and waste disposal. It is expensive to haul the needs of daily life into a community, and also expensive to remove those items after they have reached the end of their usefulness. Read more »

Aquaculture systems Help Southwest Iowa Producers Meet the Growing Demand for Local Foods

Aquaculture systems Like this one will help southwest Iowa producers meet the growing hunger for local foods.

Aquaculture systems Like this one will help southwest Iowa producers meet the growing hunger for local foods.

It has been more than a year since Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative to encourage conversations about local food systems.  In that time, the initiative has strengthened the local foods movement that was already sweeping across the country. Read more »

Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians and Partners Break Ground On a New Health Center and Multi-Family Housing

Before partners broke ground on two important community projects on November 15, tribal member Dayna Boyce performed a sacred blessing over the Maliseet tribal land, offering tobacco to bless the earth and giving thanks to the earth for the land to build upon. The Tribe will soon have a brand new state-of-the-art health center and six units of much-needed affordable family housing, thanks to its own contributions and assistance from USDA Rural Development and partners. Read more »