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Green House® Model Comes to Kentucky

An architect’s drawing of the new facility. Photos courtesy of Christian Care Communities.  Used with permission.

An architect’s drawing of the new facility. Photos courtesy of Christian Care Communities. Used with permission.

During my 12 years as state director for USDA Rural Development in Kentucky, I have had the privilege of breaking ground on many projects; from water and sewer infrastructure, to business development, to housing complexes and community-based projects. All have been notable and important projects for enhancing the quality of life and improving economic opportunities in rural Kentucky. Read more »

Responding to the Challenges of the U.S. Sheep and Lamb Industry

USDA is taking a multi-faceted approach to supporting the American sheep and lamb industry, working with researchers and market analysts to identify strategies and goals.

USDA is taking a multi-faceted approach to supporting the American sheep and lamb industry, working with researchers and market analysts to identify strategies and goals.

The U.S. sheep and lamb industry has been shrinking for decades as the numbers of sheep and producers have declined since World War II.  Consolidation of the sheep packing industry, higher feed and energy costs, continuous loses to predation, and lower consumption, coupled with competition from imports of lamb cuts, have taken their toll on U.S. producers.  In response to industry needs, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has been working with the American Lamb Board (ALB) and the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) on initiatives aimed at ensuring the long-term viability of the industry. Read more »

Endangered Mississippi Frog Finds a New Home

Pony Ranch Pond, a new home for the dusky gopher frog, is monitored by the National Forests in Mississippi and several cooperators. (Western Carolina University photo/ John A. Tupy)

Pony Ranch Pond, a new home for the dusky gopher frog, is monitored by the National Forests in Mississippi and several cooperators. (Western Carolina University photo/ John A. Tupy)

To most people, the sound heard near Pony Ranch Pond could easily be mistaken as snoring. To local conservation professionals, however, it was more like a song, signifying hope and celebrating a small victory for the nearly extinct dusky gopher frog.

In February, National Forests in Mississippi staff, researchers and volunteers discovered and documented six dusky gopher frogs at the De Soto National Forest pond. One frog, a 5-year-old female, had travelled nearly a mile from nearby Glen’s Pond – until then the only known site where the endangered amphibians live and breed. Read more »

ARS Ag Research Counts!

To recognize the contribution that research in agriculture makes in our daily lives, we’re focusing this month’s Science Tuesday blogs on the successes that USDA science agencies have achieved for us all.

If you walk through your home, you’ll see USDA science everywhere. The research we do can be found in many products that you’ve probably never realized.  So, we’re highlighting some of our greatest research achievements because “Ag Research Counts” every day, for every American. In the upcoming days, we’ll feature a trivia contest on Facebook with fun facts from past ‘Science Tuesday’ blogs we’re featuring this month. You can also join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #agresearchcounts. Here are this week’s blogs featuring ARS research that impacts each of us every day: Read more »

A USDA Business Loan Guarantee Helps a North Carolina Company Compete and Hire More Workers

From left to right, Jay Risinger, VantageSouth Bank; Michael Drozd, President and CEO, Wright Foods; Lillian Salerno, Acting Administrator, USDA Rural Development Business-Cooperative Service, USDA Rural Development; Brad Neigel, VantageSouth Bank; Heidi Whitesell, VantageSouth Bank; and David Thigpen, USDA Rural Development. A USDA loan guarantee helped Wright Foods in North Carolina expand, creating 80 jobs. (USDA photo)

From left to right, Jay Risinger, VantageSouth Bank; Michael Drozd, President and CEO, Wright Foods; Lillian Salerno, Acting Administrator, USDA Rural Development Business-Cooperative Service, USDA Rural Development; Brad Neigel, VantageSouth Bank; Heidi Whitesell, VantageSouth Bank; and David Thigpen, USDA Rural Development. A USDA loan guarantee helped Wright Foods in North Carolina expand, creating 80 jobs. (USDA photo)

During these difficult economic times we know that one of the best ways to help aid in the recovery process is to assist businesses that create jobs, and spur growth. In Troy, North Carolina, USDA Rural Development had the opportunity to highlight our successful efforts with a local company Aseptia/Wright Foods.

Lillian Salerno, Acting Administrator for USDA’s Rural Business and Cooperative programs, visited the local business.  Under USDA Rural Development, USDA guaranteed a $5.5 million loan last year for Aseptia to purchase a building, equipment and make building improvements for their first commercial-scale manufacturing facility. Read more »

Looking for a Mother’s Day Gift? Take Her into the Woods

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and most of us have yet to find that “perfect” gift for mom. But don’t panic. Let the U.S. Forest Service help out.

You read that right. The Forest Service wants you to give mom the gift of nature in all its innate perfection. And all you need to do is take her to your nearest national forest or grasslands.

For instance, if you live in Washington State, the Olympic National Forest, with its dramatic mountain range, conjures up images of the European Alps. The beauty doesn’t end there, though. The Olympics’ varied landscape includes lush rain forests, deep canyons, high mountain ridges and ocean beaches. Taking mom on a drive through this incomparable backdrop would be a scenic tour to brighten her day. Read more »