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National Farmers Market Week

Happy National Farmers Market Week!

This year, August 7 through 13 is Farmers Market week.  Thousands of farmers markets across the country offer consumers affordable, convenient, and healthful products sold directly from the farm in their freshest possible state, increasing consumer access to fresh fruits and vegetables and thus promoting child health and potentially reducing childhood obesity.  Farmers markets also play a key role in developing local and regional food systems that support the sustainability of family farms, revitalize communities, and provide opportunities for farmers and consumers to interact. Read more »

Fourth Generation Farmer, Educator, and Lawmaker Helps White House Win the Future

Jason Frerichs, Farmer/Rancher/Educator, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, Wilmot, SD

Jason Frerichs, Farmer/Rancher/Educator, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, Wilmot, SD

Cross posted from the White House Rural Champions of Change website:

Jason is a fourth generation farmer/rancher, educator, and lawmaker from Wilmot, SD. Jason manages a 150 head beef cow/calf operation as well as raises corn, soybeans, wheat, and alfalfa. Frerichs is an agriculture instructor at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, SD where he is also the Watertown Area FFA Advisor. Representative Frerichs has been a key player in the development of renewable energy and education issues in the State Legislature. Frerichs is actively involved in the Farmers Union, the South Dakota Education Association, SD Stockgrowers, and the United States Cattlemen’s Association.


NRCS Employee Is Honored with the Patriot Award

Left to right, retired Maj. Gen. Daniel F. Hitchcock, Patriot Award recipient Lisa Rice, and 1st Lt. Lorrie Lanham, NRCS Business Management Leaders Program (BMLP) trainee.

Left to right, retired Maj. Gen. Daniel F. Hitchcock, Patriot Award recipient Lisa Rice, and 1st Lt. Lorrie Lanham, NRCS Business Management Leaders Program (BMLP) trainee.

Lisa Rice, an employee of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), was recently honored with the Patriot Award by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). Read more »

Indian Business Alliance Conference Deemed a Success

Rural Development South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks Addresses the 2011 South Dakota Indian Business Alliance Conference

Rural Development South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks Addresses the 2011 South Dakota Indian Business Alliance Conference

Over 100 government officials, federal program representatives, non-profit organizations, and Native entrepreneurs came together recently to advance Indian business development in South Dakota. Read more »

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Announces an Event to Assist Southwest Small Business Owners Wanting to Contract with Federal Departments

Southwest small business owners will have an opportunity in September to learn how to grow and support their businesses by partnering with USDA and the Department of Interior (DOI).

The meeting, in New Mexico, supports the White House Initiative on Small Business Contracting.   Read more »

Puerto Rico Agricultural Market Expansion Conference a Success

Puerto Rico’s agriculture has been steadily declining and imports total 85 percent of the food consumed on the island. Additionally, almost all of the $11 million per year that USDA purchases for use in Puerto Rico’s school meals are purchased from companies in the continental United States.  What’s more, each year the island’s School Food Authority purchases about $80 million in food to be served in school.  We saw these as opportunities for local farmers and decided to do something about it.

The Market Expansion Conference, held June 23-24 in San Juan, teamed seven U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies and other Commonwealth and federal partners to show over 250 farmers how to sell food to local schools, expand their businesses and increase their participation in USDA programs.  Puerto Rico’s milk farmers, cattle ranchers, pineapple growers and many others eagerly listened to USDA experts explain grading and licensing, and provide information in the areas of funding and procurement. Read more »