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Effective Partnering with USDA Brings a Family from Renting to Homeownership

Dr. Joe Leonard presents Clarissa Hoffman and Marcel Picotte Sr. with a housewarming plant personally provided by Maxine Moul, Nebraska State Director.

Now is the Time…and the Marcel Picotte Sr. family saw the opportunity and went for homeownership!  Dr. Joe Leonard, USDA Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, and Janie Hipp, Senior Advisor to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for Tribal Relations at USDA, joined Nebraska USDA Rural Development State Director Maxine Moul and South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks and staff for a National Homeownership Month event at the Picottes’ family of five home in Winnebago, Nebraska.  Read more »

NRCS Gets on the “Goodfoot” with Organic Practices

Beth Hoinacki shows an aspect of her crop rotation and cover crop plan.

U.S. trends in organic farming point to a growing industry. USDA agencies like the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) support organic growers by offering funding and technical guidance—both to farmers already growing organic crops, and to those who want to transition to organic production. Read more »

USDA Officials Participate in African American Policy Forum in Mississippi

Mississippi Congressman Bennie G. Thompson moderates An America Built to Last: Jobs and Business Creation.

On Wednesday, June 13, the White House, in conjunction with Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hosted an African American Regional Policy Forum at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. This forum is part of an ongoing series of regional discussions held in communities nationwide. Each forum is intended to connect Administration Officials from a wide range of policy areas with African American civic, elected, and faith leaders to discuss issues critical to the African American community and the nation. Read more »

Organic 101: Role of the National Organic Standards Board

This is the sixth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is made up of dedicated public volunteers appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. It advises the National Organic Program (NOP), a part of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), on what substances should be allowed or prohibited in organic agriculture and recommends standards, policies, or guidance to help shape the organic regulations and the organic certification process.  Read more »

Extending the Season, Expanding Variety and Growing Locally

healthy plants growing in abundance under the protection of a high tunnel.

I remember when I first moved to Alaska, the only vegetable I ate was potatoes. Fruits and veggies were expensive and weren’t even fresh! Up here, produce is shipped or flown up from the lower 48, and by the time it gets to off-road communities it can be nearly rotten. Plus, the nutritional value of produce declines each day after picking. But now, the last frontier is seeing a paradigm shift in favor of flavor: high tunnels. Read more »

Collaborative restoration efforts on Colorado’s Hayman Fire landscape celebrated

Jugita Krilaviciute, left, works the soil during the Vail Resorts Hayman Restoration Project in the Trail Creek drainage on Thursday, June 2, 2011. The Vail Resorts Hayman Restoration Project is in the second of a three year, $750,000 partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and The Rocky Mountain Field Institute to restore lands damaged by the 2002 Hayman wildfire, the largest in Colorado's history. (Vail Resorts Photo/ Peter M. Fredin)

The Hayman Fire was the largest and most destructive wildfire in Colorado’s history.  On June 8, 2002, the fire began raging through the Pike National Forest, as well as state, county and private lands, burning a total of 137,760 acres. Read more »