This year, USDA is committed to helping Congress get a comprehensive, multiyear Food, Farm and Jobs Bill passed as soon as possible. This is critical to provide certainty for U.S. producers, while giving USDA the tools we need to continue strengthening the rural economy.
Without a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill, one area that would be seriously impacted is USDA’s agricultural research.
For more than 100 years, USDA scientists and their partners have made tremendous advancements. They’ve developed more nutritious foods, invented new medicines and fabrics, improved food safety, learned more about the production of many different plants and animals, and helped create new ways to use plant materials for incredible biobased products. Read more »
At age 19, Austin Midkiff has already made plans to retire at a young age and farm the rest of his life.
Austin Midkiff thinks, breathes and lives farming. It’s all he has done since he was six years old.
By the time he was 14, he took over his grandparent’s 10-acre farm in Springdale, W.Va.
“When I turned 16 my grandparents sold everything to me in order to teach me how to get things on my own and start from scratch,” said Midkiff. “It’s hard starting off.” Read more »
After two decades in the making, 71 households in rural Jefferson County, Illinois have begun to see the benefit of hard work and perseverance. And the end result is as simple as turning on the faucet! Moores Prairie Township Water Company celebrated last month as a project they’ve dreamed of for 23 years finally comes to fruition. Prior to the completion of this initiative, Moores Prairie Township residents and farms utilized a combination of shallow wells, deep wells, cisterns and purchased water to provide their water supply.
Residents realized that their dependency upon private water cisterns represented a serious threat to their health and safety, and began looking at options at the same time of the advent of the internet…1990! Although they continued to face struggles in obtaining a water connection and funding source, they never gave up. In June 2010, the Moores Prairie Township Water Company was formed and discussions with USDA Rural Development ensued, resulting in a $318,000 low interest loan for 40 years and additional grant funds to help fund the project. Construction began last year, and the system was placed into operation in April. Read more »
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 »
A recent study by U.S. Forest Service scientists estimates urban forests’ trees store an estimated 708 million tons of carbon. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
Whether they are ringed by wrought iron or suspending a swing, urban trees are first and foremost trees. In fact, they are all working trees.
Consider, for example, carbon storage. From New York City’s Central Park to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, America’s urban trees store an estimated 708 million tons of carbon, valued at $50 billion. Annually, these trees absorb an estimated 21 million tons of carbon, a value of $1.5 billion. Read more »
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 »