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Business Plans Score Big at FFA Agri-Entrepreneurship Awards

Rural Development each year helps fund the FFA Agri-Entrepreneurship Award as a special project of the National FFA Foundation, Inc. The award honors FFA members who recognize market opportunities and develop solid business plans. The award program recognizes young people who start or are planning to start their own businesses.

Cross posted from the National FFA Organization blog: Read more »

Goats, Turtles and WHIP Restore Rare Natural Area

Aaron Minson, BCCD Restoration Technician, holds a Blanding’s turtle that has been equipped with a transmitter.

Aaron Minson, BCCD Restoration Technician, holds a Blanding’s turtle that has been equipped with a transmitter.

In northern Illinois, a unique area called the Piscasaw Fen is being restored to its native majesty through the cooperation of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Boone County Conservation District (BCCD). Read more »

Clarifying the Department of Labor’s Child Labor Proposal

Recently there has been some concern and confusion in rural America over the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed regulations on child labor and I’d like to help clarify how this regulation will impact our farmers.   We all know that kids benefit from good old-fashioned farm work.   It’s a longtime way of life that has helped make this country strong, and it teaches kids lessons that last a lifetime.

However, statistics show that while only 4 percent of working youth are in the agriculture sector, 40 percent of fatalities of working kids are associated with machines, equipment, or facilities related to agriculture.  That’s way too high.  We don’t want to blur the line between teaching kids about a good day’s hard work, and putting them in situations more safely handled by adults. Read more »

Setting the Record Straight on Congress’ Lifting of the Ban on Horse Slaughter

There has been a lot of talk in the past week about Congress’ lifting of the ban prohibiting federal funding for the inspection of horses, which prevented the slaughter of horses for human consumption for the past five years.  The issue is understandably a sensitive and emotional one for everyone who loves these majestic animals, but it is important that the discussion be tempered with the facts. Read more »

Disability Can’t Stop this Motivational Expert

Can’t is a four letter word that is not in Karren Alexander’s vocabulary. Having lost both arms in an accident at a very early age has not stopped Karren from reaching for the stars and trying to spread joy and determination to others.

Karren’s philosophy and purpose in life is to encourage and inspire other people. She stated, “I’ve lived my life instructing, guiding, motivating, and teaching others to be more than they think they can be.” Karren believes nothing is impossible and looks at life as being a beautiful thing. She never lets obstacles get in her way, always finding a solution to any problem or situation. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Coming Together to Restore the Middle Class

Last week, President Obama traveled to the small town of Osawatomie, Kansas, where President Teddy Roosevelt once called for building an America where everyone gets a fair chance, a square deal, and an equal opportunity to succeed.

One hundred years later, we are again at a make or break moment for the middle class.  At stake is a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, and secure their retirement. Read more »