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Rural Champion Works with Producers and USDA to Spur Biomass Production

Eric Rund, Farmer, CEO of Green Flame Energy, Illinois

Eric Rund, Farmer, CEO of Green Flame Energy, Illinois

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

When the gasoline additive MTBE was banned in 2006 and ethanol was its only practical replacement, Eric as a corn farmer, became very interested in joining with other farmers to build a corn ethanol plant. Read more »

Innovations to Support Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Do you know who grew your food?  Farmer’s markets, eating locally and even the USDA’s “Know your Farmer, Know your Food” campaign are all examples people wanting to know where their food comes from.  But while the public’s interest in agriculture is rising, the age of the average American farmer is also on the rise. This is big concern for USDA and industry leadership – we wonder who will be growing your food in the future. Read more »

Team RD Washington Gathers Feedback From Key Stakeholders To Improve Help In Regulatory Review

How do you garner valuable feedback from key partners and stakeholders from around your state?

Just ask and let them speak, which is what USDA Rural Development leadership did in Washington State when they convened a stakeholder outreach meeting in Olympia on July 29 to discuss Rural Development priorities for President Obama’s 2013 budget and 2012 Farm Bill.

“The importance of this Regulatory Reform Stakeholder outreach meeting cannot be understated,” said Mario Villanueva, USDA Rural Development Washington State Director. “We had a tremendous response and interest in this convening with about 70 stakeholders attending the interactive meeting.” Read more »

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Holds White House Rural Council Forum at the Wisconsin State Fair

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at the White House Rural Forum at the Wisconsin State Fair, in West Allis, WI, on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2010, to businesses and community leaders, farmers and ranchers to explore ways federal, state and local officials can work together to improve economic conditions and create jobs. The forum is part of a series of White House Rural Roundtables that are being held across the country this summer with senior Administration officials. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at the White House Rural Forum at the Wisconsin State Fair, in West Allis, WI, on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2010, to businesses and community leaders, farmers and ranchers to explore ways federal, state and local officials can work together to improve economic conditions and create jobs. The forum is part of a series of White House Rural Roundtables that are being held across the country this summer with senior Administration officials. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

This week Wisconsin kicked off an annual tradition, the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis, WI.  As a part of the Opening Day activities, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack hosted a White House Rural Council Forum with businesses and community leaders, farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers from across the State. Read more »

Feds Cooked to Feed Families and Raised 2,500 lbs at Flavors of USDA

USDA employees volunteered as Flavors of USDA Chefs and Servers to support Feds Feed Families.

USDA employees volunteered as Flavors of USDA Chefs and Servers to support Feds Feed Families.

“I’m wearing this pin because it has a heart in the palm of a hand. You see that heart? I want people who eat my food to know that love went into the preparation of this meal,” said Rosetta Davis, AMS/Civil Rights Program, as she served USDA employees her delicious, homemade collard greens. Ms. Davis was one of 35 employees who volunteered as chefs at Flavors of USDA: Feds Cook to Feed Families. The tasting event welcomed more than 450 employees to plates of homemade food while encouraging donations to the Feds Feed Families campaign. And the food must have been good—the event raised more than 2,500 pounds of donated food. Read more »

A Little Help from Friends: Training Peer Counselors to Promote Breastfeeding in Texas

Here at FNS, we are working hard to increase breastfeeding rates through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. One of the ways we’re doing this is by using peer counselors who can provide more effective support to other breastfeeding mothers.

In July, I attended the “Breastfeeding Peer Counseling” course, which was hosted by the Food and Nutrition Service’s Southwest Regional Office and a nonprofit organization called Every Mother Inc. This organization provides counseling, lactation training and resources, and it was great to have them on hand for the training.  We also drew on the expertise of the national WIC staff, which directs the WIC program in serving over 9 million women, infants and children each month. Read more »