As the USDA Rural Development State Director for Oregon, I’m aware of the significant economic benefits our programs have produced in partnership with rural communities, residents and businesses in every corner of my state. As I drove across the country during my recent vacation, I was curious to also see how visible the Agency’s support for place-appropriate, locally led efforts would be on my route from Oregon to Virginia. Knowing what to look for, I could easily identify the signs of rural economic and community development—even from my limited dashboard viewpoint—as I drove a transect path across the USDA Rural Development nationwide service area. Rural America accounts for 75 percent of the Nation’s land area, and that is where we work. Across the rural landscape, it is difficult, if not impossible, to find a community that hasn’t benefitted in some way from our support for affordable housing, business development, essential infrastructure, community facilities and clean, efficient energy. Read more »
As a young adult, Henry Day of Millican, Tex. left his family’s ranch and spent years living and working in Houston, returning frequently to visit throughout the years. Upon his retirement, he came back for good and began his grassroots journey to restore the long-neglected soils and pastures on the ranch.
Day ranches on 157 acres, which his grandfather purchased in the mid-1800s. Nutrient-deficient soils and visible erosion problems made it an intimidating prospect, as did the overgrown pastures, which were covered in mesquite, weeds and thick underbrush. Read more »
In his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out the importance of manufacturing as we seek to make America a magnet for jobs. He believes there’s much we can achieve to create new manufacturing jobs, including in rural America.
For example, we can achieve a common-sense reform of the tax code. The President proposed lowering tax rates for manufacturers by 25 percent, while ending unfair tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.
We can achieve strong markets and a level playing field for American-made products. USDA has already helped the President achieve record exports of agricultural products – with more than $478 billion in agricultural exports from 2009-2012. We will be there to help expand trade with Europe, Asia and other areas throughout the world. These efforts will open doors not just for agriculture, but for quality manufactured products made here at home. Read more »
Children need good nutrition all year long. When school is out during the summer months, many children no longer have access to even one nutritious meal each day. Research shows a lack of nutrition during the summer months may set up a cycle for poor performance once school begins. We must do all we can to ensure that children get nutritious food during the summer months so that they are ready to learn during the school year. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is intended to feed kids during these “meal gap” periods. Read more »
New Orleans is known for many special things, not the least of which is its food.
That’s why Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan chose the crescent city this week to release a new report on the importance of food hubs in America. The report finds that there is an increasing demand for fresh, local foods and the popularity of food hubs is growing quickly. In fact, there are well over 200 across the country now, including Hollygrove Farm and Market in downtown New Orleans. Read more »