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New Forest Service Program Encourages Growth of Community Forests and Economies

The Forest Service is now accepting applications for the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program, which encourages the creation of community forests and fosters rural economies. The application deadline is May 15 for submitting applications to the State Forester or equivalent official of the Indian tribe and June 14 for State Forester or equivalent official of the Indian tribe submitting the applications to the Forest Service.

The program provides financial assistance grants to local governments, American Indian tribes and qualified nonprofit organizations to establish community forests with a focus on economic and environmental benefits, education, forest stewardship and recreation opportunities. Read more »

Dramatic Image Captures California Firefighters at Ocean’s Edge

Los Padres firefighter Kevin Poyner (facing camera) and John Knight of the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade appear to have one foot “in the black” and the other in the Pacific Ocean. In reality, the two men have ample room between their position and the cliffs leading down to the beach.

Los Padres firefighter Kevin Poyner (facing camera) and John Knight of the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade appear to have one foot “in the black” and the other in the Pacific Ocean. In reality, the two men have ample room between their position and the cliffs leading down to the beach.

Along Monterey’s Big Sur coast in California, the job of responding to “fire starts” rests on the shoulders of Los Padres National Forest firefighters and their partners at the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade as Monterey County doesn’t have a fire department. When a coastal landowner’s pile burn project went awry Feb. 7, firefighters from the forest and volunteer fire brigade led the initial attack that quashed what became known as the Alder fire at less than five acres. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Biobased Jobs, Grown and Made in America

USDA works everyday to help create jobs in rural America – without waiting for others in Washington to act.

Last week, as a part of President Obama’s White House Rural Council, we announced efforts to spur economic growth by helping businesses take advantage of the productivity of America’s farmers and ranchers.

Today, there are more than 3,000 companies producing more than 20,000 so-called bioproducts made from grasses, grains, oilseeds, and agricultural waste rather than petroleum. They range from cleaning supplies and personal care products to food packaging and turf for football stadiums. Read more »

New Website Showcases the Opportunities of U.S.-Korea FTA

The USDA Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Seoul recently launched a Web page to showcase potential opportunities to be created by the soon-to-be-implemented U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement (KORUS). KORUS will take effect on March 15, 2012.

The Foreign Agricultural Service recommends that U.S. agricultural exporters and those interested in expanding sales to international markets visit the page, called What U.S. Exporters Need to Know about the KORUS Agreement, to learn about the agreement, understand new tariff schedules, and gain valuable information about the fifth-largest market for U.S. farm products. Read more »

USDA 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum Presentations Available Online

After 6 p.m. February 24, USDA’s 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum speaker presentations will be available online.  The Forum, which occurs annually, was a celebration of USDA’s 150th    anniversary, featuring eight former Secretaries of Agriculture discussing the future of agriculture with Secretary Vilsack. Read more »

Bridging the Gap on Agricultural Research and Development with the Private Sector

Dr. Catherine Woteki, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics

Dr. Catherine Woteki, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with 70 private sector representatives at the first Feed the Future Public-Private Partnership Technical Forum, hosted jointly by USDA, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Department of State at the White House Conference Center. We discussed potential partnerships to increase agricultural growth in developing countries. Then we rolled up our sleeves got to work aligning investments and connecting individuals and activities. Read more »