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Home on the Range

Roy and Steve Breuklander on Sunny Brook Ranch in Niobrara Valley, Nebraska.

Roy and Steve Breuklander on Sunny Brook Ranch in Niobrara Valley, Nebraska.

Cowboys are known for being good story tellers, and Roy and Steve Breuklander are no exceptions.

Roy might tell you how his grandparents homesteaded in Cherry County back in the 1880s. Roy’s son, Steve, might share how his family started one of the first canoe outfitters in Niobrara Valley. Read more »

Greater Economic Opportunities for Rural Communities

Secretary Vilsack took questions from farmers and rural community and business leaders at a recent White House Rural Forum at the Iowa State Fair.

Secretary Vilsack took questions from farmers and rural community and business leaders at a recent White House Rural Forum at the Iowa State Fair.

Last week as I walked around the Iowa State Fair, I was reminded about the power of philanthropy.  The Iowa State Fair’s Blue Ribbon Foundation has raised more than $80 million since its inception in 1993 and helped make numerous facilities improvements all around the fairgrounds including: a new exhibition center, a remodeled food center and an animal-learning center. Read more »

American Farmers Fuel NASCAR

Last week, Senator Debbie Stabenow and I spent the day at the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway where we were excited to learn about a new way American Farmers are leading the charge on innovation.

There, we had the opportunity to tour the NASCAR Sprint Cup Garage to view engines using American-grown biofuels.  Michigan is one of the most agriculturally diverse states in the nation. Farms of every different shape and size produce more than 200 different food commodities.  This year, the bounty of U.S. farmers is helping fuel NASCAR.  Every race car and truck in NASCAR’s top three series will be fueled by Sunoco Green E15.

More than 100 agricultural entities including farmers, ethanol producers and seed and equipment makers are partners in this effort.  And, as part of this partnership, each week, Growth Energy presents one NASCAR driver with the ‘American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award’ to a Cup Series driver who has the fastest average on restarts at the prior week’s race. Read more »

Secretary’s Column with President Obama: Getting Rural America Back to Work

President Barack Obama holds a town hall meeting at the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa, on the first day of a three-day bus tour in the Midwest, Aug. 15, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama holds a town hall meeting at the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa, on the first day of a three-day bus tour in the Midwest, Aug. 15, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to get out of Washington, DC and travel to small towns and farm towns in the heartland of the country. I sat down with small business owners, farmers and ranchers in Iowa; I had lunch with veterans in Cannon Falls, Minnesota; and I talked to plant workers at a seed distributor in Atkinson, Illinois. Read more »

Puerto Rico University Steps Up to Feed 350 Kids A Day During the Summer

Three children enjoy lunch freshly prepared and served on-site by a food service management company at the Inter Metro Summer Recreation Program in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Three children enjoy lunch freshly prepared and served on-site by a food service management company at the Inter Metro Summer Recreation Program in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

At Universidad Interamericana in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Inter Metro Summer Recreation Program is a vital part of the social, physical and nutritional well-being of area children.  For six years the university has sponsored the recreation and open food service site for kids  ranging in age from 5 to 16 years old. Read more »

“It’s a Show – Me Thing”

Judy Canales, Administrator for Rural Development Business and Cooperative Service, joined Missouri Governor Jay Nixon for an evening reception and visited with many of Missouri’s agriculture and rural elite to celebrate Missouri agriculture.  The following morning Administrator Canales, Governor Nixon, and 1,000 other farm and community leaders attended the Missouri State Fair Ham Breakfast.   The breakfast was a continuation of the Governor’s salute to agriculture.  The delicious cured ham was the main course for the 59th Annual Governor’s Ham Breakfast in the Director’s Tent on the fairgrounds in Sedalia.  The theme for the 2011 fair is “It’s a Show-Me Thing!”

Governor Nixon addressed the guests, which included the introduction of distinguished guest such as Administrator Judy Canales, Missouri Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler, several federal officials, state officials, and locally elected officials, Missouri State Fair Director Mark Wolfe, the State Fair Commission and many other agriculture leaders and State Fair supporters. Read more »