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USDA Official Reads The Lorax to Assembly of Children, Encourages Them to Take Care of Forests

Imagine being a kid and having a senior government official come to your school to share the joy of reading and storytelling. Then imagine the excitement when an actual Dr. Seuss character enters the room!

Arthur “Butch” Blazer and the Lorax.

Arthur “Butch” Blazer and the Lorax.

That’s what happened when Arthur “Butch” Blazer, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, recently spoke to more than 300 students at James K. Polk Elementary School in Alexandria, Va. about the importance of trees and forests. Read more »

USDA Encourages Farmers, Developers and Business Leaders to Learn How Anaerobic Digesters Can Reduce Pollution, Cut Energy Costs and Diversify Income

In 2009, during climate change talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack signed a historic “Memorandum of Understanding” with dairy producers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farms by capturing methane with enhanced manure management practices and turning it into electricity.

While much has been done to encourage deployment of anaerobic digester technology in the United States, more needs to be accomplished, and with that in mind, USDA will join with the Farm Foundation, NFP, the AgStar Program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, and the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative of the University of Wisconsin to hold webinars from the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus later this month. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Opportunity for Farmers and Ranchers

Two and a half years ago, I announced a new initiative here at USDA called Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food.

It’s the public face of our commitment to help farmers and ranchers of all sizes take advantage of new opportunities, meet the growing demand for local and regional food and succeed in America’s diverse marketplace.

Last week, USDA unveiled new tools showcasing what we’ve accomplished over the last few years as local food sales have expanded as a multi-billion dollar industry. Read more »

Interested in Local and Regional Food Systems? Jump into the Twitter Conversation Using #KYF2!

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan received a question via twitter message while in the USDA TV studio, during the unveiling of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF) Compass, an interactive web-based document and map highlighting USDA support for local and regional food projects and successful producer, business and community case studies. While hosting a live webinar to highlight USDA's work over the past three years, the Secretaries emphasized how local and regional food systems across the country create additional economic opportunities for farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs, expand healthy food access and meet growing customer demand. At the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, February 29, 2012. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan received a question via twitter message while in the USDA TV studio, during the unveiling of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF) Compass, an interactive web-based document and map highlighting USDA support for local and regional food projects and successful producer, business and community case studies. While hosting a live webinar to highlight USDA's work over the past three years, the Secretaries emphasized how local and regional food systems across the country create additional economic opportunities for farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs, expand healthy food access and meet growing customer demand. At the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, February 29, 2012. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Earlier this week we launched the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass, a digital narrative with stories, pictures and video about USDA’s support for local and regional food systems, and interactive map with datasets displaying the various ways and places where the initiative has made an impact. Read more »

New Conservation Agreement Provides Wildlife Habitat and Creates Recreational Opportunities

Cattle graze in meadows along South Piney Creek on the Fish Creek Flying W Ranch west of Big Piney in 2011. Photo by Mark Gocke, Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

Cattle graze in meadows along South Piney Creek on the Fish Creek Flying W Ranch west of Big Piney in 2011. Photo by Mark Gocke, Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

A new land conservation agreement will protect key wildlife habitat in Wyoming’s Green River Valley. The agreement, which establishes two conservation easements on the Fish Creek Flying W Ranches near Big Piney, was coordinated by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and The Conservation Fund. Read more »

Natural Resources Conservation Service Helps Landowner Manage Inherited Property

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program helped Winston County, Miss. resident Kathy Land plant 200 acres of pine trees on land that she inherited.

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program helped Winston County, Miss. resident Kathy Land plant 200 acres of pine trees on land that she inherited.

When Mississippian Kathy Land suddenly inherited 200 acres of century-old family land, the middle school history teacher wasn’t sure what to do. The idle fields were overgrown, and the Winston County native knew she needed help. Read more »