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Secretary’s Column: Expanding Investments in Rural America

President Obama and I have worked hard to build thriving, sustainable economies communities in rural America.  This is essential to the strength of our nation, but government cannot do it alone in these tough economic times.

Outside funders and partnerships must place a central role both in leveraging federal investments and filling in funding gaps to move projects off the drawing board and give them life. Read more »

Agriculture Secretary Lends an Ear to Young FFA Students

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks with the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) leadership at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, on Thursday, July 28, 2011. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks with the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) leadership at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, on Thursday, July 28, 2011. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

The economy its affect on agriculture was a common theme among leaders of the (former) Future Farmers of America who met with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as part of the National FFA State President’s Conference. Read more »

Faces of the Forest Celebrates Daniel McCarthy

As a disabled Vietnam Veteran, Daniel stated, “my greatest honor was having the opportunity to participate with Missing-in-Action work by returning to Vietnam and Laos assisting in recovery efforts of fellow soldiers.”

For over 15 years, Daniel has worked as a Tribal Relations Program Manager on the San Bernardino National Forest in California.  He thinks of himself as an ambassador for the forest representing the federal government working with tribes. Read more »

NRCS Working with Innovative Organic Producers

m Howard, Half Moon Bay District Conservationist, visits with Ryan Casey from Blue House Farms.

Jim Howard, Half Moon Bay District Conservationist, visits with Ryan Casey from Blue House Farms.

“When we started, there weren’t any other farms locally doing what we were doing,” says Ryan Casey, of Blue House Farms, outside of Pescadero, Calif. Read more »

Stakeholders Provide Suggestions on How USDA Can Better Serve Rural America

On Wednesday, USDA Rural Development (RD) Indiana convened a stakeholder outreach meeting to discuss Rural Development priorities for President Obama’s 2013 budget and 2012 Farm Bill.  The meeting was held to provide our agency with valuable input as it develops mission area priorities for the upcoming fiscal year.

Over 50 attendees discussed and shared ideology on how Rural Development can enhance program administration and delivery to ensure that rural communities are able to access the critical programs and resources that Rural Development has to offer. Read more »

Transfer of Funds Will Help Meet Urgent Credit Needs of Producers

Harvesting hay from a field that is being farmed along the contour of the land.  FSA loan programs provide America's farm families with the support they need to feed America and the world. This is a USDA photo from NRCS.

Harvesting hay from a field that is being farmed along the contour of the land. FSA loan programs provide America's farm families with the support they need to feed America and the world. This is a USDA photo from NRCS.

More help is on the way for producers.

In an announcement earlier this week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said a high demand for farm ownership and direct farm operating funds has prompted USDA to transfer appropriated funds between programs to meet the urgent credit needs of producers. Read more »