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Mississippi Woman Changes Career from CEO to Rancher

Cindy Ayers Elliott is new to the goat business, but with help from the NRCS and several other friends, she said she is on her way to success.

Cindy Ayers Elliott is new to the goat business, but with help from the NRCS and several other friends, she said she is on her way to success.

Cindy Ayers Elliott once worked on Wall Street—but has since traded in her high heels for a pair of work boots. The former CEO and investment banker has made a life-changing move to her Jackson home-turned-farm, where she rears goats for meat and grows organic vegetables. Read more »

Farmers’ Markets by the White House Hosts National Farmers Week and World Breastfeeding Week Festivities

District of Columbia WIC Director Gloria Clark talks about DC’s new mobile WIC clinic which will travel to underserved parts of the city to provide needed services.

District of Columbia WIC Director Gloria Clark talks about DC’s new mobile WIC clinic which will travel to underserved parts of the city to provide needed services.

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

On August 4, the Farmers Market by the White House was bustling with individuals celebrating World Breastfeeding Week and National Farmers Market Week. The festival’s purpose was to recognize the value of farmers markets and the role that nutritious fruits and vegetables play in promoting wellness. Read more »

Joint USDA-Catholic Relief Services Project Feeds, Teaches Guatemalans To Ensure Food Security

U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala Stephen McFarland provides food assistance to a family in the department of Santa Rosa. Photo credit: U.S. Embassy-GuatemalaU.S. Ambassador to Guatemala Stephen McFarland provides food assistance to a family in the department of Santa Rosa. Photo credit: U.S. Embassy-Guatemala

U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala Stephen McFarland provides food assistance to a family in the department of Santa Rosa. Photo credit: U.S. Embassy-Guatemala

The “dry corridor” in Guatemala suffers from annual drought and food shortages that affect the food security and incomes of people in the region. Last year was worse than most—drought followed by devastating floods caused by tropical storms and rain that destroyed crops, increasing food insecurity and child malnutrition. Read more »

USDA Announces $100 Million Conservation Investment for the Northern Everglades Watershed

On a sunny day last week in West Palm Beach, Fla., Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced $100 million in financial assistance to boost wetlands restoration in the Northern Everglades watershed. With the announcement, USDA aims to purchase the development rights on as much as 24,000 acres of private land in four Florida counties, and restore the land in cooperation with the owners. The end result: less surface water leaving the land, slower water runoff, and reduced concentrations of nutrients entering the public water system. That’s better water quality, greater quantity, and improved economic opportunities for millions of Floridians. Secretary Vilsack spoke about how private landowners play a critical role in protecting wetlands and enhancing wildlife in this unique habitat. The partnership with farmers and ranchers will also empower community-led conservation efforts and use of science-based management practices to restore and protect lands and waters for future generations.

The ceremony marked a major commitment to the Everglades by the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP).

The funding supports the Obama Administration’s commitment to protecting private lands through its America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. Working with conservation partners and others, USDA helps communities find local solutions to natural resource issues such as protecting a large-scale ecosystem like the Northern Everglades.

To watch the ceremony, held at Winding Waters Natural Area, check out the video below!

Giving Rural America More Tools to Grow and Create Jobs

Cross-posted from the White House blog.

Today, the President announced several important new initiatives to continue strengthening the rural economy and to create jobs in rural areas.

As part of the White House Rural Council’s efforts to improve federal government coordination on rural economic development, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have been focused on rural small business growth. And for good reason: Half the people who work in America either own or work for a small business, and two out of three new private sector jobs are created by small businesses. Read more »

Farm Internet Access on the Rise, Now Let’s Connect

A cell tower helps provide Internet access to the nearly 1,200 farms in Comanche County, OK. (Data Source: 2007 Census of Agriculture)

A cell tower helps provide Internet access to the nearly 1,200 farms in Comanche County, OK. (Data Source: 2007 Census of Agriculture)

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

It’s no secret that the landscape of rural America and the ways in which farmers and ranchers do business is evolving. These changes are happening not only in the fields, in terms of what is produced and how, but also in the office and home with how producers access information and conduct business. Read more »