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Rural America: Building Upon a Record of Success

Cross posted from the White House blog:

This morning, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing a White House Rural Council, the first entity of its kind established to focus on policy initiatives for Rural Americans.  The President’s signature on this document represents a truly historic moment for the nation.  I am honored to serve as the Chair of the Council and work directly with my Cabinet colleagues from across the federal government to improve the economic conditions and quality of life for millions of Rural Americans.

President Obama has already established an impressive record in rural areas, which the Rural Council will build on.  The Administration’s record includes substantial investments in rural America to modernize our Nation’s infrastructure, provide broadband access to 10 million Americans, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, and provide affordable health care.  Nevertheless, the President believes that even more needs to be done in order to fully capitalize on the emerging opportunities in Rural America.  Despite recent advances, rural communities continue to struggle to maintain the population and businesses needed for sustained economic growth. Read more »

Undersecretary Says Renewable Energy Production Promotes America’s Security, Boosts Economy

As a farmer in eastern South Dakota, I witnessed one of the biggest growth periods in renewable energy in our country’s history.

I saw firsthand how the investments in biofuels benefited rural Americans by creating jobs and capturing wealth locally. Leaders in the community got together, made commitments to invest in renewable energy projects, and shared in the success of the projects once they matured. Read more »

What Will You Do To Help Feed Hungry Children This Summer?

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

Monday was the first day of the first ever National Summer Food Service Program Week: “Food That’s in When School is Out”.  When the school year ends, many children and teens who rely on School Meals are at a higher risk of going hungry during the summer when school is not in session. This week, we are raising awareness about the Summer Food Service Program to make sure kids don’t go hungry this summer.  During the school year, more than 21 million children receive free and reduce-priced breakfast and lunch through the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs.  And yet, when school lets out, only slightly more than 3 million receive a meal through a summer program.    It is imperative that we do better feeding our nation’s children. Read more »

Hispanic Farmer Serves as Shining Example for Sustainable Agriculture

Lawrence Sanchez weighs a bale of hay to determine his yield per acre.

Lawrence Sanchez weighs a bale of hay to determine his yield per acre.

Lawrence Sanchez is a good farmer, businessman and member of his community, Tome, New Mexico. Read more »

Nomination Period for Farm Service Agency County Committees Opens June 15

The Farm Service Agency will begin accepting nominations for local county committees on June 15. The nomination period — which runs through Aug. 1 — allows farmers and ranchers to nominate themselves or others as candidates to sit on the local county committee and help make important agricultural decisions.

In a news release issued today, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack urged all farmers and ranchers, especially minority and women producers, to take part in this year’s county committee elections by nominating candidates. Read more »

A New Roadmap to Sustainable Agriculture

Nicola Macpherson, agroforester, with her mushrooms and a lot more on her Missouri forestry farm.

Nicola Macpherson, agroforester, with her mushrooms and a lot more on her Missouri forestry farm.

Nicola Macpherson knows the benefits of agroforestry. After all, she has the success of her farm, Timber Farms in the Sink, and her business, Ozark Forest Mushrooms, as proof. Read more »