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On Drought, USDA is There

USDA Undersecretary Michael Scuse and Cass County FSA committeeman and farmer Trent Smith discuss the drought’s impact on this year’s soybean crop. Smith’s farm was one stop on the Undersecretary’s tour assessing Missouri’s drought.

USDA Undersecretary Michael Scuse and Cass County FSA committeeman and farmer Trent Smith discuss the drought’s impact on this year’s soybean crop. Smith’s farm was one stop on the Undersecretary’s tour assessing Missouri’s drought.

Last week, USDA Undersecretary Michael Scuse visited with farmers and ranchers in Missouri and Kansas. Scuse is just one of several USDA officials to fan out to more than a dozen drought-affected states in the past two months as part of President Obama’s commitment to get help to producers impacted by the nation’s worst drought in a generation. Over the past eight weeks, USDA has helped to lead these efforts by opening conservation acres to emergency haying and grazing, lowering the interest rate for emergency loans, working with crop insurance companies to provide flexibility to farmers, and offering other forms of assistance meant to bring relief in the short and long term. Read more »

Virginia Farmers Sprout Agricultural Knowledge for White House Fellows

White House interns met with several Virginia producers to learn the important role agriculture plays in feeding, clothing and fueling America and the world.

White House interns met with several Virginia producers to learn the important role agriculture plays in feeding, clothing and fueling America and the world.

Twelve White House fellows were given the opportunity to experience agriculture first hand. From a custom slaughterhouse to a large-scale fruit and vegetable operation, the group grazed the hills and pastures of Virginia to learn the importance of ag in the U.S.

Hosted by Virginia Farm Service Agency staff and accompanied by Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service Deputy Under Secretary Karis Gutter, the fellows began their tour at the USDA Fredericksburg Service Center where they met their tour guides — County  Executive Director Jeanne Turnure and FSA Manager Kim DePasquale. Read more »

USDA Support Helps Build Feed Mill, Boosts Small Businesses in Southwestern Minnesota

Kyle Oldre, Rock County Administrator speaks at the dedication as State Director Colleen Landkamer and other dignitaries look on.

Kyle Oldre, Rock County Administrator speaks at the dedication as State Director Colleen Landkamer and other dignitaries look on.

As construction crews were busy putting the finishing touches on New Vision Co-op’s new grain elevator and feed mill in Magnolia, Minn., last month, USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer and other area leaders visited the site to highlight the economic impact of the project.

“This investment by USDA means jobs and economic development opportunities,” Landkamer said. Read more »

Bringing Decent, Affordable Housing to a Rural Mississippi Community

Mississippi Rural Development State Director Trina George (Third from right) helps cut a ribbon marking the opening of Rosedale Estates.

Mississippi Rural Development State Director Trina George (Third from right) helps cut a ribbon marking the opening of Rosedale Estates.

Recently, Trina George, Mississippi State Director for USDA Rural Development participated in the Rosedale Estates open house. The Open House commemorated the completion of a new 24 unit apartment complex in Rosedale, Miss., that received funding from USDA. The apartment complex received two loans through the Rural Housing Direct Loan Program. The most recent loan was finalized two years ago. Read more »

US Forest Service Highlights Scenic Drives for Enjoying the North Carolina’s Fall Foliage

Recreationalist enjoying fall at Cheoah Point in the Cheoah Ranger District, Nantahala National Forest

Recreationalist enjoying fall at Cheoah Point in the Cheoah Ranger District, Nantahala National Forest

The US Forest Service has launched a Leaf Viewing in Western North Carolina webpage for 2012 featuring scenic drives and areas in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests for enjoying fall foliage. Visitors to the site will see pictures and get directions to enjoy the kaleidoscope of glorious leaf colors North Carolina has to offer.

Leaf Viewing in Western North Carolina describes the types of mountain trees that visitors will see during peak season at high, middle and low elevations. For example, the Cherohala Skyway in Graham County enables travelers to enjoy a variety of colorful, high-elevation trees in late September. Read more »

Food Safety Gets Personal: Meet FSIS Veterinarian Dr. Regina Tan

Dr. Regina Tan says three words best describe her work at USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service: “I save lives.” As Director of the Applied Epidemiology Division for FSIS’s Office of Public Health Science, Dr. Tan and her staff are responsible for detecting health hazards in food, like disease-causing bacteria, allergens, strange objects, or diseases humans can catch from animals.

“This job is very personal to me. I have a son who depends on me to make sure he is safe. I think of this work by putting the faces of my family to it,” Dr. Tan has said. Read more »