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Farmers Market Promotion Program: Expanding Food Access Through Direct Marketing

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack rings the bell opening the 2011 Farmers Market located at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, on Friday, Jun. 3, 2011.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack rings the bell opening the 2011 Farmers Market located at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, on Friday, Jun. 3, 2011.

As the opening of this season’s USDA Farmers Market occurs today in Washington, D.C., Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced approximately $10 million is available to expand direct marketing opportunities and help to eliminate food deserts and increase food access in low-income communities in the United States through the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP). By funding projects that increase access to healthy and affordable food while expanding market opportunities for farmers and ranchers, the Farmers Market Promotion Program continues to contribute to the economic and physical health of communities around the country. Read more »

New Jersey Charter School Funded By USDA Educates the Leaders of Tomorrow

Recently I attended a dedication ceremony along with members of my staff held at the Sussex County Charter School for Technology in the New Jersey community of Sparta.  Also in attendance for the dedication were local and school officials as well as Real Estate Advisory Development Services (READS).

This Charter School received funding through USDA’s Community Facilities Program and the result was 20,000 square feet of educational space consisting of three separate buildings.  Two of the three buildings were built using modular units helping to keep the costs down.  The Charter School had shared space with the County Vocational School since 1997. Read more »

Earth Day Meets Veterans Day in Mississippi

USDA Rural Development State Director Trina George and numerous local officials and leaders were in two Mississippi counties this spring to commemorate Earth Day and highlight USDA’s commitment to good environmental practices.

State Director George met with officials of the Tallahala Water Association in Bay Springs, Mississippi to mark a recent loan and grant from USDA Rural Development to the water association for improvements to their existing system. The event was held at the office of the water association in Bay Springs. Read more »

NRCS Responds to Widespread Flooding in Mississippi

S.E. Felter worked these flooded fields as a teen. Now, the Adams County supervisor is hoping the water recedes quickly from the inundated agricultural community.

S.E. Felter worked these flooded fields as a teen. Now, the Adams County supervisor is hoping the water recedes quickly from the inundated agricultural community.

During S.E. Felter’s early teen years, he baled hay a few miles from his Adams County, Miss. home. But now the land Felter worked as a youngster is a lake, after the Mississippi River swelled its banks and pushed water inland along creeks and rivers. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack Meets Tennessee Stakeholders to Discuss USDA Supported Flex-Fuel Opportunities

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack touts the  benefits of Ethanol E-85 at a  gas station in Nashville, TN, on Monday, May 23, 2011.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack touts the benefits of Ethanol E-85 at a gas station in Nashville, TN, on Monday, May 23, 2011.

Secretary Tom Vilsack recently joined a Round Table of regional stakeholders in Nashville to discuss ways that USDA can help rural fuel station owners and cooperatives increase the availability and use of flex-fuels. About eight million cars and trucks on the road in the U.S. today can use E85 fuel, but finding a station that can dispense renewable fuels can be a challenge. Read more »

U.S. Meat Industry Making a Difference in Japan

More than 250 servings of U.S. steak were served on May 15 as part of USMEF’s relief efforts.

More than 250 servings of U.S. steak were served on May 15 as part of USMEF’s relief efforts.

The devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11 claimed the lives of over 13,000 people and left nearly 150,000 homeless. Read more »