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Deputy Secretary Announces Support for Local Producers to Create Jobs and Grow Business

The owners of the Chapel Hill (NC) Creamery, got a grant to help them expand their cheese operation. The VAPG grant will supply working capital to help the farm meet its goals.   Photo courtesy of the Chapel Hill Herald Sun.

The owners of the Chapel Hill (NC) Creamery, got a grant to help them expand their cheese operation. The VAPG grant will supply working capital to help the farm meet its goals. (Photo courtesy of the Chapel Hill Herald Sun.)

Earlier today, I had the honor of joining non-profit organizations, state and federal agencies, institutions, CEOs and others involved with agriculture and economic development to kick off the “The Many Faces of Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” conference hosted at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.  I was there to continue the work that President Obama highlighted in his State of the Union address last month. Read more »

A Smartphone App Provides New Way to Access Soil Survey Information

NRCS Soil Scientist Dr. Dylan Beaudette developed the SoilWeb application for mobile devices while he was a graduate student at UC Davis. The app provides soil survey information in a mobile form and is particularly useful for those working in the field.

NRCS Soil Scientist Dr. Dylan Beaudette developed the SoilWeb application for mobile devices while he was a graduate student at UC Davis. The app provides soil survey information in a mobile form and is particularly useful for those working in the field.

A new smartphone application, or “app,” is available as a free download for both iPhone and Android users to access soil survey information. The app, SoilWeb, combines online soil survey information with the GPS capabilities of smartphones. Read more »

Paradise Found? Free Snowshoe Walks on California’s Lassen National Forest Offered this Winter

Snowshoeing enthusiasts enjoy a guided trek on the Lassen National Forest in California. (Photo credit:  Esther Miranda-Cole, Public Affairs Specialist, Lassen National Forest)

Snowshoeing enthusiasts enjoy a guided trek on the Lassen National Forest in California. (Photo credit: Esther Miranda-Cole, Public Affairs Specialist, Lassen National Forest)

Crisp, sunny winter days are an invitation to play in and enjoy the great outdoors and the Lassen National Forest in California has just the ticket for people of all ages to enjoy! Read more »

During Drought, Texas Rancher Helps Land and Feeds Families

NRCS Civil Engineering Technician, Minzenmeyer and Fayette County SWCD technician, Milton Koenning visit with David Brooks about his conservation plan for continuing improvements on the ranch.

NRCS Civil Engineering Technician, Minzenmeyer and Fayette County SWCD technician, Milton Koenning visit with David Brooks about his conservation plan for continuing improvements on the ranch.

Many hungry families in Central Texas enjoyed beef this past summer as a result of a Fayette County rancher’s big heart for charity and conservation. Read more »

Pecan Industry Cracks Foreign Markets

Tim Montz (right) of the Montz Pecan Company speaks with members of the Chinese media while displaying his Texas-grown products at the USDA-supported SIAL China food trade show in 2009. Participation in USDA events and export assistance from the Foreign Agricultural Service has helped international sales of Montz pecans thrive in recent years. Photo by Cindy Wise of the Texas Pecan Growers AssociationTim Montz (right) of the Montz Pecan Company speaks with members of the Chinese media while displaying his Texas-grown products at the USDA-supported SIAL China food trade show in 2009. Participation in USDA events and export assistance from the Foreign Agricultural Service has helped international sales of Montz pecans thrive in recent years. Photo by Cindy Wise of the Texas Pecan Growers Association

Tim Montz (right) of the Montz Pecan Company speaks with members of the Chinese media while displaying his Texas-grown products at the USDA-supported SIAL China food trade show in 2009. Participation in USDA events and export assistance from the Foreign Agricultural Service has helped international sales of Montz pecans thrive in recent years. Photo by Cindy Wise of the Texas Pecan Growers Association

In 2009 when Tim Montz first traveled to Shanghai, China, representing the Texas pecan industry, Montz had to explain what pecans were. Two years later, promoting pecans to China and other countries is “business as usual” for the father-and-son team of Tim and Jake Montz of the Montz Pecan Company. Read more »

USDA Partnership Backs Innovation in Food Research

During a recent visit to Oregon, USDA’s Director for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Max Finberg, visited the Food Innovation Center in Portland, where researchers are helping producers get local edibles on the shelf.

The Food Innovation Center (FIC), an experiment station administered jointly by Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Agriculture, works extensively with USDA to help agricultural producers and food businesses get local foods to market. To make this possible, the FIC conducts a variety of studies related to product development, packaging, shelf life, consumer acceptance, economic feasibility and product marketing. Read more »