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Bright Future for U.S. Sorghum Exports to Spain

More than 40 percent of the United State’s annual grain sorghum crop is exported, making access to international markets vital to the U.S. sorghum farmer. According to the U.S. Grains Council, grain sorghum is the third most important cereal crop grown in the United States and the fifth most important cereal crop grown in the world. The United States is the world’s largest producer of grain sorghum, followed by India and Nigeria. Sorghum has unique properties that make it well suited for food uses. Some sorghum varieties are rich in antioxidants and all sorghum varieties are gluten-free, an attractive alternative for wheat allergy sufferers. Read more »

One Year after Deepwater and 470,000 Acres of Wetland Bird Habitat Later…

Just recently, the wildlife conservation organization Ducks Unlimited presented me with their 2011 Wetland Conservation Achievement Award—Special Achievement category for the Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative (MBHI) and our record signup for the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP).

It was an honor to accept this award on behalf of all Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) employees and numerous partners, including Ducks Unlimited, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USA Rice Federation, National Cotton Council, National Association of Conservation Districts, The Nature Conservancy, and National Audubon Society .*

But let me back up a bit on MBHI. Read more »

Tanzanian Engineer Keeps Skills Sharp Assisting Michigan Farmers as an Earth Team Volunteer

NRCS District Conservationist Edwin Martinez conducts a wetland determination assisted by Earth Team Volunteer Tula Ngasala near St. Johns, Mich. Ngasala, a Tanzanian engineer, assists the St. Johns Field Office one day a week.

NRCS District Conservationist Edwin Martinez conducts a wetland determination assisted by Earth Team Volunteer Tula Ngasala near St. Johns, Mich. Ngasala, a Tanzanian engineer, assists the St. Johns Field Office one day a week.

Tulakemelwa Ngasala is a Tanzanian civil and water resources engineer currently living in Michigan. While in the United States she is caring for her three young girls while her husband works toward his Ph.D. in geology at Michigan State University. Read more »

PollinatorLIVE Multi-Agency Conservation Education Program Reaching Students at All Levels

Fourth-grade teacher Theresa Artman sat her students in front of a large monitor in her Austin, Texas, classroom. But they weren’t alone.

The Joslin Elementary School students were just some of the thousands of children across the country who watched the April 13 webcast of PollinatorLIVE from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Tamberly Conway, a conservation education coordinator for the U.S. Forest Service hosted the show. Read more »

Food Hubs: Creating Opportunities for Producers Across the Nation

As I talk to farmers across the country, regardless of what they produce or where, they all share one common challenge:  how to best move product from the farm to the marketplace.  This is especially crucial for small and midsize farmers who may not have enough capital to own their own trucks, their own refrigeration units, or their own warehouse space.  They might not have the resources to develop sophisticated distribution routes, build effective marketing campaigns or network with regional buyers and customers.

Without infrastructure, logistical and marketing support, these producers might be growing the sweetest strawberries or raising the most tender beef, but they lack the infrastructure support to get their exceptional products to your table. Read more »

Groundbreaking Event for a Modern USDA-Funded School in Dillon, South Carolina

State Director Vernita F. Dore, Ty'Sheoma Bethea and Tammye Treviño, Administrator for Housing and Community Facilities Programs at the Dillon Middle School groundbreaking ceremony in Dillon, South Carolina.

State Director Vernita F. Dore, Ty'Sheoma Bethea and Tammye Treviño, Administrator for Housing and Community Facilities Programs at the Dillon Middle School groundbreaking ceremony in Dillon, South Carolina.

Tammye Treviño, Administrator for Housing and Community Facilities Programs, and USDA Rural Development State Director, Vernita F. Dore participated in groundbreaking ceremonies for three different schools in Dillon County on Monday, April 18, 2011. Read more »