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Volunteers Restore Giant Cane Along the Chattooga River in South Carolina

Volunteers dig up giant cane from an area adjacent to the restoration site on March 24, 2012. They must be careful to keep at least one foot of rhizome intact on either side of the main stem for successful transplanting.

On the Sumter National Forest, the peaceful sounds of the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River can barely be heard over the clang of shovels and the squeaky axle of an old wheelbarrow.

A work crew is busy on the forest’s Andrew Pickens Ranger District but instead of building with bricks and mortar along this scenic stretch of the famous river, the work crew is restoring native vegetation along its verdant banks. Read more »

A Regional Food Road Trip, with a New and Improved Compass

Screen shot of the newest version of the KYF2 Compass map.

Screen shot of the newest version of the KYF2 Compass map.

Today, I am proud to announce the release of a new version of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass. But before I tell you what makes it new, I want to invite you to join us live at 3pm EDT to hear about it directly from me, from the White House, and from some of the many people whose stories are featured in the Compass guide and map. Read more »

Feds Feed Families in South Dakota

Rapid City staff working together on personal time to support the cause.

July is a busy month for most…bringing with it Independence Day; declared National Picnic, Ice Cream, Hot Dog, and Blueberry Month; as well as the continuation of the agency’s summer Feds Feed Families Food Drive and the very first Rural Development Cultural Transformation Day. Read more »

Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 7/16/12

Satellite image with enhanced low cloud-top temperatures for 6:45 a.m. EST (NOAA)

Satellite image with enhanced low cloud-top temperatures for 6:45 a.m. EST (NOAA)

Weekend thundershowers provided limited and localized relief to a few Midwestern fields, but most of the Corn Belt remains in dire need of moisture.  Currently, very hot weather is building back into the Midwest. High temperatures above 100°F can be expected in portions of the western Corn Belt for the remainder of the week. The eastern Corn Belt should experience some mid- to late-week heat relief, but only scattered showers will accompany the transition to cooler weather. Like last week, substantial drought relief will be confined to the Southeast. Read more »

HealthierUS Schools Challenge Reaches Major Milestone

First Lady Michelle Obama joined Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and celebrity cook Rachel Ray at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 to speak with faculty and parents about the United States Department of Agriculture’s new and improved nutrition standards for school lunches.

First Lady Michelle Obama joined Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and celebrity cook Rachel Ray at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 to speak with faculty and parents about the United States Department of Agriculture’s new and improved nutrition standards for school lunches.

It’s always a treat when we get to announce major progress toward making the school day healthier. Today, I am happy to say that over 3717 schools are recognized through the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC).  This voluntary initiative acknowledges schools that go the extra mile to increase nutritious food offerings, teach kids about healthy eating, and promote physical activity.  Read more »

New York Rural Development Staff Observes Cultural Transformation Day with Representatives of Area Tribes

USDA Rural Development (NY) Cultural Transformation Day Volunteers pose at the conclusion of a beautiful day spent working on the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy Native American Village at the New York State Fairgrounds.

This past Thursday the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development’s New York Cultural Transformation Day took place at the Iroquois Confederacy’s Six Nation Agricultural Society Indian Village at the New York State Fair Grounds. Things got started early as more than a dozen USDA Rural Development staff members joined with representatives from the Iroquois Confederacy Nation to build, discover and practice community relations and also to beautify the landscape. Read more »