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USDA Puerto Rico Rural Housing Director Recognized as Public Servant of the Year

Late last month, Arlene Zambrana, Rural Housing Program Director, was recognized as the Public Servant of the Year by the Puerto Rico Housing Builder Association.

Through her professional career, she has escalated higher positions that have provided the opportunity to obtain the present position as Rural Housing Program Director. As part of her responsibilities, she has successfully administered a budget of $1,071,533,067 during fiscal years 2009 to 2011 and has provided homeownership opportunities to 7,830 families.

Arlene has been working with the Agency since 1986.  She started as assistant to Loan Specialist of the local office of the municipality of San Sebastian. Read more »

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack in Omaha to Kick Off Regional Drought Workshops

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at the opening session of a Federal Drought Workshop in Omaha, NE on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. This was the first of four regional workshops to outline resources available to assist with drought recovery effort.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at the opening session of a Federal Drought Workshop in Omaha, NE on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. This was the first of four regional workshops to outline resources available to assist with drought recovery effort.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack participated in the kickoff of four regional workshops on drought recovery, the first of which was held Tuesday in Omaha, Nebraska.  More than 200 people gathered in Omaha to discuss ways to access existing resources and to offer ideas on new efforts to assist those impacted by drought. Read more »

Sowing Seeds of Partnerships to Feed a Community

A polyethylene cover will be added to this frame to allow a seasonal high tunnel to do its job – provide a warmer climate for plants.

A polyethylene cover will be added to this frame to allow a seasonal high tunnel to do its job – provide a warmer climate for plants.

For years, Avon Standard has tilled the soil, planted the seeds and harvested the produce from his community garden with one purpose in mind—to feed people.

“My passion is to give and grow,” says Standard of the fruits and vegetables that he provides free to family, friends and the surrounding community. He recently took his efforts a step further. Read more »

International Pilots Learn Human Rights Lessons During Visit to Historic Fort in Florida

View of the Apalachicola River from Fort Gadsden located on the river’s east bank. The site is the only historic landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the U.S. Forest Service’s Southern Region.  Photo Credit: Forest Service photo

View of the Apalachicola River from Fort Gadsden located on the river’s east bank. The site is the only historic landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the U.S. Forest Service’s Southern Region. Photo Credit: Forest Service photo

Nestled in the southwest corner of Florida’s Apalachicola National Forest sits a historic fort known today as Fort Gadsden—the only historic landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the U.S. Forest Service’s Southern Region.

The fort served as a Native American trading post, a British fort, as U.S. Fort Gadsden, and as a Confederate fort during the Civil War. The fort was also used as a safe haven for runaway slaves travelling the Underground Railroad, which ran south to Spanish Florida prior to 1821. Read more »

Organic 101: Five Steps to Organic Certification

Reece Latron uses a tractor to carry baskets of greens harvested from Amy's Organic Garden in Charles City, VA. While the certification system is rigorous to ensure integrity of the USDA organic label, thousands of producers and handlers continue to invest in these activities to market their products as organic. USDA Photos by Lance Cheung

Reece Latron uses a tractor to carry baskets of greens harvested from Amy's Organic Garden in Charles City, VA. While the certification system is rigorous to ensure integrity of the USDA organic label, thousands of producers and handlers continue to invest in these activities to market their products as organic. USDA Photos by Lance Cheung

This is the eighth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.

The USDA organic label is backed by a certification system that verifies farmers or handling facilities located anywhere in the world comply with the USDA Organic Regulations. Certification entails five steps: Read more »

US Forest Service’s Largest Experimental Forest is an Example of Cooperative Research

The Olympic Experimental State Forest Area

The Olympic Experimental State Forest Area

The Olympic Experimental State Forest is the largest site in the U.S. Forest Service’s national network of experimental forests and it’s the only representative of the Olympic Peninsula’s temperate rain forest ecosystem, which is known for its extreme rainfall and growth rates.

Its large size, encompassing 270,000 acres, and history of innovation make this a forest that offers many opportunities for research and monitoring. Read more »