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Seeking Your Input for USDA’s Digital Strategy

On May 23, 2012, the White House released the Federal Digital Strategy aimed at building a 21st century government provides open data and digital services to the American people and its employees.

As part of our Digital Strategy, USDA has identified several first-move candidates that can be improved to meet the call for web APIs and mobile optimized services by May 23, 2013.

We’d like your input in deciding which two candidates in each category we will commit to completing by OMB’s May 23, 2013 deadline. We’d love to hear your feedback – which of these candidates would be most useful to you? What should we consider when creating web APIs and optimizing for mobile? Did we miss anything? Read more »

Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 8/21/12

U.S. Pasture and Range Conditions, August 19, 2012.

U.S. Pasture and Range Conditions, August 19, 2012. Click to enlarge image.

Visit for the latest information regarding USDA’s Drought Disaster response and assistance.

During the last week, the heat that has been affecting much of the nation’s heartland all summer has shifted into the western United States.  As a result, wildfires have flourished in parts of the West, particularly in Idaho and northern California.  By August 20, the area burned by year-to-date U.S. wildfires reached 6.9 million acres, well above the 10-year average of 5.3 million acres. Read more »

North Carolina Rivercane Studies get a boost from Oconaluftee Job Corps

In the early morning light, 15 students look for the first time at a traditional Cherokee rivercane basket and marvel at the colors and detail.

Western Carolina University’s Adam Griffith of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines passes the basket around as he explains the cultural and ecological significance of rivercane.

“Since we started the Rivercane Restoration Project in 2006, I have just gotten more and more impressed with this native plant. It knows how deep it is in the soil- how cool is that?!” he says with a grin. Read more »

Líderes de la Comunidad Latina de Minnesota y Promotores Sincronizados en el Tema de la Nutrición

La llave para alcanzar a las comunidades elegibles que no están recibiendo asistencia nutricional es encontrar líderes dentro de la comunidad en los que las personas confían. La organización Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES) de Minnesota ha adoptado efectivamente un modelo de alcance comunitario el cual ha tenido gran impacto usando el modelo holístico de las Promotoras (o trabajadores de salud comunitarios) CLUES es un asociado de  La Mesa Completa que tiene como misión proveer apoyo a aquellos individuos en la comunidad Hispana que están enfrentado una crisis. Para ayudar a los Latinos necesitados, ellos han desarrollado un modelo de dar asistencia centrado en la familia con la idea de que la familia y el hogar son los recursos de apoyo más valiosos.

CLUES elige los líderes comunitarios para ser promotores y los entrena en cómo deben de dar la información de educación nutricional y alimentación saludable, prevención de la obesidad y diabetes, y la importancia de la actividad física, esto durante visitas individuales a cada casa. Los promotores latinos se han convertido en el puente entre la gente y el gobierno federal, estatal,  local  y diferentes  instituciones los cuales ofrecen recursos  a los que las personas son referidos por los promotores y es aquí donde la confianza es crucial. Read more »

Minnesota Latino Community Leaders and Promoters in Sync on Nutrition

The key to reaching out to underserved, eligible Latino communities in need of nutrition assistance is to find trusted leaders from within the community itself. The Minnesota-based organization Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES) has effectively adopted an outreach model that achieves grassroots impact through a holistic promotores (community health workers) model. CLUES is a La Mesa Completa partner whose mission is to provide a network of support for Hispanic individuals facing crisis. To help Latinos in need, they have developed a unique family-centric coordinated care delivery model based on the idea that the family and the home are valuable support assets.

CLUES elects trusted community leaders to be promotores and trains them on how to deliver information about nutrition education and healthy eating, obesity and diabetes prevention, and the importance of physical activity through one-on-one home visits. These Latino promotores have become the bridge between the people and federal, state and local resources and institutions they refer them to, which is why establishing a relationship of trust is crucial. Read more »

With USDA Support, A Health Center in Alaska’s Susitna Valley Celebrates a Grand Opening

On a beautiful, bright Sunday in August, members of the Alaska  USDA-Rural Development team met with the leadership of the new Sunshine Community Health Center and other funders to celebrate the grand opening of the new healthcare facility in Willow.  They were joined by members of the surrounding communities which this new clinic will serve, including Willow, Houston and Skwentna, Alaska.

The old healthcare building of some 1,400 square feet had grown outdated in both accommodations for staff and residents needing medical services.  The work space to provide private exams and perform much needed medical procedures was too small and no longer met the required protocols.

“The new building is a 6,800 square foot facility that houses six new exam rooms, allowing the clinic to expand and supply necessary healthcare expertise and services to the residents of the surrounding service area.  It will provide many new jobs ranging from entry-level support personnel to professional and bring higher levels of medical services,” said Rural Development Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund. Read more »