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Harnessing NRCS Programs to Support Local and Regional Food Systems

When we launched the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative,  I asked each agency to take a realistic look at their programs for opportunities to better support farmers trying to access local and regional markets.  Since then, we have been excited to be able to share details and concrete examples on how programs in our Rural Development and Research, Education, and Economics mission areas and the Farm Service Agency and Agricultural Marketing Service are able to do so. Read more »

A New USDA-Funded Center Boosts a Mississippi Community

Over 100 people gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Greater Refuge Community Center, which was financed by a USDA loan. (State Director Trina N. George, front row, third from right)

Over 100 people gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Greater Refuge Community Center, which was financed by a USDA loan. (State Director Trina N. George, front row, third from right)

A new community center financed through USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities program was the location of a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Canton, Mississippi last week. Read more »

Former SNAP Recipient Helps Increase Access to Fresh Produce at Farmers Markets

Corey Chapman, EBT Coordinator for City of Chicago farmers markets, processes a woman’s benefits card so she can purchase items at the market.

Corey Chapman, EBT Coordinator for City of Chicago farmers markets, processes a woman’s benefits card so she can purchase items at the market.

If there’s one thing Corey Chatman is passionate about, it’s making sure everyone has access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Maybe it’s because he knows what it’s like to rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for nourishment. Read more »

A USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant Helps a Minnesota Business Create New Jobs

If you’re searching for positive stories among all the recent talk of economic struggles and budget deficits, look no further than Spring Valley, Minn.

USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer and other officials recently visited the community of 2,500 in southeastern Minnesota to celebrate the expansion of AMD Distribution, a local business that specializes in insulation distribution. Read more »

Dakota Farmer’s Success Catches On

Dan Forgey has always had an abiding respect for the land that he’s farmed for more than 40 years, which is why, as manager of the 8,500-acre Cronin Farms in Gettysburg, South Dakota, he strives to build soil health—and yields—sustainably. First, he shifted the farm to 100 percent no-till in 1993. Then in 2006, after spending years developing diverse crop rotations, he received a grant from Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, a USDA-funded grants and outreach program, to test the introduction of cover crops into his system. This move has given him higher yields with fewer inputs, and therefore better profits. Read more »

Macon, Missouri Seniors get a New Center with USDA Support

Lying in the heart of Mid-America and the historical crossroads of two US highways, Macon, Missouri is a city with a rich cultural heritage and strong vision for the future. Macon offers the amenities of a small friendly city with the advantages of a growing city. History acknowledges the fact that in 1872 a man named John Beaumont, a real estate man and promoter, donated 10,000 young maple trees in payment of taxes of $116.00 to the City of Macon.  Now Macon is known as the “City of Maples” with over 275,000 maple trees.

As the senior population increases yearly, the Senior Center of Macon saw an increasing need for nutritious meals to be provided to the older residents.  Plans were made, blueprints were drawn, and the search for funding was begun in earnest. Read more »