An intensive two day public meeting wrapped up earlier this week in Washington, D.C., as the recently appointed members of the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching met face-to-face for the first time. Read more »
Each July, more than 9,500 people pedal across the state of Iowa, covering a total distance of more than 400 miles in just seven days. The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) attracts cyclists from across the globe.
Cyclists travel from one Iowa town to the next, enjoying the Midwest hospitality. Iowa residents living along the route can watch the swarms of bicyclists ride by for hours straight. Read more »
Pennsylvania is among the country’s top ten states represented in the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory. I recently completed a trip through the Fruit Belt to the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia to see how USDA’s support of farmers market development is impacting communities and helping farmers across the Keystone State.
My first stop was Camp Hill, a small town outside Harrisburg, to visit a new farmers market developed with the assistance of community organizations including Capital Resource and Conservation & Development Area Council (Capital RC&D). Capital RC&D received a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant to help farmers markets improve their consumer outreach and receive EBT and debit payments to expand micro-business opportunities for the area’s local farmers. The market, which just opened in May, is off to a great start with over a dozen vendors selling local bread, meat, dairy and produce from Pennsylvania’s fruit belt. Read more »
USDA Official, Center for Rural Strategies, Discuss Ways Rural Areas can Attract and Retain Creative Young AmericansPosted by
This past week, I had the opportunity to join a group of rural arts leaders at a conference in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts. The event had a number of objectives, including some hearty brainstorming about the crucial role rural arts organizations and artists play in buoying small town economies and enhancing the livability of rural places. Additionally, since there were a number of talented and inspiring young people in the group, this was a chance for them to learn and share their experiences. While there was no USDA sponsorship of this event, the Obama Administration can certainly feel inspired by the positive energy these practitioners bring to the country. Read more »
Visit www.usda.gov/drought for the latest information regarding USDA’s Drought Disaster response and assistance.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor, dated August 14, indicates that some drought-affected areas of the United States have begun to turn the corner with respect to the historic drought of 2012. During the seven-day period ending August 14, conterminous U.S. drought coverage fell to 61.8%, down from a July 24 peak of 63.9%. Continental U.S. coverage of extreme to exceptional drought (D3 to D4), the two worst drought categories, dipped to 23.7%, less than one-half of a percentage point below last week’s peak. However, U.S. exceptional drought (D4) coverage actually rose in the last week, from 4.2 to 6.3%, on the strength of worsening conditions in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. In fact, Missouri leads the nation—according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service—in very poor to poor ratings for pastures (98% VP to P), corn (84%), and soybeans (75%). Read more »
Tonight, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will join RURAL TV and RFD-TV live at the Iowa State Fair to discuss the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s continuing efforts to assist farmers and ranchers impacted by drought.
As part of continuing steps by the Obama Administration to assist livestock producers in response to the historic drought, USDA will utilize nearly $16 million in financial and technical assistance to immediately help crop and livestock producers in 19 states cope with the adverse impacts of the historic drought. In addition, USDA will initiate a transfer of $14 million in unobligated program funds into the Emergency Conservation Program. These funds can be used to assist in moving water to livestock in need, providing emergency forage for livestock, and rehabilitating lands severely impacted by the drought. Together these efforts should provide nearly $30 million to producers struggling with drought conditions. Read more »