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Conservation That Works

Cross posted from the White House Council on Environmental Quality blog:

I was recently in Atlanta, Georgia to speak at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference about Working Lands for Wildlife, a new effort to focus both conservation dollars and wildlife management expertise on the recovery of seven at-risk, threatened or endangered wildlife species. This unique approach to conservation concentrates federal resources on private working lands—home to a majority of candidate and listed species under the Endangered Species Act. Working Lands for Wildlife was developed by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior through their membership in the White House Rural Council.

Working with farmers, ranchers and forest landowners is critical to President Obama’s vision of an economy built to last, one where rural communities provide clean air, clean water and wildlife habitat to generate economic opportunities for outdoor recreation and jobs, while protecting farm and ranch traditions. Working Lands for Wildlife demonstrates the President’s focus on the rural economy and his commitment to keep working lands working. Read more »

You Asked, We Answered: FAQs About the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass

It’s been a little over two weeks since we launched the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass, which includes a multi-media PDF narrative and an accompanying interactive map. Together, they’re designed to help you navigate USDA’s grant and loan programs and learn how USDA supports the development of local and regional food systems. You’ll hear about people across the country putting these resources to work. We hope you’ll be inspired and perhaps get some new ideas to try out on your farm or ranch or in your community.

We never intended to launch the KYF Compass and call it a day. This is just the beginning of what we hope will be a long-term conversation about new opportunities in local and regional food. We’ve reached out to you through a webinar, over Twitter, in our blog and in events with stakeholders to hear your feedback and ideas. And you’ve certainly kept up your end of the conversation! Read more »

USDA Official Marks State Tribal Relations Day in South Dakota

South Dakota USDA Rural Development State Director Elsie Meeks and J.R. LaPlante, Secretary of Tribal Relations for the state of South Dakota mark State Tribal Relations Day at the South Dakota State Capitol.

South Dakota USDA Rural Development State Director Elsie Meeks and J.R. LaPlante, Secretary of Tribal Relations for the state of South Dakota mark State Tribal Relations Day at the South Dakota State Capitol.

The South Dakota Department of Tribal Relations hosted State Tribal Relations Day at the South Dakota Capitol on Monday, March 19, 2012.  South Dakota USDA Rural Development State Director Elsie Meeks took part in the day; attending the Tribal Listening Session and ceremony.  Meeks was impressed by all of the tribal representatives as well as the students that attended from across the state.  “The listening session was an important part of the day with government to government interaction where ideas and solutions were shared.” Read more »

Learn How to Play Smart Against Spreading Invasive Species

As spring awakens across the country, outdoor recreation enthusiasts are beginning to look again for opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. America’s spectacular national forests and national grasslands provide some of the greatest opportunities for outdoor recreation in the world.

The emerald ash borer, highly destructive to ash trees, is one of the most destructive non-native insects in the U.S. Photo credit:  Invasive.org

The emerald ash borer, highly destructive to ash trees, is one of the most destructive non-native insects in the U.S. Photo credit: Invasive.org

But these beautiful and inspiring natural places are also under attack from hundreds of invasive plants, animals and pathogens. These exotic invaders disrupt natural ecological balance and can negatively impact the quality of outdoor recreation experiences. Invasives can threaten human health and safety and possibly reduce access to some areas. Read more »

Columbia Heights Built It, Now the Fruit Will Come

Students from Columbia Heights Educational Campus participate in the symbolic first dig in their new garden.  The People’s Garden will grow food for both the school and people in need.

Students from Columbia Heights Educational Campus participate in the symbolic first dig in their new garden. The People’s Garden will grow food for both the school and people in need.

Students at the Columbia Heights Educational Campus (CHEC) will soon be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor.  The District of Columbia Daughters of the American Revolution (D.C. DAR) partnered with USDA to bring a People’s Garden to this school in Washington, D.C. Read more »

U.S. Agribusinesses Build Trade Relationships, Seek Export Success in China

It is my pleasure to be in China, leading USDA’s largest-ever agricultural trade mission in the cities of Chengdu and Shanghai from March 23-28.

Left to right: Former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for China Mr. Zhang Zhi Gang, Former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for China  He Ji Hai, Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, Former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for China He Hua Zhangand at the opening of Tang Jiu Hui Trade Show in Chengdu.  Scuse is currently leading USDA’s largest-ever trade mission delegation in China. Photo Credit: Kirsten Allen

Left to right: Former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for China Mr. Zhang Zhi Gang, Former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for China He Ji Hai, Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, Former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for China He Hua Zhangand at the opening of Tang Jiu Hui Trade Show in Chengdu. Scuse is currently leading USDA’s largest-ever trade mission delegation in China. Photo Credit: Kirsten Allen

I am joined by 39 U.S. businesses representing a wide variety of products, including fresh and frozen produce, dairy, wine, consumer-oriented products, forestry products, and more. Representatives from six state departments of agriculture are also participating, including Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, Oklahoma Agriculture Secretary Jim Reese, and representatives from North Carolina, Illinois, Kansas, and South Dakota. Read more »