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Sign-up for Natural Disaster Assistance Program Opens Today

Sign-up for the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program starts today for farmers and ranchers who suffered losses caused by natural disasters during the 2009 crop year.

This program provides assistance to producers who have suffered from natural disasters and is part of the ‘safety net’ designed to assist farmers and ranchers who feed America and the world. Read more »

Improving the Integrity of Rural Housing Investments

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has had a profound impact on the American people. Investments were made to create and save jobs, spurring economic activity and long-term growth. As a result, communities and families had access to resources to help lay a stronger foundation for the future of our country. In fact, through USDA’s Single Family Housing Guaranteed Program, over 80,000 American families were able to purchase or maintain a home. Read more »

Under Secretary for Food Safety Shares Some Insight on the Humane Handling of Livestock

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is making significant changes this year to strengthen humane handling enforcement-making it a more objective, and less subjective, measure.

As a public health agency, FSIS is responsible for ensuring that America’s supply of meat and poultry products are produced both safely and humanely. USDA takes that responsibility seriously and is deeply committed to the humane handling of livestock as we strive to improve food safety efforts. Read more »

USDA Market News – the Eyes and Ears of American Agriculture

Since 1915, the Market Reporters of USDA have tracked and reported the markets for agricultural products on a daily basis, both domestically and internationally.  With hundreds of daily reports, Market News provides timely, reliable and unbiased information that helps facilitate the efficient marketing of agricultural commodities and helps to “level the playing field” by ensuring that all market participants have access to the same information at the same time.  The motto of Market News is: “Get it, Get it Right, Get it Out.”

USDA reports markets for fruits and vegetables, livestock and grain, poultry and egg products, dairy, and cotton and tobacco.  Reports cover sales at various levels in the marketplace, movement or shipments of product, and other key market factors such as demand and other impacts on the market at that moment in time.  Market reports issued by USDA are frequently relied upon for value determination in a wide range of applications.  These include price setting at the farm or nearby locations, dispute resolution, insurance settlements, loan appraisal, and as the basis in many contracts. Read more »

Alabama Landowner Grows Produce in Winter, Models Conservation Practices

l-r:  Earl Snell and James Currington inspect the tomatoes growing in Snell's hoop house.

l-r: Earl Snell and James Currington inspect the tomatoes growing in Snell's hoop house.

On a recent December day, Earl and Clarisse Snell, of Skipperville, Alabama, proudly showed off the summer squash and tomatoes they were still growing at the start of winter thanks to the seasonal high tunnel they built earlier in the year. Also called hoop houses, seasonal high tunnels look a lot like greenhouses but require no artificial energy source—all they need is natural sunlight to grow vegetables, fruits, and other crops. Read more »

Regional Effort for Economic Development Gets Underway in Louisiana

Representatives of five rural Louisiana regions participated with USDA Rural Development, Southern Rural Development Center, Louisiana Economic Development, and the AgCenters at Louisiana State and Southern University as they launched the “Stronger Economies Together” (SET) Program. This meeting was held at the LSU Agricultural Center located in Central Louisiana.

This kickoff starts the planning stage for the teams as they work together to develop new approaches to strengthen and enhance regional economic development activities in their communities. Stacey Brayboy, USDA Rural Development, Director of Community and Economic Development from Washington, D.C. was the keynote speaker. Read more »