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Iowa Senator Visits Wiota Wind Energy Project Receiving USDA Rural Development Funding

An American flag flies next to a new wind turbine, funded in part through USDA support. USDA photo.

An American flag flies next to a new wind turbine, funded in part through USDA support. USDA photo.

Recently, U.S. Senator Tom Harkin got an up-close look at Iowa’s newest community-owned wind turbine.  With an American flag snapping in the breeze, he marked the project, the investors and the opportunity for wealth creation via renewable energy in a town of 116 in southwest Iowa. Read more »

USDA Deputy Under Secretary Butch Blazer at Forest Products Lab for Important Wood-to-Energy Roundtable

Arthur “Butch” Blazer, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, paid a visit to the U.S. Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wis., recently to convene an important roundtable discussion on wood-to-energy concerns in Wisconsin and the Midwest.

Among the participants were wood scientists and technology transfer authorities from FPL and Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, representatives from the logging and paper industries, academics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Resource Center, state natural resources officials, and other national and regional Forest Service officials. Read more »

Communities on the Move Video Challenge Winners Announced

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

The winners of the Communities on the Move Video Challenge have been chosen!  Since First Lady Michelle Obama announced the Video Challenge in February, Let’s Move Faith and Communities has been inspired by every congregation and community that submitted a video highlighting how they are promoting healthy lifestyles for kids.  From putting on nutrition-themed puppet shows in Connecticut to advocating for safer play spaces in Colorado and preaching healthy living from the pulpit in Florida, the ideas in these videos demonstrate the commitment that communities across the country have to reversing the trend of childhood obesity within a generation.

The Video Challenge encouraged faith-based and neighborhood organizations to create one-to-three minute videos highlighting the work they are doing to make their communities or congregations places of wellness. The challenge recognized efforts that promote healthy lifestyles for kids in three areas: encouraging nutritious eating through USDA’s MyPlate icon, increasing physical activity, and ensuring access to healthy, affordable foods. The winners and honorable mentions will be invited to Washington, D.C. for a Let’s Move! event. Read more »

New Marine Shipping Container Report Sheds Light on Available Opportunities

The Ocean Shipping Container Availability Report. The weekly report provides a snapshot of shipping equipment that is available at 18 different intermodal locations. Photo courtesy of Port of Los Angeles.

Access to market information is a critical component in the success of any business. This is the case in the agricultural export industry, where locating available marine shipping containers is often difficult.  For many in this industry, finding available containers can be like searching for buried treasure.  To make the search easier, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) developed the Ocean Shipping Container Availability Report (OSCAR).  Read more »

AgrAbility Helps Farmers Continue Working

NIFA’s AgrAbilty Project recipient uses modified lift to transfer from wheelchair to tractor.  Photo credit:  National AgrAbility Project at Purdue University.

NIFA’s AgrAbilty Project recipient uses modified lift to transfer from wheelchair to tractor. Photo credit: National AgrAbility Project at Purdue University.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report issued in June 2011 there are 4,861,000 people with disabilities in the workforce, and 3.3 percent are involved in agriculture and related industries. In addition, a 2010 report from BLS predicted that between 2008 and 2018 the most jobs lost by people with disabilities will be among farmers and ranchers. Read more »

South Dakota’s Top Chef is Job Corps Educator Too

Boxelder Job Corps certified culinary essentials educator, Dave Levesque, center, works with culinary arts students, Trevor Robertus, left, Mathew McGirr and Duanna Martin, right, as they create cherry puffs with chocolate sauce on June 1. Levesque was chosen as Chef of the Year for the American Culinary Federation's South Dakota Chapter. (Rapid City Journal Photo/ Tim Appel)

For the past eight years, students in the Boxelder Job Corps Center culinary arts program have benefited from chef Dave Levesque’s wide-ranging cooking experiences.

Located in the Black Hills National Forest near Nemo, the Boxelder Job Corps Center has 24 students in its culinary arts curriculum, which is one of 10 different trades taught at the school. Read more »