Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan was invited to address the participants at the American Indian Higher Education Consortium’s 30th Annual Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota, earlier this week. During the presentation, the Deputy Secretary highlighted the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food effort. She outlined the critical connection between farmers and consumers and the importance of local and regional food systems to increase economic opportunity in rural America. In addition, Deputy Secretary Merrigan informed the audience that 50 percent of U.S. Department of Agriculture employees will be eligible for retirement by 2013. It is anticipated that many job opportunities and possibilities will become available. Therefore, USDA will be seeking college graduates with a variety of educational backgrounds to replenish its’ workforce. Read more »
More than 40 percent of the United State’s annual grain sorghum crop is exported, making access to international markets vital to the U.S. sorghum farmer. According to the U.S. Grains Council, grain sorghum is the third most important cereal crop grown in the United States and the fifth most important cereal crop grown in the world. The United States is the world’s largest producer of grain sorghum, followed by India and Nigeria. Sorghum has unique properties that make it well suited for food uses. Some sorghum varieties are rich in antioxidants and all sorghum varieties are gluten-free, an attractive alternative for wheat allergy sufferers. Read more »
NRCS District Conservationist Edwin Martinez conducts a wetland determination assisted by Earth Team Volunteer Tula Ngasala near St. Johns, Mich. Ngasala, a Tanzanian engineer, assists the St. Johns Field Office one day a week.
Tulakemelwa Ngasala is a Tanzanian civil and water resources engineer currently living in Michigan. While in the United States she is caring for her three young girls while her husband works toward his Ph.D. in geology at Michigan State University. Read more »
Fourth-grade teacher Theresa Artman sat her students in front of a large monitor in her Austin, Texas, classroom. But they weren’t alone.
The Joslin Elementary School students were just some of the thousands of children across the country who watched the April 13 webcast of PollinatorLIVE from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Tamberly Conway, a conservation education coordinator for the U.S. Forest Service hosted the show. Read more »
As I talk to farmers across the country, regardless of what they produce or where, they all share one common challenge: how to best move product from the farm to the marketplace. This is especially crucial for small and midsize farmers who may not have enough capital to own their own trucks, their own refrigeration units, or their own warehouse space. They might not have the resources to develop sophisticated distribution routes, build effective marketing campaigns or network with regional buyers and customers.
Without infrastructure, logistical and marketing support, these producers might be growing the sweetest strawberries or raising the most tender beef, but they lack the infrastructure support to get their exceptional products to your table. Read more »