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NRCS Gets on the “Goodfoot” with Organic Practices

Beth Hoinacki shows an aspect of her crop rotation and cover crop plan.

U.S. trends in organic farming point to a growing industry. USDA agencies like the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) support organic growers by offering funding and technical guidance—both to farmers already growing organic crops, and to those who want to transition to organic production. Read more »

USDA Officials Participate in African American Policy Forum in Mississippi

Mississippi Congressman Bennie G. Thompson moderates An America Built to Last: Jobs and Business Creation.

On Wednesday, June 13, the White House, in conjunction with Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hosted an African American Regional Policy Forum at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. This forum is part of an ongoing series of regional discussions held in communities nationwide. Each forum is intended to connect Administration Officials from a wide range of policy areas with African American civic, elected, and faith leaders to discuss issues critical to the African American community and the nation. Read more »

Organic 101: Role of the National Organic Standards Board

This is the sixth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is made up of dedicated public volunteers appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. It advises the National Organic Program (NOP), a part of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), on what substances should be allowed or prohibited in organic agriculture and recommends standards, policies, or guidance to help shape the organic regulations and the organic certification process.  Read more »

Extending the Season, Expanding Variety and Growing Locally

healthy plants growing in abundance under the protection of a high tunnel.

I remember when I first moved to Alaska, the only vegetable I ate was potatoes. Fruits and veggies were expensive and weren’t even fresh! Up here, produce is shipped or flown up from the lower 48, and by the time it gets to off-road communities it can be nearly rotten. Plus, the nutritional value of produce declines each day after picking. But now, the last frontier is seeing a paradigm shift in favor of flavor: high tunnels. Read more »

Collaborative restoration efforts on Colorado’s Hayman Fire landscape celebrated

Jugita Krilaviciute, left, works the soil during the Vail Resorts Hayman Restoration Project in the Trail Creek drainage on Thursday, June 2, 2011. The Vail Resorts Hayman Restoration Project is in the second of a three year, $750,000 partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and The Rocky Mountain Field Institute to restore lands damaged by the 2002 Hayman wildfire, the largest in Colorado's history. (Vail Resorts Photo/ Peter M. Fredin)

The Hayman Fire was the largest and most destructive wildfire in Colorado’s history.  On June 8, 2002, the fire began raging through the Pike National Forest, as well as state, county and private lands, burning a total of 137,760 acres. Read more »

Leveraging USDA Resources Has Positive Impact On Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate’s Economy

Pictured standing left to right: Sonya Lawrence – homeowner; Rural Development Area Specialist Roxanne Woodring; Rural Development Area Director Bruce Jones; Lincoln and Devola Bird and family - homeowners; JC Crawford - Native Homes (Contractor); Dustin LaFromboise and family – homeowners; Jasmin Zetina and family – homeowners; Homes Are Possible, Inc. Executive Director Jeff Mitchell; kneeling left to right: family of homeowner Sonya Lawrence (2 children kneeling at left); Angie Johnson - SWO Homeowner Program; Christina Eberhart - homeowner; Rural Development Area Specialist Janell Telin; and Robert LaCroix and family – homeowners….five of the families will have homes in the subdivision of Long Hollow on the SWO reservation and one family will have a home in Watertown.

I was honored to attend the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Annual Homebuyers Fair on June 20, 2012 in Sisseton, South Dakota.  Although the previous evening and early morning rain saturated the ground, it didn’t stop the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate from having a successful event. June is homeownership month, and  USDA Rural Development was on-site at the fair to remind rural residents of the opportunities to purchase, repair and refinance homes in rural areas. Read more »