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Rural Development Funds Effort to Give Local Louisiana Growers and Customers a New Market

Ford’s Food Center - Winnsboro Pictured from left are: Quinon and Gretchen Ford, the owner's of Ford's Fine Food, admiring the affordable cabbage for sale at 39 cents each that was grown and purchased from a local producer.

Ford’s Food Center - Winnsboro Pictured from left are: Quinon and Gretchen Ford, the owner's of Ford's Fine Food, admiring the affordable cabbage for sale at 39 cents each that was grown and purchased from a local producer.

Recently, I was afforded the opportunity to travel with Jared Hicks, USDA Rural Development’s Business and Cooperative Specialist, to attend the grand opening of a new 19,500 square-foot grocery store in Winnsboro, Louisiana.  It was an exciting and happy day for the community residents on the south side of Winnsboro and surrounding towns. Local residents, Chamber of Commerce representatives, and community leaders all were out to celebrate the impressive day-long opening of Ford Food Center. Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) a retailer-owned cooperative and one of the largest wholesale grocery distributors in the United States had staff on-hand to provide assistance for this occasion. Read more »

Virtually Redefining Internships at USDA

Dora Flores, Dairy Programs Virtual Intern Program Team Lead, communicates with Daman Wandke.  On May 7th, Wandke was invited to participate in a White House ceremony honoring “Champions of Change” within the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math for people with disabilities in education and employment.

Dora Flores, Dairy Programs Virtual Intern Program Team Lead, communicates with Daman Wandke. On May 7th, Wandke was invited to participate in a White House ceremony honoring “Champions of Change” within the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math for people with disabilities in education and employment.

The definition of “being in the office” or “being on the clock” is changing.   Most organizations—government or private—have a multi-generational workforce that may or may not be in the same location. Our team alone has four generations with varying comfort levels in using different technologies. Through our virtual internship program, we have strengthened our ability to work seamlessly regardless of physical location. Read more »

Walking for the Health of It (or Let’s Move! Federal Employees)

Food and Nutrition Service employees Jackie Garrett, right, and Angela Mathis, left, inquire about the price of grapes at a produce stand at the Dallas Farmers Market.

Food and Nutrition Service employees Jackie Garrett, right, and Angela Mathis, left, inquire about the price of grapes at a produce stand at the Dallas Farmers Market.

Dallas is home to a number of regional offices of federal agencies where we are all busy working to accomplish our various missions. Sometimes we get the opportunity to reach across departmental lines and work with our peers in other agencies. Recently, some of us walked right out of our office buildings and joined forces to promote a healthy lifestyle for federal employees. Read more »

This Travel Season Take a Drive Through the Volcanoes

Welcome to the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway All American Road.

This 500-mile byway celebrates the spectacular scenery of the volcanic landscapes between Lake Almanor in California and Crater Lake, Oregon.

Along this journey from volcano to volcano you’ll find opportunities for adventure, exploration, communion with nature and an appreciation for the culture and history of the region. You’ll also find residents eager to share the beauty and mystery of this land that is dotted with evidence of an eruptive past. Read more »

Roots Planted for the Farm Service Agency

Six.

That’s the total number of name changes the Farm Service Agency has seen since its birth in 1933. With each change came new responsibilities, new programs and new incentives for farmers and ranchers to produce affordable food and fiber for U.S. consumers.

The 1929 stock market crash combined with the dust bowl of the 1930s merged into the Great Depression, which created high levels of unemployment and a long list of farm failures. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected, promising Americans a New Deal. FDR stated in a speech that “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself.” Read more »

Hands-On Ag Education at the USA Science and Engineering Festival

How do you get tent caterpillars and termites to follow a circle on a piece of paper? Paint the circle with pheromones.

This was one of the many cool facts that kids and adults learned perusing the USDA exhibits at the USA Science & Engineering Festival this past weekend.   I joined thousands of people during this three-day event designed to revive interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and promote careers in those fields. Read more »