Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Adding Up the Little Things in Paktika, Afghanistan

Forward Operating Base Sharana, Paktika, Afghanistan – Since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began building up its corps of civilian agricultural experts from 11 in 2009 to 60 in 2010, USDA’s focus in Afghanistan has shifted from small-scale development to large-scale capacity building. Greater resources has allowed USDA and our U.S. government partners to help build and train a team of Afghan agricultural extension workers that bring better tools and technologies to farmers in rural areas – much like our extension service in the United States. In southeast Afghanistan, in a volatile province called Paktika, six teams of Afghan agricultural trainers and extension workers are leading a variety of low-cost projects that are uniting communities and growing agricultural production and diversity. Read more »

In Illinois, Pulling from the Past to Push the Future

Costumed guides, along with Larry the mule, were part of the tour of the Canal Corridor Association’s mule-pulled canal boat.  Tour participants from right to left are Centrue Bank Vice President Doug Patterson; Samantha Warren, regional director for Rep. Debbie Halvorson; Canal Corridor Association President Ana Koval; Business and Cooperative Programs Administrator Judith Canales, and Illinois State Director Colleen Callahan.

Costumed guides, along with Larry the mule, were part of the tour of the Canal Corridor Association’s mule-pulled canal boat. Tour participants from right to left are Centrue Bank Vice President Doug Patterson; Samantha Warren, regional director for Rep. Debbie Halvorson; Canal Corridor Association President Ana Koval; Business and Cooperative Programs Administrator Judith Canales, and Illinois State Director Colleen Callahan.

The Canal Corridor Association, headquartered in LaSalle, Ill., has recaptured the past to build for the future, and a USDA Rural Development Business & Industry loan guarantee is helping them do it. Read more »

Bringing fresh, local, healthy food to communities

USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon poses with one of the many Maryland farmers (no name available) selling fresh produce at the Crossroads Farmers’ Market in Tacoma Park, Maryland, Wednesday October 13.

USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon poses with one of the many Maryland farmers (no name available) selling fresh produce at the Crossroads Farmers’ Market in Tacoma Park, Maryland, Wednesday October 13.

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time at the Crossroads Farmers Market in Takoma Park, Md.  The market’s motto is, “Bringing fresh, local, healthy food to individuals of all incomes and backgrounds,” something we consistently support at the USDA.  Just last week Crossroads received a $50,724 grant from The Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) to spread this message throughout a network of markets in Maryland, and I enjoyed seeing all the enthusiasm there on a glorious day in October. Read more »

A Few Spaces Still Open for Producers to Register for Free Renewable Energy Event in Knoxville, Tennessee

Space is filling up, but there are still a few openings available for landowners, farmers, producers, ranchers, and foresters who plan to attend the Renewable Energy Biomass Education Field Days event in Knoxville, Tennessee, from November 16-18.  There is no registration fee and a limited number of travel scholarships are available. This event is designed as an education Field Day—a hands-on opportunity for producers to gain practical, science-based information about implementing biomass-based renewable energy technologies and  making decisions about implementing renewable energy technologies in their respective operations. Read more »

Partnership with USDA and Leaders in Animal Health Science will Address the National Shortage of Large-Animal Veterinarians and Technicians

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon joined Cheryl Cook, Deputy Under Secretary for USDA Rural Development in St. Joseph, Missouri late last month to announce an agreement that is the first step to addressing a nationwide demand for more large-animal veterinarians and veterinary technicians. Read more »

Tennessee Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Clinic Gets New Home

FNS Deputy Administrator for Special Nutrition Programs Audrey Rowe talks about the importance of the Women, Infants, and Children Program during a ceremony at in Clarksville, Tenn.

FNS Deputy Administrator for Special Nutrition Programs Audrey Rowe talks about the importance of the Women, Infants, and Children Program during a ceremony at in Clarksville, Tenn.

There is new hope for more families in Clarksville, TN thanks to a larger WIC clinic opening to service expectant and new mothers and their children. WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, provides Federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk I had the opportunity to go to Clarksville, Tenn., near Fort Campbell, Ky., to participate in a ceremony announcing the renovation of a portion of the Montgomery County Health Department which will now be a new “WIC Wing”.  The current WIC facility located several miles away is at capacity and the 10,000 square feet of new space will allow the Montgomery County Health Department to expand and serve new families and will improve WIC Program access.  Because of the co-location, WIC participants will also be able to take better advantage of other health services. Read more »