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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Views Recovery Act Project that Improves the Environment and Creates Jobs in Maryland

Secretary Vilsack meets with construction workers at the Berlin plant site.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is providing construction jobs across the nation.

Secretary Vilsack meets with construction workers at the Berlin plant site. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is providing construction jobs across the nation.

The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visited the town of Berlin, Maryland, Monday to check up on the upgrades that are taking place to improve the Berlin Wastewater Treatment Plant. Secretary Vilsack is the highest-ranking federal official to visit the town since Franklin D. Roosevelt was there in the 1930s.  The Secretary spoke to the people of Berlin in front of the Atlantic Hotel about the status of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The technology that the Town of Berlin is installing as a part of that act was made possible thanks to a grant and some low interest Water and Environmental Program loans from the USDA. These upgrades will help to remove the pathogens, nutrients and other pollutants from the influent.  The renovation and expansion that the USDA is funding will increase the capacity at the plant to 750,000 gallons each day and make the facility compliant with current Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Standards.  The Secretary said that these upgrades will save or create over 65 jobs in our area. Read more »

A Wisconsin Apple Orchard Saves Energy and Money Thanks to a USDA Grant

Apples like these are produced in Wisconsin orchards

Apples like these are produced in Wisconsin orchards

Helene’s Hilltop Orchard, LLC, a family destination and small business in Merrill, Wis., was recently selected as a recipient of a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Renewable Energy for America Program Grant. A $19,750 grant will be used to help lower the energy costs of running their rural business. Read more »

USDA Transition Program Gives Hope to Young and Old Alike

Taylor Grabanksi, a 23-year-old beginning farmer, and Rose Potulny, a 92-year-old landowner, in Walsh County, N.D

Taylor Grabanksi, a 23-year-old beginning farmer, and Rose Potulny, a 92-year-old landowner, in Walsh County, N.D

When Taylor Grabanksi, a 23-year-old beginning farmer in Walsh County, North Dakota, heard about the Farm Service Agency’s Transition Incentive Program (TIP) he knew this was a program he wanted to check out. Read more »

Part Two: “Building In” a Balanced Response to Climate Change … and Being Acountable

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

USDA Forest Service Participates in Annual National Public Lands Day

The USDA Forest Service will join the public this Saturday, Sept. 25, for National Public Lands Day – the largest, annual, hands-on nationwide volunteer effort to improve America’s public lands. National Public Lands Day is coordinated by the National Environmental Education Foundation with the support of the Forest Service and other federal agencies.

The event focuses on educating the public about the importance of natural resources and the need for shared stewardship on the land. Volunteer activities include: planting trees and vegetation, building and refurbishing trails, removing trash and invasive plants, repairing bridges, restoring historic structures, monitoring endangered species and restoring habitats. The Forest Service has over 80 project sites to date for volunteer initiatives across the country.

Faith and Food Equal Fun and Nutritious Eating in Oregon

Cross posted from the Know Your Farmer Know Your Food blog.

The Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon (EMO) is a statewide association of Christian denominations, congregations, ecumenical organizations and interfaith partners. Their comprehensive efforts around food started in 1994 with a mission to promote community food security among faith communities. Aided by a USDA Community Food Projects Grant in 2005, EMO started the Interfaith Food and Farms Partnership (IFFP). Read more »