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Market News Report Aims to Bring Transparency and Pricing Information to Tribes

To help meet the needs of Tribal Nations and provide transparency and pricing information, we recently developed the National Tribal Grown, Produced or Harvested report. Pictured here is a Native American Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe youth tending to a rice crop on the Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota

To help meet the needs of Tribal Nations and provide transparency and pricing information, we recently developed the National Tribal Grown, Produced or Harvested report. Pictured here is a Native American Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe youth tending to a rice crop on the Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota

According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, there were 71,947 American Indian or Alaska Native farm operators in the United States in 2012, accounting for over $3.2 billion in market value of agricultural products sold.  Tribal Nations were identified as one group that is an underserved segment of agriculture, and USDA Market News is answering the call to provide them with the commodity data they need.    

USDA Market News – part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) – assists the agricultural supply chain in adapting their production and marketing strategies to meet changing consumer demands, marketing practices, and technologies.  USDA Market News reports give farmers, producers, and other agricultural businesses the information they need to evaluate market conditions, identify trends, make purchasing decisions, monitor price patterns, evaluate transportation equipment needs, and accurately assess movement.  Read more »

What’s the Alternative?

Prescription Bottle

Prescription Bottle

We know that antibiotics are those miracle drugs Alexander Fleming stumbled upon in the 1920’s when his lab was left untidy. Since that happy accident, scientists have identified additional naturally-occurring antibiotics and developed synthetic drugs to add to our arsenal to combat bacterial infections.

So we’ve had bacteria, through their need to survive, learning how to develop resistance to naturally occurring antibiotics in the environment for eons; long before we started purposefully adding more antibiotics to the mix. So though we need antibiotics, it would be really nice if we could find ways to rely on them less. Read more »

Digitally discover your public lands using the new Forest Service Visitor Map

Visitor Map screenshot shows a sampling of Yonder images from national forests and grasslands throughout the country. (U.S. Forest Service.)

Visitor Map screenshot shows a sampling of Yonder images from national forests and grasslands throughout the country. (U.S. Forest Service.)

There are few better ways to plan your get away on a national forests or grasslands than to use the Forest Service’s online Visitor Map. With thousands of recreation areas, roads and an increasing number of trail systems, you can digitally explore and plan your next adventure from home before you even hit the road.

 With recently updated features, finding the perfect forest or grassland location is easier than ever. 

Read more »

Returning Veterans Put Down Roots with USDA

USDA Rural Business Services Administrator Sam Rikkers enjoys a honey crisp apple from Leffel Roots Orchard in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

USDA Rural Business Services Administrator Sam Rikkers enjoys a honey crisp apple from Leffel Roots Orchard in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

After 21 years of dedicated service in the United States Air Force, Jim and Laura Leffel looked to establish their “forever home.”  Both natives of the Midwest, they moved to a small farm south of Eau Claire, Wisconsin to plant their roots, quite literally.  Laura and Jim are now owners of Leffel Roots Apple Orchard, a 40 acre property that includes 2,500 apple trees and an on-site store where they sell bakery items, jams, cider, honey and more.

With the help of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Leffels will be able to expand their product lines further.  Last month, I visited their orchard with Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind to announce the Leffels were among 325 recipients of Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) funding totaling over $45 million.  Read more »

Advocacy and Outreach – Keys to Success in Serving Farmers, Ranchers and the Future of Agriculture in Underserved Communities

Ribbon Cutting for the Socially Disadvantage Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center at Alcorn State University

Ribbon Cutting for the Socially Disadvantage Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center at Alcorn State University

Day in, day out, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) brings programs to many farmers and ranchers as well as opportunities to students. As I meet with farmers, ranchers and USDA interns, a sense of great appreciation and anticipation wells up for the future of agriculture. One of the USDA offices that serves these farmers and students is the Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO). OAO staff connect with farmers, community organizers, veterans, educators and students to bring opportunities and services.

OAO works with community-based organizations to ensure access to USDA programs and services for underserved and limited-resource communities and farmers. A major program is the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program).  Forty-five projects from organizations representing 25 States were awarded $8.8 million in 2016. This included a second year of $400,000 for the Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center at Alcorn State University. Read more »

Proud to Serve My Country

Commander Fred Cheng and Lieutenant Rob Reeves participate in an ensign raising ceremony at Resolute

Commander Fred Cheng and Lieutenant Rob Reeves participate in an ensign raising ceremony at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sept. 11, 2015.

When USDA recognized the men and women who served our country at the annual USDA Veterans Day Observance, it was a special day for me. That’s because the observance, held Oct. 27, 2016, was my first as a USDA employee since returning from a Navy individual augmentee deployment to Kabul, Afghanistan in December of 2015.  

It has been more than a year since I answered the call to mobilize. Saying goodbye to your family and friends is never easy. Leaving my job at USDA was not easy, either. But I have no regrets answering that call to duty because for me– and for my fellow USDA employees who are still serving in the reserve or guard — we have great support from family, friends, and coworkers.    Read more »