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Afghan Farmers Turning Mines to Vines

Convincing Afghan grape growers to cut off 11 of the 13 canes on each grape vine was not an easy task for Afghan extension agents in the Roots of Peace organization. This process, known as trellising, ultimately leads to bigger, healthier grapes, as the farmers soon learned. In its first year implementing this Food for Progress (FFPr) program, Roots of Peace convinced 18 farmers to utilize their technical assistance. After this, participation in the program took little convincing: 180 farmers sought their help in the second year, and over 3000 are signed up for this year. Read more »

A Fun Family Day, the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone Way!

“This a great exhibit!” a family commented as they toured the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone at the Illinois State Fair last weekend. “This truck is great, I learned a lot of things I never even knew before, wattages and temperatures. Heck, I always over cooked my chicken, now I won’t!” Read more »

The Recovery Act in Your Community: A New Era in Flood Control

Glen Jean, West Virginia experiences repeated flooding to homes, businesses and roads, creating a hazard to health, property and the environment.

Glen Jean, West Virginia experiences repeated flooding to homes, businesses and roads, creating a hazard to health, property and the environment.

Thanks in part to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), property owners in the Glen Jean, West Virginia, area can voluntarily relocate from homes that repeatedly flood. The Dunloup Creek Watershed Voluntary Floodplain Buyout Project allows landowners to sell their property and move to safer homes, funds the removal of the structures and returns the land to a natural floodplain. The city of Mt. Hope or Fayette County will take possession of the land. Read more »

Five Years After Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, USDA Continues to Assist Gulf Residents

Samantha Hills and her children spent the last five years living with relatives. Using funds provided through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act she now owns her own home. Here, she holds the key to her house. August 24, 2010. (by John Audibert, USDA Rural Development)

Samantha Hills and her children spent the last five years living with relatives. Using funds provided through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act she now owns her own home. Here, she holds the key to her house. August 24, 2010. (by John Audibert, USDA Rural Development)

Cross-posted from the White House Blog

Devastation caused five years ago to the Gulf region by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita remains historic in proportion. It resulted in loss of life, families being displaced, homes and businesses destroyed, and communities left in ruins.  In the midst of this great tragedy, USDA Rural Development lent their knowledge and time to assist in the immediate hours following the passing of the storms.  It was a new, but critical role of supporting other Federal agencies in swiftly establishing 80 disaster recovery centers; assisting local residents and leaders as they faced unparalleled adversity. Read more »

USDA Reminds Producers That the Conservation Reserve Program General Sign-up Ends on Friday

USDA’s commitment to conservation was shown recently when Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the first general sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in more than four years.  Secretary Vilsack has told Farm Service Agency Administrator Jonathan Coppess that he expects the agency to keep enrollment near the limit set in legislation to maximize the benefits from the program.  FSA’s mission is to enroll approximately 4.5 million acres in the current general sign up in order to keep the total CRP enrollment close to 32 million acres.  However, the general sign up ends this Friday, Aug. 27, so FSA is making a last-minute appeal to all prospective participants to contact their county offices to complete their sign ups before time runs out. Read more »

USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager Discusses New Rural Economy at Shenandoah Valley Virginia Agriculture Conference

From Left to Right is:  Todd Haymore, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture, Congressman Robert "Bob" Goodlatte of the 6th Congressional District, Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager and Dave White, Chief of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service.

From Left to Right is: Todd Haymore, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture, Congressman Robert "Bob" Goodlatte of the 6th Congressional District, Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager and Dave White, Chief of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia’s 6th Congressional District hosted an Agriculture Conference at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton on Tuesday August 24th. The Conference covered many regional and local agricultural issues and concerns to Virginia farmers and those interested in farm policy. Read more »