Dan Forgey has always had an abiding respect for the land that he’s farmed for more than 40 years, which is why, as manager of the 8,500-acre Cronin Farms in Gettysburg, South Dakota, he strives to build soil health—and yields—sustainably. First, he shifted the farm to 100 percent no-till in 1993. Then in 2006, after spending years developing diverse crop rotations, he received a grant from Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, a USDA-funded grants and outreach program, to test the introduction of cover crops into his system. This move has given him higher yields with fewer inputs, and therefore better profits. Read more »
Lying in the heart of Mid-America and the historical crossroads of two US highways, Macon, Missouri is a city with a rich cultural heritage and strong vision for the future. Macon offers the amenities of a small friendly city with the advantages of a growing city. History acknowledges the fact that in 1872 a man named John Beaumont, a real estate man and promoter, donated 10,000 young maple trees in payment of taxes of $116.00 to the City of Macon. Now Macon is known as the “City of Maples” with over 275,000 maple trees.
As the senior population increases yearly, the Senior Center of Macon saw an increasing need for nutritious meals to be provided to the older residents. Plans were made, blueprints were drawn, and the search for funding was begun in earnest. Read more »
Our commitment to American Indian and Alaska Native leaders, members, and communities is one of great importance to the Obama administration and to me as USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. This past fall, the White House concluded its second Tribal Nations Conference which provided a venue for tribal leaders to engage in dialogue with high-ranking officials on a wide range of social, economic and political challenges facing Indian country.
I would like to continue the dialogue and invite tribal leaders or their delegated representatives to formally consult on how we can improve the health and nutrition of our children in Indian Country. Read more »
More and more these days we recognize that clean water is one of the most important products of our forests. Forest lands are the source of nearly two-thirds of water in the 48 contiguous states — the clean water that fills our rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands, sustains our fisheries, or flows from the taps of our homes and businesses. Forests serve as a living sponge to capture, store and slowly release precipitation as well as trapping and transforming the chemicals and nutrient deposits that come in the rain or from adjacent runoff. All the benefits that forests provide—like erosion and sediment control, maintenance of water quality, regulation of flows, and provision of clean drinking water—are called ecosystem services, and in this case can be called watershed services. Read more »
The saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. In this same context, it takes all of us working together to feed hungry children, especially in the summer months when even more of our nation’s kids go without proper nutrition. The government, however, cannot solve this challenge alone.
Over 20 million children receive free or reduced-price lunch during the school year through USDA’s National School Lunch Program. For many of them, school meals are the only complete and nutritious meals they consume, and in the summer, many simply go without. It is USDA’s goal to ensure that no child in the U.S. goes to bed hungry. But to accomplish this, we need the community’s support. Read more »
Recently, I joined USDA, Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook, employees of The Progress Fund, and several of their loan recipients for a funding announcement under Rural Development’s Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). RMAP was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill and the program is already helping many small rural businesses. Under the program, funds are provided to an intermediary who “re-lends” to entrepreneurs. Deputy Under Secretary Cook announced that The Progress Fund, in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, has been awarded a loan and a grant through the program. The Progress Fund has made more than 97 microloans in rural areas. It is expected the assistance provided by this funding will help create or save over 22 jobs. Following the announcement, we all enjoyed products from Emerald Valley Artisans, including a test sample of the new Hills Tavern Blue cheese. Read more »