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A Taste of the States with our Neighbors to the North

Secretary Vilsack talks with U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson and Chef Dino Ovcaric about the U.S. foods featured during the tasteUS! culinary showcase in Ottawa.

Secretary Vilsack talks with U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson and Chef Dino Ovcaric about the U.S. foods featured during the tasteUS! culinary showcase in Ottawa.

This week, I traveled to Ottawa to meet with Canadian trade group leaders as well as Gerry Ritz, the minister of agriculture in Canada. As part of these meetings, we discussed agricultural trade issues that both of our countries face and opportunities for collaboration. In between meetings, I had the opportunity to participate in the tasteUS! Culinary Showcase. This event took place at Ambassador Jacobson’s residence and guests included Canadian media, buyers from Canadian grocery chains and food establishments, and U.S. cooperator representatives in Canada. Read more »

Ambassador Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative, visits Maine to Highlight Job Creation through Agricultural Exports

 

USDA Rural Development State Director for Maine Virginia Manuel and Farm Services Agency State Director Donovan Todd (center) give Ambassador Ron Kirk a tour of the Bangor State Fair.

USDA Rural Development State Director for Maine Virginia Manuel and Farm Services Agency State Director Donovan Todd (center) give Ambassador Ron Kirk a tour of the Bangor State Fair.

Ambassador Ron Kirk, the US Trade Representative, who is traveling across the country to meet with local business leaders, workers and farmers, visited Maine earlier this month. The Ambassador spoke at several venues, including a Maine International Trade Center roundtable with Maine business leaders involved in international trade, about how fair trade can support well-paying jobs right here at home. He addressed a second roundtable with union representatives, fair trade activists, and agriculture associations, hosted by Rep. Michael Michaud of Maine’s Second District. He finished his visit by meeting Rural Development and Farm Service Agency staff in the Bangor State Office, a wonderful treat for our teams in Maine.

Read more »

ARRA Funds Help Keep Washington Farmers Afloat

A bad year forced Klickitat County farmer Kelly Kreps to choose between fertilizing his fields or paying taxes and insurance. Even though his operation suffered freeze-related losses, Kreps’s ranch didn’t qualify for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) disaster payments program. That was until last year’s stimulus legislation.

“The stimulus funds allowed us to pay our fuel bills so we could fertilize,” said Kreps, co-owner of Kreps Ranch LLC. “This money helped shore up our losses on the ag side of our business and kept us from having to sell a piece of property.” Read more »

The Essence of the Jamboree – It’s not about the numbers

Denny Mattison, US Forest Service, tells scouts how water from sudden rains can damage ecosystems (USDA Forest Service photo by Jerry Snyder.

Denny Mattison, US Forest Service, tells scouts how water from sudden rains can damage ecosystems (USDA Forest Service photo by Jerry Snyder.

For the USDA Forest Service, looking back at this landmark Centennial Boy Scout Jamboree is not about the numbers: it is about the heart of future generations and how they will see, understand, care for, and respect the natural resources. The agency has a longstanding history and partnership with Scouts, dating back decades. Scout troops, Districts and national groups like Arrow 5, a special Eagle Scout organization, donate thousands of volunteer hours in recreation and natural resource work on national forests and grasslands. Read more »

Carroll County, Virginia Observes “USDA Rural Development Day”

USDA officials and residents of Carroll County gather in front of emergency equipment and transportation equipment purchased with USDA support.

USDA officials and residents of Carroll County gather in front of emergency equipment and transportation equipment purchased with USDA support.

Under bright, sunny skies last Friday, hundreds of residents of Carroll County, Virginia turned out to acknowledge the support provided by USDA Rural Development. Working in conjunction with State and local governments, non-profit entities and the business community, USDA has infused well over $80 million into the area in recent years, and half of that was to improve water quality. Carroll County is located in the Southwest portion of the state, and the county seat, Hillsville, is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. Read more »

Forestry practice leads to a surprising discovery

Chestnuts have burrs, like this one, that make them impervious to predators; the spines can go through heavy leather gloves. Predators generally leave the nuts alone until the burrs open, revealing the nut within.

Chestnuts have burrs, like this one, that make them impervious to predators; the spines can go through heavy leather gloves. Predators generally leave the nuts alone until the burrs open, revealing the nut within.

This post is part 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

When Jack Lochhead looked into a federal government program to help him manage his 250 acres of forest land in rural Conway, Massachusetts, he had no idea that it would lead to a surprising discovery deep in the forest.

Through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, Lochhead sought technical and financial help to manage his land. NRCS staff suggested an oak regeneration project which calls for land around existing oak trees to be thinned to allow new oak seedlings to take hold. Read more »