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Endangered Birds Benefit from Wetlands Reserve Program

By Ron Morton, Assistant State Public Affairs Specialist, Athens, Georgia

In the 1930s, a rural Georgia wetland was drained to help control the spread of malaria. As the land dried, water-loving wildlife like the endangered wood stork had to find a new home or perish. Eventually, the land became dry and tillable and was converted to farmland. Read more »

USDA Deputy Under Secretary Promotes Business Development in Ohio

By Michael Jones, Ohio USDA Public Information Coordinator

Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur invited USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl L. Cook to attend a district sponsored USDA Resource Fair earlier this month. Cook and about 90 business owners, agricultural growers, local community leaders and residents gathered to evaluate available financial and technical assistance resources at multiple events in the Toledo and Huron County area. Read more »

Help Shape USDA’s Renewable Energy Survey Program

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.

By Joe Reilly, Associate Administrator, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

I grew up on a small farm near Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, where my family – like many others across the United States – helped provide the food and fiber to build and sustain America. Visiting these types of farm communities today there is a distinctive change on the rural horizon from when I was a child – the presence of wind turbines, solar panels, ethanol plants, and other bioenergy tools and resources. Read more »

USDA Rural Development Kicks off “F5″ Campaign in Washington State with Elbow Grease at Thurston County Food Bank

Story and Photos by Phil Eggman, USDA Rural Development, Washington State Office

Donating a little bit of time can go a long way to making a big difference for people. Just ask the employees of USDA Rural Development in Washington State who, on July 13, donated two hours of their time at the end of a hectic day to make food packages for the elderly, young mothers, infants and children at the Thurston County Food Bank located in downtown Olympia. Read more »

Traveling Across the Great Plains of South Dakota

By Tammi Schone, USDA Rural Development Public Affairs Specialist, South Dakota State Office

South Dakota State Director Elsie M. Meeks and Don Harris, Outreach Initiative Team Leader, National Office (Washington, DC) logged over 1,400 miles traveling across the state in mid June, reaching out to local residents to talk about how our programs help repair homes, make homes more energy efficient, and locate an affordable housing residence or safe and sanitary housing apartment building we helped fund.  In addition, they participated in the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Housing Fair held in Sisseton, SD. While promoting the vital importance of homeownership in a community, they were able to witness firsthand the integrity, dedication, hard work and perseverance homeowners possess in vying for their first home, making repairs, or acquiring an apartment. Read more »

A School Nutrition Tour of California’s Central Coast

By Dr. Janey Thornton, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services

Recently I spent a wonderful day touring California’s Salinas and Pajaro Valleys.  My gracious host, Congressman Sam Farr, and I started with the most important meal of the day: breakfast.  We visited Rancho Cielo Youth Campus, which has a culinary academy for at-risk youth, where Chef Adrienne Saldivar-Meier—who visited the White House last month as part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Campaign—served us egg and sweet potato scrambler on lettuce, a fruit/vegetable muffin, and milk.  Chef Adrienne also gave us an engaging nutrition lesson: for example, instead of wrapping our filling with a tortilla, which may have about 110 calories, we can use a lettuce leaf, a food with close to no calories.  We all enjoyed a nutritious breakfast that met the USDA standards for the School Breakfast Program while discussing ways to bring more fresh produce into school nutrition programs. Read more »