“Out with the old, in with the new” isn’t the rule of thumb at Sand Creek Farm in Cameron, Texas. Ben Godfrey, the organic farmer who owns the farm, has used the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a conservation program administered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), to help increase the environmental benefits on his farm in Milam County. Read more »
In late May, two zoos in central North Dakota were hit hard by flooding. The disaster prompted the need for a swift evacuation of the animals. In Bismarck, the Missouri River threatened to submerge the Dakota Zoo and its 500+ animals under as much as seven feet of water, and in Minot the Roosevelt Park Zoo was a potential target of the rising Souris River, which runs directly through the city.
During the height of the flooding, APHIS’ Animal Care Program monitored reports coming from the zoos and kept abreast of river levels. Inspector Amy Jirsa-Smith contacted zoo officials regularly. She was on-site at both facilities, and helped corral some animals at the Dakota Zoo so they could be transported to other facilities. However, she is quick to point out that the zoo staff at both facilities, with the assistance of several cooperating state and local agencies, state veterinarians, four neighboring zoos and the National Guard, had everything under control. Read more »
Cross posted from the White House blog:
Just days after the White House launch of the Campaign to Cut Waste, an Administration-wide initiative to crack down on unnecessary spending, two federal agencies announced new progress in fighting fraud and cracking down on improper payments.
In a dose of bad news for criminals looking to take advantage of our seniors and defraud Medicare, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today they’ll be deploying innovative technology in the fight against Medicare Fraud. Starting July 1, CMS will begin using predictive modeling technology, similar to that used by credit card companies, to identify potentially fraudulent Medicare claims on a nationwide basis, and help stop fraudulent claims before they are paid. This initiative builds on the strides made with the Recovery Act to utilize the kinds of cutting edge tools used by the private sector — as well as new anti-fraud tools and resources provided by the Affordable Care Act. Read more »
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Vermont is going above and beyond to reach socially disadvantaged farmers in the Green Mountain state. FSA’s Vermont State Executive Director, Robert Paquin, cites the outstanding work of two Vermont-based FSA employees in particular—brothers Brad and Larry Parker—as key to Vermont FSA’s success in reaching new immigrants from Africa and Asia and helping them adjust to farming in northern New England. Read more »
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met face-to-face last week with about 40 farmers, ranchers and producers from Iowa and Nebraska impacted by flooding along the Missouri River. The Secretary promised the group he would stay until every question had been answered and every concerned voiced – and he did just that, engaging in a dialogue that lasted more than two hours. Read more »