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Posts tagged: Department of Commerce

Making California and Minnesota a Magnet for New Jobs

While many manufacturing companies provide well-paying jobs and play a vital role in creating vibrant, healthy rural communities, sometimes rural communities may struggle to attract these companies. To help bridge this gap, the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) was created. This Administration-wide effort brings together federal departments and agencies to provide coordinated assistance to communities to become more attractive for manufacturers.

Recently, USDA hosted two IMCP events in Minnesota and California with diverse audiences of about 120 stakeholders representing manufacturing businesses, lenders, economic development organizations, universities and community colleges, small businesses development centers, and local leaders among others. At both meetings, USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Lillian Salerno led panels of federal partners that discussed the initiative and sought input on the needs of local manufacturers. Read more »

USDA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Enter into Agreement to Improve Drought Weather Forecasting

President Barack Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the McIntosh family farm in Missouri Valley, Iowa, on Monday, August 13, 2012 to view the drought stricken crops. The federal government has already taken some steps to ease farmers whose crops are growing poorly this summer, and the administration plans to spend close to $200 million on livestock, officials announced earlier in the day. The Department of Defense is encouraging vendors to buy meat to ease the crisis. USDA photo by Dave Kosling.

President Barack Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the McIntosh family farm in Missouri Valley, Iowa, on Monday, August 13, 2012 to view the drought stricken crops. The federal government has already taken some steps to ease farmers whose crops are growing poorly this summer, and the administration plans to spend close to $200 million on livestock, officials announced earlier in the day. The Department of Defense is encouraging vendors to buy meat to ease the crisis. USDA photo by Dave Kosling.

USDA and other federal agencies continue to work to address the long term effects of last summer’s historic drought.

In the wake of a series of regional drought conferences with farmers, ranchers, business owners and other stakeholders, USDA is entering into a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Commerce, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to improve sharing of data and expertise, monitoring networks, and drought forecasting efforts.  The MOU is a direct outcome of the regional conferences. Read more »

From Futile to Fertile: Midwest Farmers, Federal Partners Address Drought

Farmer Doug Goyings examines the drought-damaged corn on his farm in Paulding County, OH on Tuesday, July 17, 2012. USDA photo by Christina Reed.

Farmer Doug Goyings examines the drought-damaged corn on his farm in Paulding County, OH on Tuesday, July 17, 2012. USDA photo by Christina Reed.

The 2012 drought dried up more than just crops. For many U.S. farmers, it also dried up savings, material resources, and perhaps saddest of all, hope.

“The drought of course impacted our crop yields tremendously,” said veteran Ohio dairy farmer Leon Weaver. “Corn yields were about 50 percent of normal. Dairymen are exiting this business in droves.”

But for Weaver and nearly one hundred other Ohio, Michigan and Indiana farmers who gathered recently in rural Henry County, Ohio, hope was a commodity worth trading as they shared, in roundtable fashion, their ideas on how to access resources and rise from the dust. Read more »

In New Jersey, Neighbors Helping Neighbors Recover from Hurricane Sandy

U.S. Forest Service employee Jordon Sanders from Harlan, IA., waits for military aircraft to drop off more supplies in response to Hurricane Sandy at the Republic Airport in Farmingdale, NY, on Thursday, Nov 1, 2012. USDA photo by Dave Kosling.

U.S. Forest Service employee Jordon Sanders from Harlan, IA., waits for military aircraft to drop off more supplies in response to Hurricane Sandy at the Republic Airport in Farmingdale, NY, on Thursday, Nov 1, 2012. USDA photo by Dave Kosling.

When Hurricane Sandy was forecast to hit the east coast a little more than two weeks ago, no one would have imagined all the devastation and destruction the storm would leave behind.  In days leading up to the mandatory evacuation of our coastal areas, many residents wondered if this would be a false alarm similar to last years’ evacuation, when Hurricane Irene came barreling through many of our towns.  Although Irene caused considerable power outages, flooding and wind damage up and down the Garden State, nothing can compare to Sandy. Read more »

Regional Drought Workshop Held in Arkansas to Discuss Long Term Recovery Effort

Thomas Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs at the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, joined Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture V.O. “Butch” Calhoun, along with USDA and other federal, state and local officials on October 17th for a regional workshop to outline resources available to assist with drought recovery efforts.  The meeting was held at the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff campus.

Over 150 participants, including stakeholders, discussed the drought’s effects on water quality and quantity, forestry, community and economic impacts, and agriculture and agribusiness.  Currently, more than two-thirds of the country is affected by the drought. Participants in the meeting offered thoughts on developing a new framework for cooperation among local, state and federal partners when it comes to drought recovery, and shared ideas about how to establish long-term relationships at all levels in these communities.  Collaboration, coordination and communication were the themes during the meeting. Read more »

Regional Drought Workshops Give Stakeholders an Opportunity to Learn About Resources

Deputy Thomas  Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs at the Economic Development Administration (left); Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar (right), and Colleen Callahan of USDA prepare for the morning session at the drought conference. USDA photo.

Deputy Thomas Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs at the Economic Development Administration (left); Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar (right), and Colleen Callahan of USDA prepare for the morning session at the drought conference. USDA photo.

Over 100 attendees joined Thomas Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs at the US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration and Colorado Agricultural Commissioner John Salazar at the second of four regional workshops to outline resources available to assist with drought recovery efforts. The Colorado regional workshop was held at the state fairgrounds in Pueblo earlier this week. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is partnering with tribes, local, state and federal partners to hold the workshops. Federal partners include the Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

With over two-thirds of the country in drought, recovery efforts are underway and a new framework for delivery is being developed.   Collaboration, coordination and communication were the prevalent themes at the Colorado workshop.   These efforts will be needed at all levels of government and our ability to work together is crucial. Read more »