When Mike Sullivan met a 30-year-old beginning farmer, he never thought it would launch a relationship that would influence an entire African-American farming community in the Cane River region of Louisiana.
“Sometimes good things can come out of a not-so-good situation,” said Sullivan, farm loan manager in the Natchitoches Farm Service Agency (FSA).
That’s what happened the day Thomas Roque, Jr., walked into the Natchitoches FSA County Office. Roque was hoping to get a loan to purchase calves to raise and sell for profit on his family’s 800-acre farm, purchased by his great-great grandparents in 1916. But things didn’t work out as easily as he hoped. Read more »
Last month I spoke to food bank leaders at the Feeding America Central Region conference, which was held in Baton Rouge, La., and hosted by the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. Attendees came from over 20 states to strategize about meeting the challenges of these tough economic times. Feeding America’s food banks help supply thousands of food pantries and emergency food sites across the U.S. and are among the many charitable organizations working hard to figure out ways to deal with decreased donations and a higher demand for food.
I told the group that it’s important that they continue to get the word out to food bank clients that USDA nutrition assistance is available to folks who meet the eligibility standards. Programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Women Infants and Children program (WIC) still provide critical aid to individuals and families that may experience food insecurity. I also reminded them to encourage parents in their communities to enroll their children in school lunch and breakfast. School meals help ease the burden on families to provide three meals a day to the children in their households. Read more »
I didn’t know there was a museum devoted to southern food until our regional administrator, Bill Ludwig, was notified that he had been selected to receive their inaugural Humanitarian Award for Public Service. The Southern Food & Beverage Museum is appropriately located in New Orleans, where food is definitely an art form!
Southwest Regional Administrator Bill Ludwig holds the inaugural Humanitarian Award for Public Service, which was presented to him by Liz Williams, president and director of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum in New Orleans, La.
When I asked museum president and director Liz Williams about the inspiration for the award, she said, “We wanted to create an award that reflects that public service and being a humanitarian can work hand in hand. We wanted a person who had long service, who was doing good, and who was doing that good just because, and not to get recognition. We considered others, but Bill rose to the top.” Read more »
Here at USDA, we work every day to help American farmers. It is important to us to hear how we are doing and how we can improve, and that is why I was happy to have the chance to speak with a group of local producers in Louisiana recently.
These Rural Roundtable sessions are being held across the country by senior Administration officials on behalf of the White House Rural Council to explore ways federal, state and local officials can work together to improve economic conditions and create jobs, and to increase awareness of USDA programs and services. Read more »
Recently, about 150 people came out to show their support for the new Hampton Inn & Suites of Marksville at their grand opening in Avoyelles Parish in Louisiana. USDA Rural Development State Director Clarence W. Hawkins joined Thomas G. Christopoulos (owner) along with representatives from Cenla Chambers of Commerce; Daniel Decuir, Marksville Mayor Pro Tem; and other dignitaries to introduce the new 77 room hotel to the city. The hotel will provide an estimated 15 new jobs for area residents.
“Rural Development will continue to invest in the development of our rural communities throughout the State of Louisiana,” said State Director Hawkins. This new hotel will impact the Town of Marksville by creating jobs, furnishing accommodations for the overflow of visitors and it is the first brand name hotel to come to Marksville, Louisiana. Read more »
How do you turn biting, stinging, pantry raiding, picnic ruining pests into pollinating, irrigating, aerating, fertilizing, ecosystem balancing helpers? … By educating as many people as possible about the role of bugs in the environment.
One of the responsibilities of the U.S. Forest Service is to inform the public about the value of insects in helping to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands.
With many people either afraid of or grossed out by bugs, changing their negative image is a challenge. However, a partnership between the Forest Service Southern Research Station and Kent House, in Alexandria, La., is demonstrating a growing public interest in insects. Read more »