Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Posts tagged: Louisiana

Presidentially-Declared Disaster Area Gets USDA Help to Provide Healthy Food to Local Residents

Fresh, local Louisiana produce, like this will soon be available at the new farmers market in Harrisonburg, thanks to a Community Facilities Grant from USDA. Photo by Karen Lawson, USDA.

Fresh, local Louisiana produce, like this will soon be available at the new farmers market in Harrisonburg, thanks to a Community Facilities Grant from USDA. Photo by Karen Lawson, USDA.

The Village of Harrisonburg, Louisiana, the 750-person seat of Catahoula Parish, will soon provide a centralized location for farmers to sell their fresh, healthy produce to its citizens and others in the surrounding area.  The Village received funding through USDA’s Community Facility grant program in order to provide a location for a farmer’s market in their town.

This farmers market project will provide an essential public service to a persistently poverty-afflicted area with an unemployment rate of 54.9 percent and a median household income of under $22,000, which is below the poverty level.  Catahoula Parish is a special emphasis parish as well as a 2008 presidentially declared disaster parish. Read more »

USDA Plant Breeding Community Strengthens Efforts

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 USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

The average consumer might not think about it, but for decades, USDA plant breeding research has been producing varieties that have been helping feed the world and preserve the environment. We know that you look for the plumpest, juiciest strawberries at your neighborhood market, so USDA plant breeding scientists worked to find the genes to make them taste even better.  And to help farmers in Northern climates produce more food for our tables, USDA plant breeding researchers developed corn that would mature early before the bitter cold arrived. This important work plays a significant role in our lives and USDA hopes to build on all these positive outcomes to make sure even more keep coming.  Therefore, to coordinate work on plant breeding and maximize the results from ever more limited resources, USDA formed a new Plant Breeding Working Group (PBWG) earlier this year. Read more »

Native American FFA Members Discuss the Future of Agriculture with USDA Officials

Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse (center) with Native American FFA Students: Hannah Nichols (left), Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana and Jessica Wahnee (Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Okla.) (right). USDA photo:  Bob Nichols.

Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse (center) with Native American FFA Students: Hannah Nichols (left), Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana and Jessica Wahnee (Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Okla.) (right). USDA photo: Bob Nichols.

The future of America is entirely about its youth. According to figures provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sixty percent of the farmers in this country are 55 years old or older. Will the next generation take over for their parents and accept a rural lifestyle?  What options are available for promising students, many of them minorities, living in economically challenged rural areas?

Last week, USDA welcomed two Native American members of the National FFA organization to the Agriculture Department for meetings with Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse, Arthur “Butch” Blazer, Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, and representatives of the USDA Office of Tribal Relations (OTR), including Director Leslie Wheelock.  FFA members Hannah Nichols (Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana) of Elton, La. and Jessica Wahnee (Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Okla.) of Morris, Okla. were in the capital for the FFA Washington Leadership Conference (WLC) and were accompanied by Kent Schescke, director of government and non-profit relations for the National FFA. Read more »

USDA, Helping Small Rural Businesses Grow and Create Jobs

Last month, I joined Secretary Vilsack in announcing National Small Business Week on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Louisiana. In support of rural small businesses, USDA announced several funding opportunities across the country for business owners to increase their capacity to hire new workers and expand their businesses. Small Businesses are the lifeblood of every community, but in a rural town one small business can mean the difference between a thriving main street and empty windows. This is why the work that USDA does on behalf of rural America is so important.

The state office for Rural Development is located in Central Louisiana where I met State Director Clarence Hawkins and his staff before we headed out to visit local businesses. The first stop was Consolidated Energy Holdings in Pollock. A variety of waste sources is produced by the company. Later, I had the opportunity to speak at the Cenla Small Business Appreciation Luncheon at the Central Louisiana Business Incubator in Alexandria. I was so inspired by the business incubator, which the city started as a workforce training facility for those with the desire to grow and expand their businesses. The incubator provides business owners with growth strategies, financing options, resources, and administrative support to name a few. There is an industrial kitchen available to use for food based business opportunities and specialty food producers. This incubator is the epitome of what small communities across rural America should be doing, making investments in their own citizens to foster job growth. Read more »

Endangered Mississippi Frog Finds a New Home

Pony Ranch Pond, a new home for the dusky gopher frog, is monitored by the National Forests in Mississippi and several cooperators. (Western Carolina University photo/ John A. Tupy)

Pony Ranch Pond, a new home for the dusky gopher frog, is monitored by the National Forests in Mississippi and several cooperators. (Western Carolina University photo/ John A. Tupy)

To most people, the sound heard near Pony Ranch Pond could easily be mistaken as snoring. To local conservation professionals, however, it was more like a song, signifying hope and celebrating a small victory for the nearly extinct dusky gopher frog.

In February, National Forests in Mississippi staff, researchers and volunteers discovered and documented six dusky gopher frogs at the De Soto National Forest pond. One frog, a 5-year-old female, had travelled nearly a mile from nearby Glen’s Pond – until then the only known site where the endangered amphibians live and breed. Read more »

One Guy’s Summer Jobs Experience with the Forest Service

Amy Merrit of Oso, Wash., and Kim Woodward of Darrington, Wash., work on maintaining the Pacific Crest Trail on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

Amy Merrit of Oso, Wash., and Kim Woodward of Darrington, Wash., work on maintaining the Pacific Crest Trail on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

If you’re a student who likes fresh air, scenic vistas, hiking and camping, the U.S. Forest Service might have the perfect job for you.

This year, some units of the Forest Service have been hosting one-day recruiting fairs that teach high school and college students how to apply for upcoming summer jobs with the government. Read more »