Stakeholders meet with USDA staff in New York recently to discuss ways to use Rural Development programs to help small businesses create jobs and grow businesses. USDA photo.
Last month, USDA Rural Development’s Delaware – Maryland State Office and the State Office staff in New York hosted roundtable discussions on Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) availability. RLF programs are unique programs that provide funds to local and regional organizations to capitalize and operate revolving loan funds. Revolving loan funds are used to assist with business financing and economic development activities to create and/or retain jobs in disadvantaged and remote communities. As such, these are programs that have great potential for meeting USDA’s rural economic mandate in a time of scarce federal funding. Read more »
A statistician’s work is never done. Just as we are starting to wrap up data collection for the 2012 Census of Agriculture, interviewers representing the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) are already visiting thousands of farmers across the United States to find out their 2013 planting intentions.
While all of our surveys are important in their own right, the March Agricultural Survey stands out. For those not familiar with our reports, the Prospective Plantings is one of the most anticipated publications of the year. Commodity traders around the world wait for this report to give them an early indication of the upcoming year’s U.S. crop production. As a result, the information that producers report to NASS can impact business decisions of input providers, farmers, agricultural lenders and others, as well as commodity prices. Read more »
Baltimore’s Oliver Neighborhood is a mix of occupied and abandoned rowhouses. The U.S. Forest Service is working with partners to host the Carbon Challenge green building design contest, promoting sustainable and livable neighborhoods in Baltimore and Providence, R.I. (L.F. Chambers, U.S. Forest Service photo)
Depending on who you talk to, there are between 16,000 and 20,000 vacant homes in Baltimore. Once a mid-20th century boomtown where residents built the liberty ships and liberator bombers that helped win World War II, the middle-class dreams of this city have been in a decades-long decline. Entire blocks stand empty, lifeless veneers of boarded windows and burnt-out roofs.
But the U.S. Forest Service is working to help change that, promoting livable and workable buildings for 21st-Century occupants, while retaining the vibrant culture and community that once characterized these streets. Read more »
District Conservationist Nelson Brice and Kirby Wells discuss restoration plans for the 1,700 acre easement.
Kirby Wells knew that if he wanted future generations of Wellses to enjoy the family’s land on Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore, something had to change.
The 1,700 acres Wells’ grandfather had purchased in 1941, then drained and planted with loblolly pines was rapidly losing value. In 2006, the family’s sawmill business closed due to the decline of the housing market, and the pressure to sell to developers was on. Read more »
Benjamin Taylor of Taylor’s Produce in Preston, Maryland loads a bin of sweet corn destined for the Maryland Food Bank. Taylor’s produce donated nearly seven thousand pounds of freshly picked produce to the Food Bank including sweet corn, squash and cucumbers.
Recently I had a great opportunity to attend a meeting of Maryland’s Partnership to End Childhood Hunger. Led by Governor Martin O’Malley’s Office for Children, the Partnership “table” brings together state agencies, USDA, local non-profit organizations such as food banks, advocacy groups, and the private sector. Since November of 2008, the Partnership has focused its efforts on connecting individuals to federal nutrition programs and bridging the gap between eligibility and participation. Read more »
Three Fort Washington area students perform the song "Bugs Rock" from the musical "The Secret Garden" presented at Harmony Hall Regional Center. (Photo Credit: Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George's County)
The Forest Service and Missoula Children’s Theatre partnered once again for a special performance of the play The Secret Garden recently at Harmony Hall Regional Center in Fort Washington, Md.
“The Missoula Children’s Theatre and Forest Service partnership is a natural fit because so many of our important initiatives encourage children to discover and understand the natural world while developing healthy lifestyles,” said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “I enjoyed watching this fun show and seeing our local kids learn about nature.” Read more »