A team of USDA officials and Nebraska congressional and state representatives participated in the first ever Local Foods for Local Tables conference. The group got together with the common goal of promoting local foods. USDA Photo.
I was thrilled to join USDA colleagues at the first-of-its-kind “Local Foods for Local Tables” conference in Omaha, Neb., on Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. USDA Rural Development (RD) State Director Maxine Moul and the office of Congressman Brad Ashford led the effort to bring together groups and community members with the common goal of promoting local foods. Along with RD state leadership, the event featured Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Dan Steinkruger and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Craig Derickson, all of whom serve on the Nebraska State Food and Agriculture Council (SFAC). They brought together a panel of public servants who are experts in their field, as well as community leaders who are on the front lines of bringing fresh, healthy food to the American table.
With more than 150 people in attendance, there was tremendous energy in the room. The discussions were lively and the ideas inspired! For everyone sitting in the room – whether a volunteer gardener or a state conservationist – it was a great opportunity to learn about programs and initiatives right in their backyard that are supporting local and regional food systems. I had the privilege of serving as the keynote speaker during the luncheon, which was prepared using delicious, locally-sourced foods. I shared how my agency, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), plays a key role in providing technical assistance, awarding grants, and conducting research that contribute to ongoing efforts in Nebraska and across the country to strengthen local and regional food systems. Elanor Starmer from the Office of the Secretary also attended and talked about the Department-wide Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative to support local food. Read more »
Rural communities carry with them a long line of history. St. John’s Catholic Church in Table Rock, Nebraska was built in 1877 and is one of the oldest churches in Southeast Nebraska. The church has large murals covering the interior that were painted by a displaced immigrant from Russia in appreciation for refuge in the small community. He used his artistic talents to create on plain wallboard an illusion of marble walls, pillars, and curtains. Most striking is the large mural behind the altar. Some of the original pews and church furniture remain and the Church’s interior is as it was when used for religious services.
The Table Rock Historical Society and Museum, Inc. wanted to preserve the church’s history with the creation of St. John’s Catholic Church Museum where the art and beauty of the church could be admired. Read more »
The USDA mural displayed at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.
The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) has a new mural added to its collection at its new Nebraska Agriculture Industry Education Center. The USDA mural depicts the various projects that can be accomplished through the programs and funding offered through the USDA Mission Areas.
USDA Rural Development State Director Maxine Moul was in Curtis last week with the Dean of NCTA, Dr. Weldon Sleight, who gave her a tour of the mural and the Education Center. Moul serves as the chair of the Nebraska Food and Agriculture Council, whose membership includes the USDA agencies located in Nebraska. Coordinating the creation and installation of the mural were the USDA Agencies of Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Rural Development. Read more »
Front row: Mary Honke, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Dr. Greg Smith, President of Central Community College. Back row from left to right are: Dr. Jack Huck, President of Southeast Community College; Ryan Purdy, Interim President of Mid-Plains Community College; Dr. Todd Holcomb, President of Western Community College; State Director Maxine Moul; and Dennis Baack, Executive Director of the Nebraska Community College Association.
Local colleges and USDA Rural Development are combining resources to improve the availability of higher education in rural areas. This increased emphasis on continuing education will bring a stronger work force to Nebraska. Read more »
Rural development officials from Hatay Province, Turkey were in the United States recently to learn about USDA Rural Development programs at the national level and in Nebraska. Hatay Governor Mehmet Celalettio Lekesiz, Hatay Rural Development Agency Director Savas Ozgursoy and four agency staff were on the delegation tour.
Turkey will soon be joining the European Union and Hatay is one of the 20 Turkish provinces chosen for the first phase of EU assistance to support the establishment of a rural development agency. Hatay is in southeast Turkey, bordering Syria and on the Mediterranean Sea. The first settlement goes back to 40,000 to 9,000 BC when the main city of Antioch was founded by one of Alexander the Great’s generals. Read more »
Flexible fuel pump
USDA Rural Development Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul joined the Nebraska Ethanol Board, Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Energy Office on May 6, 2011 in York, Nebraska at the Aurora Cooperative for a media conference to discuss the need for flexible fuel pumps. Also, the importance of the use of ethanol blended gasoline in Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV) was discussed with gasoline retailers. The Obama Administration has set a goal of establishing 10,000 more flexible fuel pumps in the next five years along with a national security goal (RFS 2) of using 36 billion gallons of biofuel per year by 2022. Local residents and fuel retailers pulled FFV cars up at the Coop’s flex fuel pumps to fill their tanks with the ethanol blended fuels gas. Read more »