Value Added Producer Grant recipients in Vermont will use USDA support to increase on-farm production of dairy products. (Photo taken by a USDA employee)
It was a snow day in New England, but up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, in the little town of Hardwick, several people were gathered at the VT Food Venture Center, a local food incubator, to sign USDA Value Added Grant papers for the new businesses they are starting up.
The Michaud family of East Hardwick is launching Kingdom Creamery of Vermont, LLC. out of their newly finished processing facility on their dairy farm. They are producing ice cream, yogurt and a soft serve mix for local retailers. They received a USDA Value Added Producer grant for working capital purposes for marketing, processing and purchasing packaging and production inventory. Read more »
These male turkeys (toms) lived on a golf course near a New Hampshire airport, and were tracked by wildlife biologists to study their habits and movements. The tom on the right wears a tag and transmitter that helps APHIS Wildlife Services biologists monitor his habits and movements. USDA Photo by D. Bargeron.
USDA wildlife biologists in New Hampshire have been hard at work keeping wild turkeys out of harm’s way. Read more »
October has arrived which means cooler days, fall foliage and continued opportunities to hike on Forest Service trails. Families and friends enjoy hiking together, whether a person uses a wheelchair, is pushing a young child in a baby stroller, or they are looking for more controlled grades to enjoy together on trails that comply with the Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines. People with and without disabilities enjoy recreating together. When one person in a group has a need for an accessible facility, the entire group seeks to recreate at that accessible facility together.
Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. Read more »
The Keene, New Hampshire YMCA has been operating for 125 years in this town of 22,563 residents. A few years ago, Jack Duggan of Monadnock Economic Development Corporation mentioned to me that the Y was looking toward its future and a new facility. And so the links in the chain started to build toward bringing a new Y to Keene and surrounding rural communities.
Scott Johnson, our Community Facilities and Business Programs Specialist and I met with key people from the Y, as well as Keene’s Mayor and City Manager. The Y’s board membership is made up of local leaders and business owners including the area’s largest employers. The board launched an awareness campaign, and organized a 45-member volunteer committee that eventually raised the largest not for profit fundraising campaign in the region’s history. Read more »
FNCS Under Secretary Kevin Concannon looks at the new dish machine bought with ARRA funds at Walker Elementary School in Concord, NH.
Providing our children safe and nutritious meals at school is a key priority for the Obama Administration. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) helped meet this goal through its $100 million investment in local school systems to enhance the nutritional quality of school meals. This funding went towards the purchase of new kitchen equipment for thousands of schools across America participating in the National School Lunch Program . Priority was given to schools that have at least 50 percent of the students eligible for free or reduced-priced meals. Read more »
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visited with the students, faculty and administrators at the University of New Hampshire as part of USDA’s ‘Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food’ college tour.
Deputy Secretary Merrigan had the opportunity to learn about current research efforts from staff at UNH’s College of Life Sciences and Agriculture including research on strawberry genomics conducted by Thomas M. Davis, Professor, Department of Biological Sciences.
The strawberry genomics research program at UNH is engaged in basic and applied research aimed at understanding the structure, evolution, and expression of the strawberry genome, and at the development of novel strawberry germplasm. Their goal is to provide the knowledge and tools needed to serve the coming era of marker-assisted breeding of strawberry and other specialty crops. Marker assisted breeding is a technology that relies upon DNA fingerprinting techniques to identify plants with superior genetic constitutions, yet involves no “genetic modification” of the plant itself except that achievable via the conventional breeding techniques of cross pollination and variety selection.
Over the past year, an international consortium of researchers has self-assembled around the goal of generating the first strawberry genome sequence. The effort is formally led by the laboratories of Vladimir Shulaev (Virginia Bioinformatics Institute) and Kevin Folta (University of Florida), but involves intensive efforts by many laboratories both within and outside the U.S, including the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station.
The subject of this sequencing effort is the yellow-fruited variety, ‘Hawaii 4’, of the Alpine strawberry, Fragaria vesca f. semperflorens. ‘Hawaii 4’ differs from the commonly cultivated strawberry in two important ways. One is its distinctive yellow fruit.
By Aaron Lavallee, USDA Communications Coordinator