U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Bioenergy Memorandum of Understanding is signed by wood energy partners (left - right) Biomass Thermal Energy Council, Executive Director Joseph Seymour; Alliance for Green Heat, President John Ackerly; USDA Deputy Agriculture Secretary Krysta Harden; Pellet Fuels Institute Executive, Director Jennifer Hedrick; Biomass Power Association, President and CEO Bob Cleaves, at the USDA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2013. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.
Earlier this week, USDA, U.S. Forest Service and partners took a major step to improve forest management, create rural jobs, prevent wildfires, and expand promising renewable energy opportunities.
Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden joined leaders from the Alliance for Green Heat, the Biomass Power Association, the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, and the Pellet Fuels Institute here in Washington for the announcement of a new partnership agreement. Acting as master of ceremonies for the signing event was Acting USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Doug O’Brien. Through the Rural Energy for America program and other programs, Rural Development has been a leader in promoting deployment of wood-to-energy projects. Read more »
A surreal blend of colors harkens at winter yet provides peaceful warmth to fall on the Nez Perce National Forest in Idaho. While some may feel fall colors signals the end of summer, others see it as the beginning of the rebirth of spring. (U.S. Forest Service)
What to see, when to see it, and where to see it is what the U.S. Forest Service 2013 Fall Colors web pages are all about — making the colors of fall that much easier to find, appreciate and understand.
The glorious colors that come with autumn across our nation should not be missed. From New Hampshire to Arkansas and from Alaska to Virginia, and nearly every state in between, the changing shades of leaves from green to brilliant reds, vibrant oranges and golden yellows is a must see. Read more »
New Jersey farmer Liang Shao Hua listens to NRCS technical advisor Frank Wu provide advice in Chinese Mandarin, Liang’s native language. His limited English proficiency restricted his exposure to USDA farm programs until Tropical Storm Sandy made it necessary for Liang to connect with the department for assistance. He is now an FSA loan recipient and appreciates the cost-share benefits of the Emergency Conservation Program funds that assisted his family’s clean-up efforts.
Disasters create pain. And recovery from disasters creates partnerships and opportunity.
That is the lesson Liang Shao Hua learned in the past year after Tropical Storm Sandy, also known as Super Storm Sandy, destroyed his New Jersey high-tunnel farming operation and left him wondering how to manage his loss.
Liang, a Chinese American with very limited English proficiency, relied first on his American-born son, Peter, a 21-year-old college student studying at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York. Peter obtained USDA paperwork from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) that helped his father apply for Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) funds. He, his brother, David, 19, and mother, Pei Yin, joined Liang in the clean-up efforts.
Liang Shao Hua was among 315 successful applicants for ECP, one-third from New Jersey. The applicants stretched from West Virginia to New Hampshire. That was the wide swath where Sandy and her trailing cold front left a path of destruction to Atlantic Coast and New England farms. Read more »
Rossie Fisher, co-owner of Brookview Farm in Manakin-Sabot, VA. March 8 is International Women's Day.
Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day. What better day to recognize the incredible achievements of women in agriculture?
Women have always played a key role on the farm or ranch. Traditionally, women often kept the books and ensured the solvency of the business while men ran the day-to-day production operation. Read more »
The U.S. Mint released a quarter honoring the White Mountain National Forest that covers approximately 750,852 acres in the northeastern U.S.
The wind-whipped peaks that tower above the tree-filled valleys of the White Mountain National Forest have been a symbol of wild America since well before the first New England colonies were established. Now, the natural beauty that has drawn visitors for centuries is featured on an America the Beautiful Quarter released recently by the U.S. Mint. Read more »
Last week, Molly Lambert, State Director of the Vermont Rural Development State Office, (RD) joined me in hosting the state’s first “Intermediary Relending Program and Creative Financing Roundtable.” Meeting participants, including leaders from Vermont’s economic and community development centers, met at the Vermont Economic Development Authority office located in Montpelier, Vermont.
The purpose of the meeting was to explore ways to promote the distribution of more than $5 million in funds to Vermont’s rural small business entrepreneurs using the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Intermediary Relending Program (IRP). These enthusiastic participants, who have keen insight into the state’s industries and barriers to capital, learned that working collaboratively will benefit all Vermont communities.
During the opening part of the meeting, staff from the Vermont USDA State Office gave the state’s Intermediary Relending providers updates on the administration of IRP loans. The session then moved to a discussion of trends, observations, and economic opportunities for the small businesses in their respective areas. Read more »