Easy to build, maintain and move, high tunnels provide an energy-efficient way to extend the growing season and provide fresh food for local communities. NRCS photo by Jason Hughes.
Janet Mahala runs an organic farm nestled in a small valley in the Tennessee Appalachian Mountains. Last year she started a Community Supported Agriculture membership program on her farm. Shortly thereafter she expanded production with a high tunnel which has extended her farm’s growing season by several months. Read more »
The citizens of Fort Yukon are predominantly Alaskan Natives who live a subsistence lifestyle, relying on fish from the Yukon River as one of their main food sources. The community is not accessible by road and all supplies are either barged in during the short summer or flown in at extreme expense. An entire year’s fuel supply for the village’s vehicles, heating and power is held in a 750,000 gallon tank farm. Read more »
Rural Americans face many unique challenges – and every day, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides assistance to help grow American agriculture and increase opportunity for rural communities. Unfortunately, 90 percent of America’s persistent poverty counties are in rural America–and we can’t allow these areas to be left behind. This week, USDA is further expanding a program to partner with rural communities and regions on projects they support to promote economic growth. Through this initiative, known as the StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity, USDA helps communities leverage their resources to access programs, promote economic development and create more jobs. Read more »
Elvis d’Agrella visits with some of his regular weekly customers at the Conroe farmers market. Customers are welcome to fill small white buckets with an assortment of fruits and vegetables for an average cost of $4.
‘Valley Girl’ and ‘Celebrity’ are just two of the sought-after tomato varieties sold at Elvis d’Agrella’s farmer’s market stand in the summer. And now his weekly customers can purchase those tomatoes well into the winter, because he and his wife, Pat, have constructed a seasonal high tunnel at their PEAS Farm outside Conroe, Tex.
“Our goal was to produce as much of the vegetables that you see here growing in the winter time that you would normally see growing in the summertime,” says Elvis. Read more »
For years, Asifoa had been using vetiver grass to control erosion on his steep cropland fields, which are typical in American Samoa. In 2009, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service gave him funding to continue planting and propagating this grass around his 10.4-acre property. He even helped the American Samoa Soil and Water Conservation District propagate the vetiver for other farmers to use. Such vegetative barriers have since become one of the standards for controlling erosion in steep farming situations in American Samoa.
Asifoa also received funding to construct new dry-litter piggery facilities. He typically has 80–100 pigs at any given time and, prior to building these facilities, he washed manure out of the pigs’ stalls, causing a runoff of nutrients into nearby streams and ponds. Read more »
Charlie Masters grew up on the farm he and his wife Rose Ann now own in Mays Lick, Ky. When Charlie and Rose Ann bought it from Charlie’s father, John, in 2006, the farm needed some work, but the couple was up for the challenge.
She and her husband are always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to improve the farm for their cattle—and for themselves.
Because Charlie continues to work as an aircraft salesman, Rose Ann knew that she would be the one most involved with the day-to-day operation of the farm, with its 35 head of Charolais cattle. A former teacher herself, she signed up for training, and now has her Master Cattleman Certification. Rose Ann and Charlie also came to rely on USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Read more »