Fresh broccoli in bins at the Orange County Food Bank. With a Federal-State Marketing Improvement program grant, the California Association of Food Banks was able to dramatically expand its Farm to Family program and bring more nutrient-dense foods to area food banks. Photo courtesy Ron Ploof
Sometimes it can take a while to turn a good idea into a successful venture. At USDA, we understand the value of research, and by providing resources to get things started at the local level, we often see amazing results that have positive impact for farmers, agribusinesses and consumers across the country. Read more »
This morning at the Ohio Grown: Local Food Creating Local Opportunities conference at The Ohio State University, I had the pleasure of announcing that Ohio is the first state to join the interstate meat shipment program created by the 2008 Farm Bill. The program provides an opportunity for state-inspected meat and poultry processors to ship their products across state lines, helping these small businesses access new markets.
Before, state-inspected meat facilities like these were limited to selling their products within the state. This new program ensures that they meet federal food safety standards, which will be administered by state food inspectors and agriculture officials and overseen by USDA. Several small meat processors in Ohio plan to lead the way as the first state-inspected facilities in the country to take advantage of the program.
For example, Ben Fligner, owner of Great Lakes Smoked Meats in Lorain, is proud to be able to expand a business that produces 35 varieties of fully-cooked smoked meat products like andouille sausage, kielbasa, bratwurst and knackwurst. Read more »
June is National Homeownership Month, and at the U.S. Department of Agriculture we’ve spent the past few weeks highlighting the role housing plays in our small towns and rural communities.
With 50 million Americans living in rural America, access to quality, safe housing is an important factor to a high quality of life – and as homeownership in a community increases, there are also significant economic benefits.
By some estimates, the sale of an existing median-price home creates nearly $60,000 in economic activity; and that’s not including the extra job-creating potential of a newly-built home. Read more »
Water quality is monitored by volunteers with the Monday Creek Restoration Project. MCRP photo.
For nearly a century, the aquatic life that once thrived in the Monday Creek Watershed has been virtually dead. The goal of this Recovery Act project, known as “Devastation to Destination,” is to construct a healthy functioning riparian corridor, restore water quality, and create an integrated land management strategy resulting in species diversity among existing aquatic and wildlife habitats. It is located in Perry County between the towns of New Straitsville and Shawnee, Ohio. Read more »
ALB damage featuring tunneling and exit holes on cut trees
Imagining our communities without trees is hard to fathom. Unfortunately, there is an insect that threatens the trees we love – the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). It’s an invasive insect that feeds on certain species of hardwood trees, eventually killing them. Since its discovery in the United States, the beetle has caused tens-of-thousands of trees to be destroyed in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, and most recently in Ohio. Read more »
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (left) and Ohio Earth Team volunteer Alex Snyder in Zanesville, Oh., in Sept. 2009.
Graduate student Alex Snyder finds inspiration through the lens of his camera. While completing his graduate degree at Ohio University’s Office of Sustainability, Snyder found time to volunteer with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through its volunteer program, Earth Team. Read more »