Taking action in Ohio for healthy kids. Photo credit: Joe Barbaree
I was recently invited to give a presentation at the 2nd annual Ohio Farm to School Conference. Conference organizers asked me to address the future of farm to school: where did we want to be in ten years?
By chance I’d asked a similar question of colleagues at Portland Public Schools a decade earlier. At the time, we were just starting to incorporate more local and regional products into the cafeteria and we thought a creative writing exercise would help us crystallize our goals and focus our work. Read more »
Tiger swallowtail on phlox. The Wayne National Forest People’s Garden includes a native prairie, shade and several pollinator gardens. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
Next time you’re in the Midwest and thinking of hiking, all-terrain vehicle riding, mountain biking or horseback riding, visit the Wayne National Forest in the hills of southeastern Ohio. It’s there you’ll find more than 300 miles of trails to do those things and much more. Read more »
As the USDA Rural Development State Director for Oregon, I’m aware of the significant economic benefits our programs have produced in partnership with rural communities, residents and businesses in every corner of my state. As I drove across the country during my recent vacation, I was curious to also see how visible the Agency’s support for place-appropriate, locally led efforts would be on my route from Oregon to Virginia. Knowing what to look for, I could easily identify the signs of rural economic and community development—even from my limited dashboard viewpoint—as I drove a transect path across the USDA Rural Development nationwide service area. Rural America accounts for 75 percent of the Nation’s land area, and that is where we work. Across the rural landscape, it is difficult, if not impossible, to find a community that hasn’t benefitted in some way from our support for affordable housing, business development, essential infrastructure, community facilities and clean, efficient energy. Read more »
President Barack Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the McIntosh family farm in Missouri Valley, Iowa, on Monday, August 13, 2012 to view the drought stricken crops. The federal government has already taken some steps to ease farmers whose crops are growing poorly this summer, and the administration plans to spend close to $200 million on livestock, officials announced earlier in the day. The Department of Defense is encouraging vendors to buy meat to ease the crisis. USDA photo by Dave Kosling.
USDA and other federal agencies continue to work to address the long term effects of last summer’s historic drought.
In the wake of a series of regional drought conferences with farmers, ranchers, business owners and other stakeholders, USDA is entering into a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Commerce, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to improve sharing of data and expertise, monitoring networks, and drought forecasting efforts. The MOU is a direct outcome of the regional conferences. Read more »
Farmer Doug Goyings examines the drought-damaged corn on his farm in Paulding County, OH on Tuesday, July 17, 2012. USDA photo by Christina Reed.
The 2012 drought dried up more than just crops. For many U.S. farmers, it also dried up savings, material resources, and perhaps saddest of all, hope.
“The drought of course impacted our crop yields tremendously,” said veteran Ohio dairy farmer Leon Weaver. “Corn yields were about 50 percent of normal. Dairymen are exiting this business in droves.”
But for Weaver and nearly one hundred other Ohio, Michigan and Indiana farmers who gathered recently in rural Henry County, Ohio, hope was a commodity worth trading as they shared, in roundtable fashion, their ideas on how to access resources and rise from the dust. Read more »
At The Wilds, visitors learn about conservation education and creating healthy landscapes. (Photo courtesy Shannon Wise, The Wilds)
One of the world’s largest wildlife conservation centers, The Wilds, is nestled among the rolling hills of southeastern Ohio’s Muskingum County. Uniquely, the safari park and conservation center is located on top of 14 square miles of reclaimed surface mined lands.
It’s on this reclaimed landscape that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and The Wilds have partnered together on a grasslands prairie project through a 3-year Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG). Read more »