A stop during my recent visit to Ohio was the historic North Market located in downtown Columbus.
The North Market successfully addresses the needs of small and local businesses for retail space, and provides local, healthy and sustainably grown and processed food for consumers. Over one million customers annually have the opportunity to sample and purchase a tremendous array of local products including fruits and vegetables, meats, baked goods, ethnic foods, seafood, wines, ice cream and many other products. Read more »
Dr. Shirley Heymon-Parker and Dr. Ralph Nobel at at the North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in Greensboro, NC
Throughout the country, many schools and communities are teaching the importance of environmental stewardship, energy conservation, and reducing waste through innovation and creativity. I came across one of these places recently at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in Greensboro, NC, the nation’s largest Historically Black College. Their School of Agriculture and Environmental Science has embraced the Obama Administration’s commitment to protecting the air we breathe, water quality, and land that supports and sustains us. Read more »
As Associate Administrator of USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), one of my duties is to lead all-employee meetings with the Agency’s field offices across the country. During my travel, I often visit local projects and success stories in agriculture that have connections with USDA projects. Recently, I visited one of RMA’s outreach partners in Raleigh, North Carolina— the Longview School and Inter-faith Food Shuttle.
RMA is funding this unique urban agriculture project through a current partnership agreement with the North Carolina Farm Transition Network. The project, in coordination with Patrick Faulkner, Longview FFA Chapter, and Sun Butler of Inter-faith Food Shuttle, provides hands-on training for students and the community on managing risks associated with gardening and horticulture, improving health, building collaborations, reducing hunger, and potentially, enhancing career skills related to the local food system and the food value chain. As a part of this project, Mr. Faulkner has taken students to on two field trips for educational purposes: A national workshop on growing food at Growing Power in Milwaukee, Wis., with Will Allen, and a trip to Washington, D.C., for the National FFA Leadership Conference. Read more »
Pictured, from left to right: student Barbara Clark Franklin; USDA Risk Management Agency Associate Administrator Barbara Leach; and Elizabeth Wattley, Director of Servant Leadership at Paul Quinn College
As the Associate Administrator for the Risk Management Agency, I visit our offices in all parts of the country. My recent trip to Dallas, Texas, provided an exciting look at a truly amazing agricultural program and astonishing new ideas at Paul Quinn College. Read more »
USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) working together have made great strides in making acreage reporting simpler for farmers and ranchers. The Acreage and Crop Reporting Streamlining Initiative (ACRSI), seeks to reduce the reporting burden on producers submitting data to USDA.
In listening sessions with producers last year, FSA and the Office of the Chief Information Officer found some common themes emerged: Read more »
As Administrator of USDA’s Risk management Agency (RMA), I want to assure affected producers within the flood-swollen areas of the Missouri River that this flood event is covered by crop insurance for those insured farmers and ranchers within the terms and conditions of their policy. The flood happening now is the result of extraordinary amounts of rainfall this spring and winter snow runoff, which is a natural cause of loss and covered by crop insurance. We’ve spoken with the crop insurance companies and they assure us that they have adequate, experienced staff along with additional adjusters as needed to help settle claims as soon as they can get into the fields.
Some farmers have contacted RMA and voiced concerns that the flooded lands may not be covered by crop insurance if there was breach of a water-supporting structure near their land, such as the collapse of a levee, but this is the type of coverage farmers have paid for with their crop insurance premiums. Read more »