A passion for agriculture is what brought 50 young farmers to the Washington, D.C., area this week, as part of a national networking forum for the next generation of producers.
“We want to let young producers know that their voice is important and they shouldn’t be hesitant or bashful about communicating with policymakers,” said Gordon Stone, executive vice president of the National Young Farmer Educational Association, or NYFEA, which sponsored Agriculture’s Promise: The Washington Forum.
Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse joined several speakers on day two of the three-day event — held Monday, Feb. 4 at National Harbor — to provide an overview of the Farm Service Agency, Risk Management and Foreign Agricultural Service and encourage discussion about USDA’s programs and policies. Scuse mentioned a new microloan program designed to help small and family operations, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers secure loans under $35,000. Microloans will help producers through their start-up years by providing needed resources and helping to increase equity so that farmers may eventually graduate to commercial credit and expand their operations. Scuse also spoke about the importance of communicating effectively with rural America. Read more »
During a brief but busy trip to Oregon Monday, January 28, Agriculture Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager highlighted opportunities to increase public-private collaboration and innovative financing models for rural community and economic development. That morning, Mr. Tonsager delivered the keynote address at the Harvesting Clean Energy conference in Corvallis. Later that day in Portland, Mr. Tonsager sat down with a diverse group of business, technology, education, agriculture, finance and state government representatives to stress the importance of inter-entity teamwork to achieve a common vision for a self-sustaining, prosperous rural America.
“Our mission is to help create jobs in rural America,” Mr. Tonsager explained. “We are looking for creativity, especially as it relates to putting capital together for rural areas so that we can extend our resources further in a thoughtful, sensible way.” Read more »
Last week, the Department hosted several members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) at USDA headquarters in Washington to highlight the findings of a new report, Promoting Growth in All Regions, that says investments in rural places are vital for aggregate national economic growth and in many cases, such investments have found that rural regions have, on average, enjoyed faster growth than urban regions.
For an OECD policy brief that outlines the report’s findings visit this link.
In this time of economic challenges, the United States and other members of OECD cannot leave significant growth opportunities in rural regions untapped. The authors of the OECD report are in Washington this month to launch the report and urge policy makers not to overlook this reality when crafting economic policy for the country. Read more »
Today, farmers and ranchers have less than three weeks to return their Census of Agriculture – and at USDA, we hope that everyone who can get their response back to us as soon as possible.
Currently underway by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, the Census collects detailed data covering nearly every facet of U.S. agriculture. It’s the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation, and this year’s Census will provide USDA current information as we work to support American agriculture and build up the rural economy.
Accurate statistical data regarding our rural areas is important as we work hard at USDA to design effective programs and deliver quality service, even as we work to streamline operations and reduce our budget footprint. Read more »
A new year means a new outlook, a fresh beginning and an opportunity to make the new year better than the last. Here at USDA we are gearing up for all that 2013 has to offer. As we prepare for what may lie ahead, let’s take a look at some of USDA Rural Development’s most memorable accomplishments of 2012.
Check out what made our “Top 8 Accomplishments List”; Read more »
Over the course of 2012, farm families and rural communities faced a number of challenges. A record drought impacted much of the country and many were impacted by a major hurricane, flooding and severe storms. However, thanks to the resilience of rural Americans, our communities are still going strong.
Over the course of this year, USDA continued our record efforts to help folks across our nation, and I am proud of the work we carried out.
We supported agriculture. This summer, USDA convened the White House Rural Council to help America’s farmers and ranchers overcome drought. We provided unique flexibility for crop insurance that saved producers more than $20 million, expanded emergency lending for producers, opened more than 2.8 million acres of conservation land for emergency forage and more. Read more »