Patrick Graham, State Director, The Nature Conservancy in Arizona (left) and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday near Phoenix. The Secretary announced that 115 projects across all 50 states, will receive more than $370 million in Federal funding as part of the new USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program. NRCS photo.
When USDA unveiled the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program last year, I said that this effort would pioneer a new era of conservation. As of today, the program is doing just that—leveraging an unprecedented three-quarters-of-a-billion dollar investment in projects to preserve clean land and water and create new jobs across the country.
One of the innovative programs in the 2014 Farm Bill, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program brings a wide variety of new partners together—from private businesses, to universities, to local and Tribal governments, to non-profit organizations and more—to develop their own action plans and to pledge their own resources to the project. Local organizations are in the driver’s seat, setting priorities and developing conservation projects that make sense for their communities. Read more »
Drum roll please…. The long anticipated winners of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Recipes for Healthy Kids competition were announced this morning by Secretary Vilsack.
USDA and the First Lady launched the Recipes for Healthy Kids competition last September, challenging kids, nutrition professionals and community members to dream up healthy recipes to be incorporated on lunchtime menus for the National School Lunch program. The contest is a component of the First Lady’s broader Let’s Move! initiative that also includes Chefs Move to Schools, which encourages chefs to work with schools in their communities. Read more »
The Farm Service Agency will begin accepting nominations for local county committees beginning Wednesday, June 15. The nomination period — which runs through Aug. 1 — allows farmers and ranchers to nominate themselves or others as candidates to sit on the local county committee and help make important agricultural decisions.
Secretary Vilsack is urging all farmers and ranchers, especially minority and women producers, to take part in this year’s county committee elections by nominating candidates by the August 1 deadline. County committees are an important link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and give landowners, farmers and ranchers a better chance of having their opinions and ideas heard. If county committees are to reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, minority and women farmers must take time to get involved by nominating themselves or a candidate they feel will represent their interests. Read more »
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appears on RFD TV in Nashville, TN, with RFD News Director Mark Oppold, on Monday, May 23, 2011. USDA Photo.
After a great event yesterday morning on the Obama Administration’s efforts to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, Secretary Vilsack headed to RFD-TV for a live show titled, “Homegrown Energy, Fueling America’s Future.” With an in-studio audience of about 275 people and others watching live, the Secretary kicked it off by talking with RFD-TV host Mark Oppold about how we need America to be a country that makes, creates and innovates. He talked about USDA programs and rural America’s ability to meet our country’s energy needs through renewable energy. Read more »
Administrator Judy Canales is joined by Missouri State Director, Janie Dunning and Kansas State Director, Patty Clark as they tour the ICM-Lifeline Foods Cellulosic Ethanol Pilot Plant in St. Joe, Missouri.
President Obama and Secretary Vilsack have developed a national strategy for job creation and economic vitality through investment in green energy technology and businesses. USDA Rural Development can now help finance flex-fuel pumps through its Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP). Administrator Judy Canales saw those two initiatives intersect when she toured the new ICM pilot cellulosic ethanol facility in St. Joseph, Missouri. Read more »
Celebrity chef and author, Art Smith, joins Sesame Street’s Elmo in a healthy and affordable cooking demonstration during the unveiling of a new Sesame Street Workshop initiative, Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget. This free bi-lingual (English-Spanish) multimedia outreach initiative, with funding and partnership support of UnitedHealthcare and The Merck Company Foundation, is designed to help support families who have children between the ages of two and eight, cope with uncertain or limited access to affordable and nutritious food. The event took place at the Capital Food Bank in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, December 7, 2010. Photo credit: Gil Vaknin/Sesame Workshop
There was plenty of warmth and goodwill keeping a bitterly cold Washington morning at bay as I joined the folks at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, at today’s rollout of their Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget, multi-media outreach initiative. The educational outreach materials are designed to help support families with children between the ages of two and eight, by nurturing their overall development through good nutrition to create positive outcomes that will last a lifetime. The campaign is aimed at the nearly one in four American children–seventeen million, based on our own USDA Food Security Report estimates–who don’t get the food that meets basic nutritional needs due to difficult economic or social conditions. There couldn’t be a more appropriate time, given our current economic circumstances, or a more fitting place to have the discussion than on Sesame Street, the best known street in the world, with Elmo and friends, some of the best known characters in America. Read more »