May 2nd dawned a majestic spring day in the Rocky Mountains of southwestern Colorado as rural and tribal stakeholders from the Four Corners region descended upon the San Juan National Forest Headquarters to learn more about USDA’s StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity Initiative. Participants traveled from New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and the east coast to discuss strategies to help USDA deliver its programs more successfully in persistently poor rural areas. Read more »
In recent months, the Federal budget has dominated the conversation here in Washington. At the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we have been working hard on mission critical priorities, even as we implement mandatory across-the-board budget cuts.
The good news is that our proactive efforts to cut costs have saved more than $828 million in recent years, putting us in a better position to deliver important programs.
But we also have not lost sight of a key requirement for these programs to continue: passage of a comprehensive, multiyear Food, Farm and Jobs Bill. Read more »
Secretary Vilsack renewed an historic agreement to accelerate the adoption of innovative waste-to-energy projects & energy efficiency improvements on U.S. dairy farms
Cross posted from The Huffington Post:
U.S. dairy producers are leading the way in productivity and innovation when it comes to sustainable practices. Earlier this afternoon, I joined Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy CEO Tom Gallagher to renew an historic agreement with the dairy industry to lower greenhouse gas emissions and to accelerate the adoption of innovative waste-to-energy projects on U.S. dairy farms which help producers diversify revenues and reduce utility expenses on their operations. Today’s extension of the Memorandum of Understanding is an acknowledgement of the dairy industry’s legacy of stewardship and its ongoing commitment to improve our farms. Read more »
On a recent trip to Wisconsin, USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager had an opportunity to revisit a specialty cheese plant in Montfort, Wis. that he had helped to establish about ten years ago.
In 2002, the Wisconsin Farmers Union hired a cheesemaker and took steps to begin the start-up of a specialty cheese plant in Montfort, Wis. to add value to milk produced by Wisconsin dairy farmers and to create the WI Farmers Union Specialty Cheese Company. To ensure success of the endeavor, the Wisconsin Farmers Union sought assistance from Golden Plains Ventures, an organization founded by Under Secretary Tonsager. Read more »
Ben Deumling (left) explains Zena Forest Products’ land management, harvest, and milling operations to USDA’s Lillian Salerno (center) and Martin Zone.
USDA and the Obama Administration are committed to creating jobs in rural America, so when a job creation effort also protects family forest lands, preserves important natural habitats, and produces beautiful, sustainable white oak wood products, there is reason to celebrate. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to appreciate such a success during a recent visit with Ben Deumling and his mother Sarah of the family owned Zena Forest Products in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Read more »
“Show me the money.” You have heard that phrase, right? Made famous by the 1996 film Jerry Maguire, we have all probably heard it said a thousand times, and yet, the phrase remains just as valid today.
Owners of rural businesses are asking the same question because finding capital is a major challenge for those who wish to grow and expand, and Lillian Salerno, USDA’s top business development official, met with various business leaders and owners in the Pacific Northwest to offer assistance on job creation and economic growth efforts. Read more »