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Posts tagged: Vermont

Windham County, Vermont Tropical Storm Irene Farm Recovery Tour with Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan

Last week, we welcomed Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan to Vermont as she toured farms to see recovery efforts after Tropical Storm Irene.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan speaking with farmers at the Robb Family Farm near Brattleboro, VT.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan speaking with farmers at the Robb Family Farm near Brattleboro, VT.

Our first stop was the Wheeler Farm, a 100 acre 50-cow grass based farm just north of Wilmington, one of the hardest hit communities in the state.  Visible water marks were higher than the historic flood of 1927 and hurricane of 1938.  The group welcomed Deputy Secretary Merrigan on the porch of the historic farmhouse, which had just escaped the flood waters by a few inches.  As we pulled onto the farm’s access road, a large grader and dump truck continued work to repair washed away segments. Read more »

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Visits Vermont’s Brattleboro Food Coop

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of touring the southern part of Vermont with US Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Kathleen Merrigan.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Dr. Kathleen Merrigan with Alex Gyori, General Manager of Brattleboro Food Coop.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Dr. Kathleen Merrigan with Alex Gyori, General Manager of Brattleboro Food Coop.

On Monday, we went from farm to farm along the Route 9 corridor and  met with some of the incredibly courageous farm families who are putting their lives back together after Tropical Storm Irene.  Loss of land, loss of crops and feed are just a few of the many challenges they are facing with amazing dignity. The purpose of the tour spearheaded by State Ag Secretary, Chuck Ross, was to make sure that those in need were aware of all of the programs USDA and the State had to offer.  In addition, he wanted our Washington visitor to see the stunning resilience of Vermont’s farm families.  A group that included Bob Paquin, FSA; Vicky Drew, NRCS; staff of Sen. Leahy and Sanders and Congressman Welch also shared their admiration for the strength of these individuals. Read more »

USDA Feeds Families, Dominates OPM Hall of Fame

Emily Clever, Morningside Shelter Case Manager, Deborah Boyd, RD Specialist, and Laura Gibson, co-chair of the Vermont RD Feds Feed Families campaign, deliver food donations to the Morningside Shelter in Vermont.

Emily Clever, Morningside Shelter Case Manager, Deborah Boyd, RD Specialist, and Laura Gibson, co-chair of the Vermont RD Feds Feed Families campaign, deliver food donations to the Morningside Shelter in Vermont.

With just over three weeks left in the 2011 Feds Feed Families campaign, we are nearing the finish line of what has been an extraordinary show of support, commitment and compassion from USDA employees across the country. Read more »

New Farms for New Americans in Vermont

Clothilde Ntahomvukiye, 63 and Michele Mpambazi, 64 are married and farm together in the New Farms for New Americans project.  They were both born in Bujumburi, Burundi.  They have been farmers since they were children.

Clothilde Ntahomvukiye, 63 and Michele Mpambazi, 64 are married and farm together in the New Farms for New Americans project. They were both born in Bujumburi, Burundi. They have been farmers since they were children.

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Vermont is going above and beyond to reach socially disadvantaged farmers in the Green Mountain state. FSA’s Vermont State Executive Director, Robert Paquin, cites the outstanding work of two Vermont-based FSA employees in particular—brothers Brad and Larry Parker—as key to Vermont FSA’s success in reaching new immigrants from Africa and Asia and helping them adjust to farming in northern New England. Read more »

Supporting the Next Generation of Agriculture

All universities engage in research and teaching, but the nation’s more than 100 land-grant colleges and universities, have a third critical mission—extension.  “Extension” means “reaching out,” and—along with teaching and research—land-grant institutions extend their resources, solving public needs with college or university resources through non-formal, non-credit programs.

These programs are largely administered through thousands of county and regional extension offices, which bring land-grant expertise to the most local of levels.  And both the universities and their local offices are supported by NIFA, the federal partner in the Cooperative Extension System (CES). Read more »

Know Your Farmer, Help a Refugee, Meet a Neighbor

Somali Bantu farmers at Intervale Center in Vermont. The Refugee Agriculture Partnership Program (RAPP) helps refugee farmers earn viable incomes through agriculture, by providing grants to support organizations and training in topics like business practices, pest control, land financing, and selling to restaurants and farmers markets.

Somali Bantu farmers at Intervale Center in Vermont. The Refugee Agriculture Partnership Program (RAPP) helps refugee farmers earn viable incomes through agriculture, by providing grants to support organizations and training in topics like business practices, pest control, land financing, and selling to restaurants and farmers markets.

What does USDA have to do with supporting refugees? What do refugees contribute to our food systems here in the United States? The answers become clear when you look at a unique partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program (RAPP), USDA, and Agricultural Extension agents. Read more »