During the North American Indian Days Celebration in Montana, Under Secretary Ed Avalos (foreground), witnessed the pride and commitment of youth as they celebrated their cultural and agricultural roots.
Agricultural producers in rural America represent less than 1% of the U.S. population, yet they produce almost 75% of the food we eat in this country and much of the food eaten throughout the world. Among that 1%, the average age of the American farmer is 57 years old—making it imperative for us to engage and encourage young people to pursue agricultural careers.
Earlier this summer, while visiting Browning, Montana, I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Billie Jo Kipp, President of the Blackfeet Community College (BCC) and Mr. Terry Tatsey, Director of Agricultural Programs at the college. Their efforts and commitment to educate local students and keep young people in agriculture is inspiring. Read more »
This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced more than 630 new projects across the country under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). These new projects will help producers and businesses boost their bottom line, while increasing America’s energy security and protecting our environment.
Energy efficiency programs are a key part of the President’s overall plan to mitigate the impacts of a changing climate, while building our renewable energy capacity to support an all-of-the-above approach to America’s energy future.
Under the Obama Administration, USDA has used this program to support more than 7,000 energy efficiency projects. Many of these provided assistance on small and medium-sized farm and ranches, or in rural businesses. Read more »
The Lake Holcombe High School in Holcombe, Wisconsin recently upgraded its science classroom as a result of a USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Economic Impact Initiative Grant. Holcombe is a small rural community in the northwest area of the state. The science classroom was outdated, making it difficult for the teachers to keep pace with new curriculum requirements and for students to conduct the necessary science experiments for that curriculum.
The newly redesigned science classroom is now compliant with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and is similar to other high school science classrooms in the state. A tank was also installed, along with new plumbing, to provide treatment for the chemical waste generated from science-related class work. Now, the science curriculum can be expanded to offer experiences and experiments to the students that are equivalent with other science courses offered to their peers in the state. In addition, new flooring, counters tops, bench fuel valves, sinks, and cabinets were installed, bringing the classroom into the 21st century. The 2013-2014 school year will be the first full year that the students will have access to the improvements. Read more »
Twins Katrina and Will Edwards, both age 5, and their father Tim dig into ice cream at the Kelley's Country Creamery in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The creamery started operations with assistance from two USDA Value Added Producer grants. USDA photo.
What is your favorite thing about summer? Is it the longer days, trips to the lake, outings to a local amusement park, or family trips to get ice cream?
For my family, one of our favorite things is taking a family outing to a local farm and creamery, Kelley’s, for some homemade ice cream and making it a point to try a different flavor each time.
The national early morning show, Good Morning America (GMA) wanted to know what America’s favorite thing about summer is, so they asked viewers and the overwhelming response was – getting ice cream with family and friends.
Since July is National Ice Cream Month, GMA decided to find and showcase America’s Best Ice Cream. Read more »
Military veteran Tyler Price, left, of the Student Conservation Association, and Josh Carr of Historicorps scrape lead paint off of historic window sashes of a Thornburg Farm historic building during a restoration project on the Uwharrie National Forest. (Photo courtesy Michael Salisbury)
Under a new program to help veterans re-enter civilian life and find career-oriented employment, eight military veterans visited the Uwharrie National Forest near Asheboro, N.C. as part of their summer program to gain experience in developing historic preservation skills, they restored a historic site of farm buildings on the forest.
“I recognized the importance of preserving these buildings for generations to come and am grateful to be just a small part of the process,” said Tyler Price, a veteran and history and anthropology student at California University at Fresno. Read more »
“Thank you for the generous donations of produce that you have given to assist us with our outreach mission. With your help we are able to provide food for needy senior citizens,” said Denise Smartt Sears from St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in New Rochelle, NY.
It is a simple idea. If you have more than you need, share with those who don’t have enough. An estimated 50 million Americans do not have access to enough food. So what can be done? Amazing things can happen when you implement a simple idea by combining a love of agriculture and commitment to community with a government program.
For over 10 years, samplers working for the Pesticide Data Program, a part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, have been donating excess food from their samples to local organizations including food banks, homeless shelters, senior citizens centers, battered women shelters, and churches. The Program requires samples of fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products at markets and chain store distribution centers throughout the country for testing and analysis of pesticide residues on agricultural commodities in the U.S. food supply. Read more »