Natural resource conservation is paramount to the ongoing strength of our nation. Healthy soil contributes to agricultural productivity. Healthy forests clean our water and air. Vibrant waterways are critical for our health, for transportation and for trade. Investments into conservation spur job growth and community development, particularly in rural areas.
This is an uncertain time for USDA conservation activities. Congress has not yet passed a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill that would continue to invest in conservation efforts, while providing rural America with certainty regarding many other important programs.
As we continue urging Congress to provide a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill, USDA this week took several new steps to strengthen conservation across the country. Read more »
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Bioenergy Memorandum of Understanding is signed by wood energy partners (left - right) Biomass Thermal Energy Council, Executive Director Joseph Seymour; Alliance for Green Heat, President John Ackerly; USDA Deputy Agriculture Secretary Krysta Harden; Pellet Fuels Institute Executive, Director Jennifer Hedrick; Biomass Power Association, President and CEO Bob Cleaves, at the USDA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2013. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.
Earlier this week, USDA, U.S. Forest Service and partners took a major step to improve forest management, create rural jobs, prevent wildfires, and expand promising renewable energy opportunities.
Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden joined leaders from the Alliance for Green Heat, the Biomass Power Association, the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, and the Pellet Fuels Institute here in Washington for the announcement of a new partnership agreement. Acting as master of ceremonies for the signing event was Acting USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Doug O’Brien. Through the Rural Energy for America program and other programs, Rural Development has been a leader in promoting deployment of wood-to-energy projects. Read more »
In January 2012, USDA launched its brand new Energy Web site. The site contains agricultural, economic, and social data on renewable energy to assist stakeholders, public users, state and local government in identifying opportunities, activities and USDA’s projects in renewable energy. The Energy Web information is available through several associated online tools, such as USDA Energy Investment Maps, the Renewable Energy Tool, Energy Matrix, Investment Projects Reports, as well as helpful state links to energy resources within individual states.
Today, USDA is launching an updated version of the Energy Web site. Thanks to suggestions from our users this version 2.0 site will provide new resources; new reporting features and the investment data is current thru August 2012. We appreciate your ongoing comments and suggestions and we look forward to your continuous support to make this website your website for USDA renewable energy. Read more »
Maine Fuels for Schools. The firebox for Poland Regional High School's new Recovery Act-funded biomass heat system is hoisted into the boiler house, as school Principal Cari Medd (hat) and guests look on.
In August 2009, a total of $11.4 million in U.S. Forest Service Recovery Act funds were made available to the State of Maine for grants to help rural, economically depressed counties support the conversion of heating systems to wood/dual-fuel heating systems for an estimated 15 public buildings. Read more »
We have a resource issue across the West, and here in Nevada in particular, that is crossing a number of boundaries in terms of its effects on rural economies, wildlife diversity and forest health. That issue is pinyon-juniper encroachment; which is the rapid growth of pinyon and juniper trees to the extent that risks of disease, insects and catastrophic fire intensify, and diversity of forage and wildlife are threatened. Extensive forest canopy blocks all of the light and plant life below, reducing the productivity of the land for both man and beast. Each year in Nevada, another 100,000 acres of P-J woodland converts to the highest density Pinyon-Juniper forest. Read more »