Posts By USDA
Press release – WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Microsoft officials today announced the winners of the USDA-Microsoft Innovation Challenge, in which contestants used USDA agriculture production open data to develop online tools that can help make the American food supply more resilient in the face of climate change.
“In yet another example of how public and private resources can be leveraged together to address significant global concerns, the winners of the USDA-Microsoft Innovation Challenge have used open government data to create an impressive array of innovative tools to help food producers and our communities prepare for the impacts of climate change and ensure our nation’s ability to provide plentiful, affordable food,” said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. “For more than 100 years, USDA has compiled data on the farm economy, production, and the health of crops around the country, and it is exciting to see such modern, useful tools spring from these information sources.”
Nearly $5 Million in Grants Will Create Healthier School Meals and Support Local Farmers in 39 States This School Year
WASHINGTON – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $4.8 million in grants for 74 projects spanning 39 states that support the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) efforts to connect child nutrition programs with local farmers and ranchers through its Farm to School Program.
WASHINGTON- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has appointed members of the USDA Minority Farmers Advisory Committee (MFAC). The committee provides farmer, rancher, industry and public perspectives on USDA strategies, policies and programs that impact minority farmers and ranchers.
The Committee held its first public meeting September 22-24, 2015, in Savannah, Ga., to consider a number of related issues including the Department’s outreach and assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Grant Program (also known as the 2501 Program). Committee members serve two-year appointments expiring in June 2017.
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden Announces New USDA Commitments to Help Build Up Next Generation of Farmers and RanchersNovember 5, 2015 | USDA
LOUISVILLE—Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced a commitment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to prioritize $5.6 billion over the next two years within USDA programs and services that serve new and beginning farmers and ranchers. Deputy Secretary Harden also announced a new, tailored web tool designed to connect burgeoning farm entrepreneurs with programs and resources available to help them get started.
Over the course of the Administration, USDA has created new economic opportunities in the growing market for local and regional foods for new and established farmers, ranchers and small food business entrepreneurs. Through investments at the farm level in the form of production research, credit and conservation assistance; infrastructure investments that connect farmers and consumers; and strategies to increase access to healthy foods in rural and urban communities, USDA has helped the market for local food grow to an estimated $11.7 billion in 2014. Between FY 2009 and FY 2014, USDA invested more than $800 million in more than 29,100 local and regional food businesses and infrastructure projects.
New USDA Data Show Growing Farm to School Efforts Help to Reduce Plate Waste, Increase Student Participation in Healthier School Meals ProgramOctober 22, 2015 | USDA
NEW YORK, October 20, 2015 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced preliminary Farm to School Census data for school year 2013-2014 that indicate strong farm to school programs can increase the number of students purchasing school breakfast and lunch, improve consumption of healthier foods at school, and reduce plate waste. Census data also indicate that schools purchased nearly $600 million worth of food locally in school year 2013-2014, a 55 percent increase over school year 2011-2012 when the first Farm to School Census was conducted, creating new marketing opportunities for farmers and ranchers in their communities.
USDA Deputy Secretary Harden Announces $17 Million to Support America’s Beginning Farmers and RanchersOctober 12, 2015 | USDA
WASHINGTON, – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced more than $17 million in grants for organizations that will develop training and provide other resources for beginning farmers and ranchers across the nation. The awards are made through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which is administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
USDA Awards $34.3 Million to Support Communities’ Local Foods Infrastructure, Increase Access to Fruits and VegetablesOctober 7, 2015 | USDA
WASHINGTON – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack helped to kick off the nation’s harvest season by announcing nearly $35 million in new funding through four grant programs to support local and regional food systems, including farmers markets. Secretary Vilsack has named strengthening local food systems as one of the four pillars of USDA’s efforts to revitalize rural economies and communities. Purchases of locally-produced food have surged to nearly $12 billion under Secretary Vilsack’s leadership while the number of farmers markets has exploded to more than 8,500 from 5,274 in 2009.