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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Posts By USDA

USDA Unveils New Urban Agriculture Toolkit for Urban Farmers and Entrepreneurs

April 29, 2016 |

post_usdalogoNews Release – WASHINGTON, April 29, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today unveiled the USDA Urban Agriculture Toolkit, a new resource created by USDA’s Know Your Farmer team to help entrepreneurs and community leaders successfully create jobs and increase access to healthy food through urban agriculture. From neighborhood gardens grown on repurposed lots, to innovative mobile markets and intensive hydroponic and aquaculture operations, urban food production is rapidly growing into a mature business sector in cities across the country.

“Urban agriculture helps strengthen the health and social fabric of communities while creating economic opportunities for farmers and neighborhoods,” Vilsack said. “USDA’s Urban Agriculture Toolkit compiles guidance from our Know Your Farmer team and many private partners into one comprehensive resource to help small-scale producers manage all aspects of their business. From protecting soil health to marketing to schools and grocery store chains, USDA has tools to meet the needs of this new breed of innovative urban farmer and small business owner.” Read More

USDA and Philanthropic Partners Announce New Initiative to Bolster the Supply Chain for Local Food Systems

March 31, 2016 |

post_usdalogoNews Release – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials today joined 15 national and regional philanthropic partners to announce a new initiative to bolster the supply chain for local food systems around ten key U.S. cities. The project, dubbed ‘Food LINC’, will connect demand for local food in ten urban areas with supply from farmers and ranchers, strengthening each region’s local food business sector and also increasing consumer access to healthy, local food. The announcement was made at the Wallace Center’s National Food Hub Conference in Atlanta. Read More

USDA Offers New Toolkit to Assess Economic Impact of Local Foods

March 26, 2016 |

post_usdalogoCHICAGO, March 24, 2016 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today unveiled a new resource created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Colorado State University that will help communities and businesses evaluate the economic benefits of investing in local food systems. The Secretary released details about “The Economics of Local Food Systems: A Toolkit to Guide Community Discussions, Assessments and Choices” in his keynote remarks at the 12th Annual Good Food Festival and Conference in Chicago. Read More

Ag Tech Innovators Transform USDA Open Data into Tools to Strengthen Food Supply

January 27, 2016 |

7457.USDA_challenge_496x312Press 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.” Read More

USDA Helps Schools Connect with Local Farmers and Ranchers

November 19, 2015 |
post_usdalogoNearly $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. Read More

USDA Names Minority Farmers Advisory Committee

November 12, 2015 |

post_usdalogoWASHINGTON- 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. Read More

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden Announces New USDA Commitments to Help Build Up Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers

November 5, 2015 |

post_usdalogoLOUISVILLE—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. Read More

Fact Sheet: USDA Invests in New Market Opportunities in Local and Regional Food Systems

October 28, 2015 |

post_usdalogoOver 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. Read More