WASHINGTON, June 12, 2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is seeking applications from cooperatives to provide technical assistance to small, socially disadvantaged agricultural producers in rural areas. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one part of the Department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
“These grants will jump start small business hiring and help producers in areas facing economic challenges get the tools they need to succeed,” Vilsack said. “Small businesses are the engines of job growth and innovation in America.”
Regional Climate Hubs, New Research Tools, Uniform Policy Guidelines Will Help Producers Mitigate Threats, Adapt for the Future
WASHINGTON, June 5, 2013-Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today said that the Federal government must increase collaboration with producers, researchers and industry to develop the next generation of solutions that will help agriculture mitigate and adapt to modern climate challenges.
“Our farmers, ranchers and forest landowners are the most innovative on earth, and they’re up to the task of meeting environmental challenges that lay ahead,” Vilsack said. “We know what we’re seeing on the ground – more intense weather events, and a greater number of them. USDA will be there to support the efforts of our farmers and ranchers to adapt to these new challenges, just as we have been for decades.”
News Release – WASHINGTON, April 4, 2013 – Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the award of $5.3 million in Conservation Innovation Grants to develop approaches and technology that will help producers adapt to extreme climate changes that cause drought. These grants will fund projects benefiting several states that were significantly impacted by last year’s drought. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one part of the department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
News Release – NEW ORLEANS, La., February 26, 2013 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced the release of a report which provides a comprehensive look at the economic role, challenges and opportunities for food hubs in the nation’s growing local food movement. The announcement was made during a visit to Hollygrove Market and Farm, a produce market, local distributor and farm in downtown New Orleans. In operation since 2009, Hollygrove Farm and Market sources from twenty local growers across southern Louisiana and Mississippi. Hollygrove’s mission includes increasing access to fresh produce for underserved New Orleans neighborhoods. The organization first began operations as part of the city’s post-Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts.
News Release – MEMPHIS, Jan. 15, 2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a new microloan program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designed to help small and family operations, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers secure loans under $35,000. The new microloan program is aimed at bolstering the progress of producers through their start-up years by providing needed resources and helping to increase equity so that farmers may eventually graduate to commercial credit and expand their operations. The microloan program will also provide a less burdensome, more simplified application process in comparison to traditional farm loans.
News Release – The Federal Government should launch a coordinated effort to boost American agricultural science by increasing public investments in that economically important domain and rebalancing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research portfolio, according to a new report by an independent, presidentially appointed advisory group. The report also calls for the creation of a network of public-private agricultural “innovation institutes,” to leverage the strengths of government scientists and commercial interests.
News Release – WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2012 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced that the number of winter markets listed in USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory has increased 52 percent, from 1,225 in 2011 to 1,864 in 2012. Winter markets now account for roughly 24 percent of the 7,865 farmers markets listed in the USDA national directory. Markets operating at least once between November and March are considered winter farmers markets.
News Release – WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2012 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced more than $4.5 million in grants for 68 projects, spanning 37 states and the District of Columbia, to connect school cafeterias with local agricultural producers.
Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center Receives $6.5M Grant for Biogas, Bioenergy ResearchNovember 1, 2012 | OSU Extension
News Release — WOOSTER, Ohio – Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) has received a $6.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy to test and expand a university-developed technology that can produce biogas from a variety of solid organic wastes and bioenergy crops.
Awarded through the Biomass Research Development Initiative (BRDI), the three-year grant will also allow researchers to develop technology for converting biogas to liquid hydrocarbon fuels, with the aim of further diversifying the country’s currently available suite of renewable transportation fuels.
News Release — WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2012 — Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia today urged farmers and ranchers affected by Hurricane Sandy to keep thorough records of all losses, including livestock death losses, as well as expenses for such things as feed purchases and extraordinary costs because of lost supplies and or increased transportation costs.
News Release – WASHINGTON – Oct. 19, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced funding for 244 projects nationwide that are focused on helping agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy consumption and costs, and use renewable energy technologies in their operations. Funding is made available through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
But rural areas, despite their wide-open spaces and fertile farmland, can be food deserts, too.
An Ohio State University Extension community development specialist worked with two student interns to examine this seeming paradox to discover more about people who live in rural food deserts and how they access fresh produce.
News Release – CALS researchers are leading a new $2.1 million, USDA-funded project designed to help vegetable producers and processors get rewarded in the marketplace for producing their products in a sustainable manner. Scientists in five states will collaborate to create a system for reporting the sustainability of agricultural practices that will be credible to consumers and workable for producers.
The grant, funded through USDA’s Specialty Crops Research Initiative, was announced by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack during a visit to Madison on Oct. 1.