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In the News
 USDA Announces Grants to Enable More Farmers Markets to Serve Low-Income Families
WASHINGTON, May 5, 2015 – Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today announced the availability of up to $3.3 million in competitive funding to support the ability of farmers markets to accept Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a form of payment. These awards will help expand SNAP participants’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables and other nutritious foods found at farmers markets, while supporting our nation’s farmers and producers.
 Forest Service Chief Predicts "Above Normal" Wildland Fire Potential in Much of the West
WASHINGTON, May 5, 2015 – U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell presented the Forest Service forecast on the upcoming 2015 fire season in testimony today before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Forest Service researchers expect 2015 to continue the trend of above average fire activity.
 USDA Announces $235 Million Available for Innovative New Conservation Partnerships
DENVER, Colo., May 4, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today an investment of up to $235 million to improve the nation's water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability. The funding is being made available through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), the newest conservation tool of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
 Secretary Vilsack Kicks off USDA Farmers Market for 20th Season
WASHINGTON, May 1, 2015 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack opened the 20th season of the USDA Farmers Market with a ribbon cutting ceremony this morning. USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Administrator Anne Alonzo joined Secretary at the event and highlighted the expanded market, which now includes over 30 vendors.
 Photo Hobbyist Wins "Share the Experience" 2014 Photo Contest
WASHINGTON, April 30, 2015 – The U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the winner of the 2014 “Share the Experience” photography contest and launched the 2015 contest, which gives amateur photographers the chance to showcase their skills by capturing the beauty of the nation’s public lands. The top-prize photograph, taken by Gregory Teller, features a touching moment of a polar bear and her cub in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
 Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Travels to Turkey for G20 Agriculture Ministers Meeting
WASHINGTON, April 30, 2015 – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to Istanbul, Turkey, next week to meet his counterparts at the G20 Agriculture Ministers Meeting that will focus on food security.
 Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces New Private Funds to Make Investments in Rural America
WASHINGTON, April 29, 2015 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the launch of two new private funds, known as Rural Business Investment Companies (RBICs), which make equity investments in rural businesses, helping them grow and create jobs.
 USDA Announces $150 Million Investment Fund to Grow Small Businesses, Create Jobs in Rural America
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, April 21, 2014 – As part of the Obama Administration’s new “Made in Rural America” export and investment initiative, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the creation of a new investment fund that will help propel the growth of small businesses across rural America. The new Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC) will now allow USDA to facilitate private equity investments in agriculture-related businesses. Currently, USDA programs exist to help provide loans or loan guarantees to help rural businesses grow, but many small cutting-edge businesses also need equity support in addition to or instead of borrowed funds.

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