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A Regional Collaboration in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom

Earlier this month I joined USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Conservation, (NRCS) Ann Mills, and Deputy Director of the Executive Secretariat, David Aten, in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont for a “Great Regions” convening.

Federal, state and local officials joined members of the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative and we shared some of the great progress Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG)  recipients have made and spoke about the challenges the communities of the three-county Kingdom face in securing a healthy, culturally robust and economically successful future.

The President and First Lady on Child Nutrition Bill: "The Basic Nutrition They Need to Learn and Grow and to Pursue Their Dreams"

Cross posted from the White House blog:

As one of her chief responsibilities and greatest passions, the First lady has dedicated herself to helping our children grow up healthy and reversing the alarming childhood obesity trend -- so the President's signing of the the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act this morning at a local DC school was particularly meaningful for her:

New Online Resource Links Retired Landowners to Beginning Farmers, Ranchers

A new online resource is available to farmers with expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts and beginning farmers interested in obtaining land.

TIP Net is a website sponsored by the USDA Farm Service Agency designed to assist those who are interested in the Transition Incentives Program (TIP). The site serves as a matchmaker to link farmers with expiring CRP contracts to beginning farmers and ranchers who are interested in bringing the land into production.

An Update on Consultation with Tribes on SUTA from USDA

Throughout this year, USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) consulted with Tribes on the Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA) provision of the 2008 Farm Bill.  This provision directed RUS to develop a strategy to deliver infrastructure program funding tailored and more affordable to the circumstances and challenges facing trust lands in high need of RUS’s electric, telecommunications and water and waste program funding. Second, the provision directed RUS to consult with local governments and Federal agencies in implementing this effort.

A Healthier and Brighter Future for Our Children and Nation

The health of our Nation has always been a top priority for the President, First Lady, Secretary Vilsack and everyone in the administration. That is why I am thrilled President Obama today signed into law the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The historic bill ensures our children have  the nutritional foundation to reach their greatest potential.

FSA Provides Help to Kewa Pueblo Destroyed by New Mexico Storms

Farmers and ranchers from Kewa Pueblo affected by three major storms this past summer received much needed information on Farm Service Agency programs from the staff of New Mexico’s FSA.  A workshop was held last month to provide information and answer questions from producers who lost their crops and cattle as a result of these storms.

The workshop was in response to the Pueblo’s request for assistance.  A team of state and county employees provided information and signed up about 40 producers for programs such as Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program, Livestock Indemnity Program, Emergency Conservation Program and Non-Insured Assistance Program.

Giving: The true spirit of Christmas

Do you have any idea how many ornaments it takes to decorate a 67-foot-tall Christmas tree? Do you ever count your ornaments? For this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree Wyoming did.

Nos Unimos con La Raza para Promover la Nutrición Hispana

Como Administradora Diputada del Programa SNAP, tuve el gran honor de acompañar a nuestro socio, el Consejo Nacional de La Raza (CNLR), a líderes comunitarios, familias y a un representante de la campaña ¡Vamos a Movernos! (Let´s Move!) de la Primera Dama durante una conferencia de prensa para promocinar prácticas prometedoras y políticas que pueden ayudar a cambiar la situación relacionada con el hambre y la obesidad infantil, y también a mejorar el acceso de los niños hispanos y sus familias a alimentos nutritivos. La conferencia de prensa fue realizada el día siguiente que el USDA publicó el Informe de Seguridad Alimenticia de Unidades Familiares en los Estados Unidos para 2009 (2009 Household Food Security Report in the United States). La conferencia de prensa del CNLR se hizo para llamar la atención a la población de mayor crecimiento y más joven de los Estados Unidos, a la que se le dificulta llevar comidas sanas a la mesa debido a la falta de acceso a alimentos nutritivos. Los niños hispanos están entre los que corren más riesgo de tener sobrepeso y obesidad; aunque, a la misma vez, tienen la mayor probabilidad de pasar hambre. Tanto la obesidad como el hambre tienen efectos graves sobre la salud y el bienestar de los niños – los cuales representan grandes prioridades del gobierno del Presidente Obama.

Hillside Farmers Co-op Awarded Grant to Develop Latino-Owned Poultry Production

The Hillside Farmers Co-op has some big goals for Latino farmers in southeastern Minnesota. With the help of a Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant (SSDPG) from USDA’s Rural Development, Hillside Farmers Co-op has taken another step toward reaching some of those goals.