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Dam Removal Enhances Massachusetts Wildlife Habitat

Fifteen hardy New Englanders stood in the cold November rain recently to watch the demolition of one of the largest dams ever to be removed in Massachusetts. The crowd was made up of representatives from a diverse group of public and private partners that have been working together toward this day. The removal of the Briggsville Dam in Clarksburg, a small town near the Vermont border, will restore the North Branch of the Hoosic River.

Dairy Barn Transformation is a Symbol of Its New Role

Construction has begun on Laraway’s new home.  Looking at this hundred-year-old dairy barn jacked up in the air on the occasion of last month’s ground-breaking, it occurred to me that this labor of renovation and rejuvenation foreshadows what happens to the at-risk kids who come to Laraway Youth and Family Services in Johnson, Vermont.

Se Aproxima la Fecha Límite para Inscripción en el Programa 2009 de Desastre para los Cultivos de Arroz, Algodón, Semillas de Soya y Camote

La Agencia de Servicio Agrícola (“Farm Service Agency” o FSA, por sus siglas en inglés) del USDA le recuerda a los productores que tienen hasta el cierre de negocio del jueves, 9 de diciembre, para solicitar asistencia por pérdidas del año 2009 bajo el Programa de Asistencia para Cultivos (“Crop Assistance Program” o CAP). Hasta un máximo de $550 millones en asistencia por desastre serán emitidos a productores de arroz, algodón, semillas de soya y camote (batata), por pérdidas elegibles debido a un exceso de humedad o condiciones relacionadas en 2009.

Application Deadline Approaches for 2009 Crop Assistance Funds

A little over a week remains for eligible producers to apply for assistance for 2009 losses under the Crop Assistance Program (CAP). Applications must be submitted by Dec. 9 for producers of rice, upland cotton, soybeans and sweet potatoes to be eligible for up to $550 million in disaster assistance for losses caused by excessive moisture or related conditions in 2009.

Turning the Page on Discrimination at USDA

Since my first day as Secretary of Agriculture in January 2009, President Obama and I have made resolving USDA’s troubled civil rights record one of our top priorities.  Today we have taken an important step forward in this work as the House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing the Claims Settlement Act of 2010 to finally allow USDA to turn the page on past discrimination against black farmers.  The inequities many faced are well-documented and affirmed in the courts; however, the question of compensation has lingered.

It stands for more than the season

It stands as a tribute and image of the season, when we as a nation celebrate Christmas. It is the focus of a nation for the lighting ceremony and is the background of news footage, specials and photographs throughout December. It stands in the spotlight for only a few weeks and then the lights fade and it is gone.

Solid Waste Management Grants Make an Impact in Rural Alaska Communities

Literally millions of tourists have visited Alaska, a state which is over twice the size of Texas.  While many have seen the southeast region and the southcentral corridor stretching from Fairbanks through Anchorage and south to the Kenai Peninsula, relatively few have visited southwest and Interior Alaska, home to many small, predominantly Native villages.  These communities have faced numerous challenges, not the least of which is effective trash and waste disposal. It is expensive to haul the needs of daily life into a community, and also expensive to remove those items after they have reached the end of their usefulness.

Aquaculture systems Help Southwest Iowa Producers Meet the Growing Demand for Local Foods

It has been more than a year since Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative to encourage conversations about local food systems.  In that time, the initiative has strengthened the local foods movement that was already sweeping across the country.

Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians and Partners Break Ground On a New Health Center and Multi-Family Housing

Before partners broke ground on two important community projects on November 15, tribal member Dayna Boyce performed a sacred blessing over the Maliseet tribal land, offering tobacco to bless the earth and giving thanks to the earth for the land to build upon. The Tribe will soon have a brand new state-of-the-art health center and six units of much-needed affordable family housing, thanks to its own contributions and assistance from USDA Rural Development and partners.

It Gets Better

If you have ever been bullied, Secretary Vilsack wants you to know that it gets better.