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2012

In Working with Tribes USDA Rural Development Opens Electronic Doors

Webinars and Teleconferences are not the raw materials that Tribes use to build the infrastructure that they need.  However, at USDA Rural Development we believe that these tools are crucial building blocks that help our Agencies and staff build a foundation for consultation, cooperation and mutual understanding with Federally Recognized Tribes.

Over the last few months, Rural Development co-hosted an Indian Housing Webinar Discussion Series with the National American Indian Housing Council.  The goals of that series were clear and simple: 1) Educate USDA Rural Development personnel on the unique issues in providing affordable housing in Indian Country; 2) Educate Tribes and Tribal housing program staff on USDA Rural Development’s programs and services; and, 3) Examine and discuss strategies to improve the partnership between Tribal housing programs and USDA Rural Development.  The final webinar was hosted on November 7th and in preparation for the National American Indian Housing Council’s Legal Symposium in December 2012, we are putting together a joint white paper on the Webinar Series and recommendations to consider moving forward.

Borlaug Fellows Gather in Des Moines for World Food Prize

Last month, hundreds of people from around the world gathered in Des Moines, Iowa, to honor this year’s World Food Prize Laureate, Dr. Daniel Hillel, for his pioneering scientific work in micro-irrigation. His drip technology revolutionized the way farmers watered crops and increased food production in the arid regions of the Middle East and other parts of the world for the past five decades.

Dr. Hillel’s recognition inspired many in attendance including Dr. Rajashekhara Rao Korada, a senior scientist from India currently in the United States for the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program, a program named in honor of the “Father of the Green Revolution.” During his 12-week fellowship at Louisiana State University, he’s studying pest management strategies for sweet potato crops.

North Carolina Forest Service Job Corps Students Improve Historic Site

Each year, thousands of volunteers across the country participate in the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in America, National Public Lands Day. Students and staff of the  Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center contributed over 250 hours of service on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests as a part of this year’s efforts.

Usted ha hablado. . . Nosotros escuchamos – USDA mantiene seminarios web en español sobre recursos agrícolas

Este mes, el Servicio de Comercialización Agrícola (AMS) está llevando a cabo un seminario sobre los servicios y programas de  la agencia en español. El seminario titulado, Una introducción a las Noticias de Mercado de Frutas y Hortalizas del USDA, será el jueves 15 de Noviembre desde las 14:00 a las 15:00 hora del este. El seminario proporcionará información sobre cómo utilizar el portal de Noticias de Mercado. A  través del portal, los usuarios pueden generar informes gratis, modificados para sus requisitos particulares sobre precios, embarques, volumen y otra información detallada sobre cientos de productos agrícolas en mercados mayoristas nacionales e internacionales, áreas de producción y puertos de entrada. Dr. Luis Fernando Palmer, Jefe de la Sección de Reportes Internacionales de Noticias de Mercado de Frutas y Hortalizas del AMS, les explicará cómo funciona el portal y cómo su empresa u organización puede beneficiarse de la información.

You Spoke . . . We Listened – USDA holds Spanish-Language Webinars on Agricultural Resources

This month, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is holding a webinar about agency services and programs in Spanish.  The webinar, entitled, An Introduction to USDA's Fruit and Vegetable Market News, will be Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern time.  The webinar will provide insight and information on using the Market News portal.  Through the portal, users can generate free, customized reports on pricing, shipping, volume and other detailed information for hundreds of agricultural commodities at domestic and international wholesale markets, production areas and ports of entry.  Dr. Luis Fernando Palmer, AMS Fruit and Vegetable Market News international reports branch chief, will explain how the portal works and how your business can benefit from the information.

Enhanced and Updated USDA Energy Website Makes Information Easy to Access

In January 2012, USDA launched its brand new Energy Web site.  The site contains agricultural, economic, and social data on renewable energy to assist stakeholders, public users, state and local government in identifying opportunities, activities and USDA’s projects in renewable energy.  The Energy Web information is available through several associated online tools, such as USDA Energy Investment Maps, the Renewable Energy Tool, Energy Matrix, Investment Projects Reports, as well as helpful state links to energy resources within individual states.

Today, USDA is launching an updated version of the Energy Web site.  Thanks to suggestions from our users this version 2.0 site will provide new resources; new reporting features and the investment data is current thru August 2012.   We appreciate your ongoing comments and suggestions and we look forward to your continuous support to make this website your website for USDA renewable energy.

Forest Service Firefighters Clear Roads for Delivery of Hurricane Sandy Relief Supplies and for Power Restoration

When Hurricane Sandy arrived in New Jersey and New York, so did the Forest Service and other interagency wildland firefighting specialists filling orders from FEMA and assisting in the massive clean-up effort that is critically needed on the East Coast.

“Our Incident Management Teams bring skills in organization, planning and logistics to meet the needs of communities tragically affected by Hurricane Sandy,” said Tidwell. “Crews are clearing downed trees, providing support to local emergency response agencies and assisting at FEMA facilities.”

Partnership with USDA Cultivates New Possibilities for Farm Worker Families

Boardman, Oregon, is a port town of just over 3,000 on the banks of the Columbia River surrounded by productive farm lands. These resources have helped the community generate above-average economic growth through its agricultural, food processing, manufacturing, and shipping sectors. As these industries have grown, however, a significant shortage of affordable workforce housing has made finding and keeping skilled employees difficult and hinders further economic development in this promising community.

In order to secure affordable housing, many who work in Boardman have had to endure long commutes from outlying towns or settle for homes that simply did not meet their families’ needs. Martin Paredes, Olgalibia Rosales Rivera, and their four children are one such family. Due to a lack of rental options in the community, the family was living in a two-bedroom apartment in a part of town that offered few family-friendly amenities and services.

A Coat of Many Colors Cloaks Autumn in the Bitterroot National Forest

Several plant species around Montana make their transition from summer to winter unique. This is highlighted in the Bitterroot National Forest.

The Oregon-grape (Mahonia repens), a sub-shrub evergreen, maintains its leaves throughout the winter. In the summer, its leaves are green while it produces yellow flowers. In the fall, its leaves create a beautiful, eye-catching palette of reds in contrast to its purple berries. Oregon-grape is found throughout the Ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forests.

Fourth Grader Donates to Waldo Canyon Fire Restoration Effort

As elementary school students, most kids are thinking about doing well in class, finishing their homework, participating in after school activities, playing video games and receiving presents.

However, fourth grader Evan Gassiot decided not to receive birthday gifts this year.