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Even Paul Bunyan is Overshadowed by the 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree - and a Precious 10-year-old Boy

A foggy mist did not deter a crowd of onlookers, politicians and U.S. Forest Service employees as a 10-year-old Maryland boy in a wheelchair enveloped by warm blankets flipped the switch to light the 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree on the West Front lawn of the nation’s Capital.

C-SPAN recorded the event, including the moment when Speaker of the House John Boehner handed the controls to Aaron Urban, who flipped the switch on the 88-foot white spruce from Minnesota. The ceremony culminated more than a year of work to find, select, harvest and transport the tree found on the Chippewa National Forest. Children from that state made more than 10,000 ornaments – many of them dream catchers in the tradition of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwa.

Agriculture Secretary Highlights Renewable Energy Opportunities, Biofuels Investment, During an Energy Roundtable in Minnesota

The use of biofuels needs to expand throughout all of the United States. That’s what Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told an audience of about 50 producers, stakeholders and agency leaders during a renewable energy roundtable discussion at CHS Inc. in Inver Grove Heights, Minn. on Wednesday. Vilsack was joined by Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Amy Klobuchar at the event.

Vilsack shared how USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) helps reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. He also highlighted how a new provision in the program finances the installation of flex fuel pumps at convenience stores and fuel filling facilities throughout rural America.

Udderly Necessary Help For Dairy Producers

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was pleased to deliver a little holiday cheer to our nation’s dairy producers when he announced the implementation of the new Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment (DELAP) program. The 2010 Agricultural Appropriations Bill authorized $290 million for loss assistance payments to eligible dairy producers.