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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack in Omaha to Kick Off Regional Drought Workshops

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack participated in the kickoff of four regional workshops on drought recovery, the first of which was held Tuesday in Omaha, Nebraska.  More than 200 people gathered in Omaha to discuss ways to access existing resources and to offer ideas on new efforts to assist those impacted by drought.

Secretary Meets with Energy and Rural Development Officials During a Nebraska Swing

Late last week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack went to Omaha, Nebraska to discuss the President’s “All of the above” energy strategy, and meet with wind energy and rural development officials.  Speaking to members of the American Coalition for Ethanol, he said that while the drought is severe and the Obama Administration is moving to help affected farmers and ranchers, we won’t know the impact of this drought until harvest time – but we do know that working together, we will get through this challenge.

The Secretary noted that Nebraska has been hit hard by drought. Today, USDA declared an additional 172 additional counties across the United States as primary natural disaster areas due to drought – and as of today, all of the State of Nebraska is covered by primary or contiguous disaster designations for drought.

USDA Rural Development and the Small Business Administration-Working Together to Create Jobs in Nebraska

On April 14th U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) National Deputy Administrator Marie Johns, visited with Nebraska lenders during a joint USDA Rural Development and SBA annual lenders training event in Omaha, Nebraska.   Ms. Johns praised the two agencies for working together to provide lender training.  Ms.

Producing Fuel for the Future in the Midwest

Nebraska Rural Development State Director Maxine Moul was joined by South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks and Iowa Area Director Theresa Jordison on March 30th to recognize Ag Processing Inc. (AGP) headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska with a plaque for their production of advanced biodiesel fuels.  The business produces advanced biodiesel from soybean oil created in two facilities, Sergeant Bluff, Iowa and St. Joseph, Missouri.

In January 2011, AGP received payment of almost half a million dollars under the USDA  Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, based on eligible production of advanced biodiesel from soybean oil produced at the two plants.

Recipe for Recovery of Rural Communities

Rural communities will play a critical role in the nation's economic recovery, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Omaha, Nebraska on January 28, 2011. Vilsack pointed out that producers learned well about the dangers of debt during the 1980s’ farm crisis and took heed, which has placed them and their communities in a better position during the recent downward trend in the economy.

Innovation has been key to producers as they find new ways to boost production. Ethanol and bio-fuels are an important factor for continued growth and the strong exports of U.S. crops are supporting jobs in rural America, Secretary Vilsack said.  He also commented that it is probable that the most successful part of our economy today is agriculture.

Land Conservation Program Celebrates 25 Years of Creating and Protecting Wildlife Habitat Protection

It’s not every day that a civil servant gets to feel like a rock star.

But at the 2011 National Pheasant Fest in Omaha, Nebraska this past weekend, employees of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) were a bit like celebrities to thousands of hunters and land managers who love pheasants. Pheasant Fest is a trade show that focuses on wildlife conservation, upland game bird hunting and wildlife habitat management and restoration.

Secretary Vilsack Addresses Nebraska Students and Ag Industry Leaders-Says Rural America is Leading the Way in Biofuels Research

In an address last month to students of the Peter Kiewit Institute and members of Nebraska’s agriculture industry, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack cited numerous examples of how USDA is meeting President Obama’s challenge to Americans to “out innovate, out educate and out build the competition.”

The Peter Kiewit Institute offers academic programs from both the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Engineering and the University of Nebraska at Omaha's College of Information Science and Technology. Although the correlation between the Institute and the Department of Agriculture may not be immediately evident, Vilsack’s remarks quickly painted a picture of two entities with a common goal — success through innovation and technology.