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« March 2010 | Main | May 2010 »

54 posts from April 2010

Fitzgeralt TN CED For nearly 57 years Bobbie Fitzgerald has come to work in the Henry County, Tenn., Farm Service Agency. But that all ends today as Fitzgerald leaves her position as county executive director and heads into retirement. “There comes a point when you need to retire and I reached that,” she said. While in retirement, Fitzgerald will keep her ties to the ag world by working in her garden. (Paris Post-Intelligencer). Read more.

Illinois Earth Day
In honor of Earth Day, the Illinois Farm Service Agency held a tree planting event to commemorate the People’s Community Garden.

Ground was broken and plowed and a 15-foot flowering pear tree, donated by Knob Hill Nursery & Landscaping, was planted in the southeast corner.


The garden’s partners include USDA Risk Management; Farm Credit Services; Brandt Consolidated; University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener; and landowners Monte and Jay Siegrest. 

Prez pics 007_resize Northeast Missouri was buzzing with excitement this week, when President Obama toured the area as part of his White House to Main Street Tour. During his travels, Obama made an unannounced stop at Peggy Sue’s Café in Monroe City, Mo.,  where he treated the diners to lunch and discussed biofuels, healthcare, education and agriculture alongside Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. It was then on to Macon, Mo., where Obama and Vilsack toured the state's first ethanol plant, Poet Biorefining. The President praised the company on its success and remarked on the future of biofuels and economic recovery. After leaving Macon, Obama and Vilsack visited the farm of Lowell Schachtsiek in Palmyra, Mo., where the Schachtsiek family discussed health insurance and the future of American agriculture. Read the President's remarks.

— by Dana Rogge, outreach coordinator, Missouri Farm Service Agency

Farm accidents kill more children than disease, kidnapping and drugs combined. Each year, about 300 people under the age of 19 die and nearly 24,000 are seriously injured on farms across the country. There are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of illness, injury and death from farm accidents by making buildings and equipment safe, using the safety attachments on equipment and staying out of silos and grain bins. Adults also must set the example by practicing safety. (AgWeek). Read more.

This year’s corn season is off and running with record-setting planting, according to USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey. Nationally, about 50 percent of the crop is already in the ground, making this year one to contend with the reigning 2004 national corn yield, which topped 160 bushels per acre. Although Rippey is not predicting a perfect growing season, he said “the prospect for the foreseeable future seems relatively good.” (USDA Radio Newsline).

Listen to more

Farmers and ranchers can expect to receive faster delivery of new loans and better assistance with current loans with the launch of the Farm Service Agency’s new Direct Loan System computer application. The application, which became fully functional on April 12, provides Internet-based technology for all loan making and loan-servicing processes and will improve delivery of supervised credit to 70,000 farm borrowers. “We must continue to improve the tools that our dedicated state and county office workers use to serve our customers,” said FSA Administrator Jonathan Coppess. “Our new equipment is easier to use and much more practical in today’s Internet-dependent business environment.” Learn more.

While watching the news, one Texas resident became inspired to start a People’s Garden that honored her parents and helped her community. The news segment featured First Lady Michelle Obama addressing employees at USDA about the People’s Garden initiative. From that moment, Jane Ray, who grew up in Carthage, took action and started a one acre garden to benefit Mission Carthage, a non-profit, Christian organization that meets the needs of people. (The Panola Watchman) Read more.

USDA is seeking nominations for the Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers. The committee — which is composed of no more than 15 members — provides recommendations on outreach and assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, methods to maximize participation of minority farmers and ranchers in USDA, and civil rights activities related to program participation. Nominations must be submitted by May 24. Learn more or access the nomination form.

MN Peoples Garden
Earl Hauge, a local farmer that prepared the soil assists FSA employees Diane Duchene and Darlene Noland as they plant potato slips and radishes.

I was a senior in high school when we observed the first Earth Day in 1970. I don’t remember what we did to observe it, but I do remember that we were talking about “ban the can” and reducing air and water pollution. Most of the boys were arguing about the morality of the Vietnam War and our draft status. Of course, we also were thinking about girls, while the girls were talking about prom, graduation and worrying about their boyfriends being drafted.

Continue reading "Commentary: Earth Day Then and Now" »

Iowa Audrey Rivas Carol Krois 
Employees at the Iowa Farm Service Agency planted strawberries, onions, lettuce, radishes, beets, potatoes, peas, string beans, tomatoes, carrots, peppers and flowers as part of the People’s Garden initiative.


Nearly 11 vegetables were planted at the Iowa Farm Service Agency last week as part of the People’s Garden initiative. The agency encouraged other FSA offices and communities to join the effort to help demonstrate sustainable conservation practices as well as educate and engage the public. To date, Iowa has 34 People’s Gardens statewide.

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