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FSA’s new strategic plan, which covers fiscal years (FY) 2012-2016, recently received departmental approval and is now available online.
The strategic plan supports accomplishment of the USDA mission and is directly linked to USDA goals and related objectives found in the USDA FY 2010-2015 Strategic Plan.
“This strategic plan represents a dynamic process within FSA to ensure the best results for America. Through this process the agency is able to continually assess the quality of its services to the public,” said FSA Administrator Bruce Nelson. “This close attention to performance outcomes and results will allow FSA to better support its customers.”
Continue reading "Farm Service Agency Releases New Strategic Plan" »
The latest edition of the MIDAS Press newsletter is now available online. This edition features an update on the recent project milestones and next steps surrounding the deployment strategy. The newsletter also includes an update on the Realization Phase, which officially kicked off in January and includes all necessary activities to prepare for MIDAS Release 1. The MIDAS Press highlights the Indiana Change Agent discussion, which provided an open forum for sharing valuable insights into the current needs of producers and promoted discussions around improving service delivery. Additional articles feature perspectives on the upcoming direction and activities for MIDAS and include highlights from the PACOE State Convention. Read the MIDAS Press.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan will unveil the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass via a live webinar on Wed., Feb. 29 at 2 p.m. EST. The compass is a Web-based document and map highlighting USDA support for local and regional food projects and successful producer, business and community case studies. The Secretaries will also discuss how local and regional food systems across the country offer economic opportunities for local farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs while growing the number of farmers, expanding healthy food access and building strong infrastructure systems. View the webinar Feb. 29 at 2 p.m. EST.
Beginning farmers in Idaho are praising the Farm Service Agency for helping them get started. With the high cost of land and low capital, young farmers are finding it difficult to obtain loans to get into the business. To help this new generation of farmers, FSA will guarantee 90 percent to a land owner or older farmer who sells their land to someone buying their first farm. View the video (Localnews8.com).
Within 90 days, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he plans to approve the consolidation of 131 Farm Service Agency offices with other USDA service centers in an effort to provide stronger service to U.S. farmers and ranchers. As part of the Blueprint for Stronger Service announced Jan. 9, Vilsack said the closing are based on a department-wide review of operations that in the future will create optimal use of USDA employees, deliver better results for USDA customers and provide greater efficiencies for American taxpayers. Learn more.
An FSA Youth Loan helped Brandon Brown expand his cow/calf operation and further develop his Future Farmers of America project.
by Tim Story, farm loan officer, Winchester Farm Service Agency
Franklin County FFA Chaplain Brandon Brown of Estill Springs, Tenn., has a future career in agriculture in his sights.
Brandon, who was reared on his family’s beef cattle operation, enjoys managing and caring for the livestock and pasture. Recently with the help of The Farm Service Agency Youth Loan Program, Brandon was able to expand his cow/calf operation and further develop his FFA project in the process.
Jason Walker, Franklin County FFA advisor said “Brandon has shown great responsibility and continued to develop his management skills over the past few years that I have mentored him,” said Jason Walker, Franklin County FFA advisor.
Continue reading "Tennessee Youth Expands Operation With FSA Loan" »
A blueprint guides the decisions of an entire team of craftspeople toward a common goal of creating something that serves a purpose and withstands time and the elements. Over several decades now, U.S. agriculture has become the second most-productive sector of our economy. Today, net farm income is at record levels while farm debt has been cut in half. Overall, American agriculture supports one in 12 jobs in the United States and provides American consumers with 83 percent of the food we consume. In other words, U.S. agriculture is both resilient and a productive economic driver. Read more (USDA blog).
Despite slower growth, 2012 is expected to be another good year for agricultural exports, according to USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber. In a presentation during the annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, Glauber said U.S. agricultural exports for fiscal year 2012 are expected to reach $131 billion, down $1 billion from the November forecast, but still the second highest on record. With the slow economic recovery, Glauber said to expect U.S. agricultural products to remain competitively priced in global markets over the next few years. Read more or view the presentation.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack kicked off the commemoration of the department's 150th anniversary today at USDA's 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va. To commemorate USDA's rich history as well as its potential, Vilsack moderated a panel discussion with former Secretaries of Agriculture Ed Schafer, Mike Johanns, Ann Veneman, Dan Glickman, Mike Espy, Clayton Yeutter, John Block, and Bob Bergland. Learn more.
Net farm income along with low interest rates has farmland prices soaring to a record high, according to a report from the USDA Economic Research Service. Record-level income has helped farmland survive the real estate crisis, yet speculation of a bubble forming in agricultural land cannot be ruled out, the report said. View the report or read more (Bloomberg).