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Dorothy Cannon (left) was presented the Arkansas Woman of the Year Award by Barbara Pettigrew, acting county executive director.
by Latawnya Dia, FSA public affairs specialist
Congratulations to Dorothy Cannon for winning the Arkansas FSA Woman of the Year Award.
The Woman of the Year Award program was developed in Arkansas in 1990 by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service and Rural Development to recognize the accomplishments of USDA female employees during Women’s History Month.
Continue reading "Cannon Awarded Arkansas Woman of the Year" »
A bill that would require federal employees to contribute 5 percent of their salary toward their pensions has advanced another step forward. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted 19 to 15 in favor of the bill that would make employees contribute and additional 1.5 percent of their salary in 2013, an additional 0.5 percent in 2014 and an additional 1 percent in calendar years 2015-2017. Federal employee organizations said the bill was unfair to federal workers. Read more (Federal Daily).
Jessica Hula-Fredericks has lived and breathed dairy most of her life. At age 23, when milk prices plummeted, Hula-Fredericks went to the Farm Service Agency in Marcy, N.Y. for a beginning farmer loan. “I said I wanted 100 cows and to start milking in a month. They made it happen.” That was three years ago. Today, she owns 129 cows and 97 head of young stock. Read more (Lancaster Farming).
One of the policy issues in debate as Congress wrestles with a new Farm Bill is what to do with the various energy sections.
The 2008 Farm Bill produced an incentive program that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) administered. It was designed to generate a start-up of crops that could be used for cellulosic fuel production and encouraged the collection of waste cellulosic materials for similar purposes.
The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) initially focused on the latter solution, providing incentives for the collection, harvest, storage and transportation of secondary materials. Incentives to grow grasses and trees that could be renewable sources for energy production came later, but also at a time when Congress sought ways to reduce funding because of budget concerns.
Continue reading "The Future of BCAP in Discussion" »
The USDA Commodity Credit Corporation and the state of Arkansas entered into a revised agreement to add incentives to the Illinois River Watershed Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). The program was created to reduce nutrient, bacterial and sediment load in the Illinois River Watersheds. The agreement establishes riparian buffers and filter strips on marginal pastureland and cropland with a goal of reducing 85,000 tons of annual sediment loading into local streams and waterways. "USDA is proud to work with the state of Arkansas to enroll up to 10,000 acres of eligible cropland and marginal pastureland to enhance the water quality, biological diversity and aquatic habitats of the Illinois River Watersheds," said FSA Administrator Bruce Nelson. Learn more.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a statement on Tuesday in response to reports of the first case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or Mad Cow Disease, found in the U.S. in six years.
"The beef and dairy in the American food supply is safe and USDA remains confident in the health of U.S. cattle. The systems and safeguards in place to protect animal and human health worked as planned to identify this case quickly, and will ensure that it presents no risk to the food supply or to human health. USDA has no reason to believe that any other U.S. animals are currently affected, but we will remain vigilant and committed to the safeguards in place.” Learn more.
More and more women are taking over the farm. For some, it’s by choice. For others, it’s a matter of keeping the land in the family. In 2007, about 14 percent of farms were owned by women. As that demographic starts to change, more opportunities are available to help women manage a farming operation. (NPR).Listen to more
Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack highlighted the importance of agriculture and rural America to the economic recovery and the strength of the nation. Vilsack touted America's farmers, ranchers and growers as some of our nation's greatest assets, responsible for one out of every 12 jobs: providers of our food, feed, fiber, and fuel while helping to drive our national economy. Read more.
An FSA-wide competition exposed the creative minds of 25 employees to create this year’s Earth Day public service announcement. PSA submissions came from every region of the country enveloping artistic genres that ranged from poetry to rap. Yet, only one could win. Well, actually three. Congratulations to Mardell Ferguson, Stanton, Neb.; Monica Short, Jackson, Miss., and; Tia Walke, Chesapeake, Vir. The judges used a portion from each of these winning submissions to create the final product. Special recognition went to Laura Crawford, Heather Helterbrand and Lisa Houser in Chillicothe, Ohio for a unique song, and Cynthia Walthers and Brian Ranck in Harrisburg, Pa. for an Earth Day rap. Listen to the PSA.
2012 Earth Day PSA English
2012 Earth Day PSA Spanish
Matthew Ponish (left), presented a bronze Telly Award to Kent Politsch, chief, FSA public affairs, for the film production of the Conservation Reserve Program.
Congratulations to the Farm Service Agency for winning a bronze Telly Award for the production of the film “The Silver Lining — 25 Years of the Conservation Reserve Program.” The Telly Awards recognize the best film and video productions, web commercials, and local, regional and cable TV commercials and programs. Kent Politsch, chief, FSA public affairs, accepted the award on behalf of the organization on April 18 during a showing of the film at USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C. The 15-minute presentation documents the birth of CRP in 1985 and highlights improvements the program has made by providing better air and water quality through reduced soil erosion. It also points out how the program has created an improved habitat for wildlife.