« April 2012 |
| June 2012 »
USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and Smokey Bear were on tap to celebrate USDA's 150th anniversary in California.
“The People’s Department” has been fortunate to have so many good people in top positions over the years. As we continue to celebrate our 150th anniversary, we remember and honor some of the key people who have contributed to the tremendous work that USDA has accomplished. On May 16, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visited Davis, Calif. to help USDA honor Yolo County farmer Richard Rominger, a former deputy secretary of USDA during the Clinton administration and the first Californian to attain that position.
USDA employees and leadership from at least eight different agencies gathered at the Lyng Building in Davis for the 150th anniversary celebration and joined the deputy secretary at the dedication of the first-floor conference room, now named the “Richard Rominger Conference Room.” An exhibit of historic photos of early California agriculture and a display of period farm equipment provided a historical setting. The University of California - Davis Agricultural Engineering Department also set up a working replica of the 1830s era McCormick reaper, the first mechanical grain harvester manufactured in the U.S.
Continue reading "California Celebrates 150 Years of the People's Department" »
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed a proclamation celebrating the 150 year anniversary of USDA. Pictured (l to r): James Wilson, general field representative, Rural Utilities Service; Tom Fern, state director, Rural Development; Leland Brown, director, National Agricultural Statistics Service; Frank R. Beum, forest supervisor; Daniel Boone, National Forest; Karen Woodrich, state conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service; John W. McCauley, state executive director, Farm Service Agency and; Roger Thomas, executive director, Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy.
Governor Steve Beshear was joined by federal and state officials in the governor’s office for the ceremonial signing of a proclamation celebrating the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“Agriculture plays an important role in Kentucky’s economy and rural communities and the USDA is a key partner to its sustainability into the future,” said Beshear. “I am pleased to be a part of celebrating 150 years of the ‘People’s Department’ and look forward to a continued partnership.”
Continue reading "Kentucky Governor Commemorates USDA 150th Anniversary" »
Producers who want to enroll in the 2012 Direct and Counter-Cyclical Payment (DCP) program have only two days left to apply. DCP provides payments to eligible producers on farms enrolled for the 2008-2012 crop years. Both direct payments and counter-cyclical payments are calculated using base acres and payment yields established for the farm. Those interested must apply at their local FSA county office by Friday, June 1. Learn more.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it is proceeding with Farm Service Agency county office consolidations as part of the department’s Blueprint for Stronger Service. The Blueprint will help modernize and accelerate service delivery while improving the customer experience through the use of innovative technologies and business solutions. Included in the plan is the closure and consolidation of 259 domestic offices including FSA county offices, additional facilities, labs and seven foreign offices. FSA will consolidate a total of 125 of the 131 office originally proposed. Review the list of consolidated offices or learn more.
Producers have until Friday, June 1 to apply for assistance for the 2010 crop losses under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program. SURE provides disaster assistance to eligible producers on farms that have incurred crop production or quality losses. Visit a local FSA county office for more information or read more about SURE.
More than 120,000 Thrift Savings Plan participants had their personal information compromised last month after a cyber attack on a TSP third party service provider computer. According to a Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board press release, the names, addresses and social security numbers of 43,587 individuals were accessed and 79,614 individuals had their social security numbers and some TSP information taken. All those affected have been notified by the board and alerts have been placed on their accounts. Read the press release.
The spring edition of the MIDAS Press newsletter is now available online and features updates on recent project accomplishments and an overview of the FSA Modernization Initiative. Articles highlight progress made by the Technical Architecture Group that is working to ensure a seamless operation of the end-to-end technical environment and the Solution Architecture Group that is addressing integration issues in the MIDAS/Financial Management Modernization Initiative business process. Other articles include information on acreage reporting and farm records and the benefits MIDAS will have on these process areas. Read the MIDAS Press.
As President Lincoln said in his last annual address to Congress, the Department of Agriculture “is precisely the people’s Department, in which they feel more directly concerned that in any other.” Many don’t realize it, but USDA plays a unique role in the daily lives of every single American, ranging from the programs available that assist rural small businesses to providing the support system that makes it possible for our farmers and ranchers to produce the most affordable and abundant food supply of any country in the world. Earlier this month, I was proud to recognize the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln signing legislation establishing the United States Department of Agriculture on May 15, 1862. Read more (Rapid City Journal).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will accept 3.9 million acres offered under the 43rd Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up. During the five-week sign-up period, the department received nearly 48,000 offers from landowners to become a part of the 25-year-old program designed to conserve land, improve soil, water, and air quality, and create wildlife habitats. “Lands in CRP have helped to support strong incomes for our farmers and ranchers and produce good middle-class jobs throughout the country related to outdoor recreation, hunting and fishing,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. USDA has enrolled 12 million acres in CRP since 2009 and has a total of 29.6 million acres in the entire program. Learn more.
Left picture: Robert Backus (center) was honored for assisting tornado victims. Right picture: Steve Jones (center) was recognized for saving the government thousands of dollars in fuel by minimizing the agency's fleet of vehicles.
Two FSA employees were recognized last week as unsung heroes by the Organization of Professional Employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (OPEDA).
Robert Backus, county executive director in Charlestown and Scottsburg, Ind., and Steve Jones, fleet manager with the FSA Fleet Management Program in Washington D.C., were honored during the 2012 OPEDA Unsung Hero Award Program — a part of Public Service Recognition Week — for providing exceptional service to the American public.
Continue reading "FSA Employees Honored as Unsung Heroes" »