USDA

Michael Cannon / flickr Creative Commons

Low-income seniors in Butler, Sedgwick and Harvey Counties could be eligible to receive food assistance at farmers markets throughout the state.

The Kansas Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides seniors who meet certain age and income requirements with a total of $30 in checks to spend at local farmers markets. Participants can use the money to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs and honey produced in Kansas.

JULIE DENESHA / Harvest Public Media

Sonny Perdue, the former governor of Georgia, was sworn in as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture at the end of April.

Harvest Public Media’s Peggy Lowe sat down with Perdue on his fourth day on the job at the American Royal complex in Kansas City, Missouri. She asked him about the Trump administration’s priorities for our food system, government nutrition programs, immigration policy and the future of the Agriculture Department.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Jeremy Bernfeld / Harvest Public Media

Advocates for rural issues are up in arms after U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced a plan that changes the position of a lieutenant that had been focused on rural issues in order to create one focused on trade.  

USDA is limited in its number of undersecretaries. Creating a position focused on trade, which the agriculture industry maintains is vital to its economic growth, may force Perdue to scrap a current mission area.

USEMBASSY_MONTEVIDEO / FLICKR

The nation has a new agriculture secretary.

The U.S. Senate on Monday voted to confirm former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to lead the Department of Agriculture. He takes over a department that was without a top boss for three months after former secretary Tom Vilsack resigned. Vilsack served the entire eight years of the Obama administration (one of the longest-serving agriculture secretaries in recent decades).

Bruce Tuten, flickr Creative Commons

Sonny Perdue, the former Georgia governor nominated by President Donald Trump, is one step closer to becoming U.S. Secretary of Agriculture after the Senate Agriculture Committee approved his nomination Thursday.

Yet Perdue remains one step shy of the post; the full Senate has not yet scheduled a vote on his nomination. Perdue, however, is widely expected to be approved.

President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, testified in a confirmation hearing before the Senate Agriculture committee on Thrusday, but remains far from the head job at USDA.

The committee did not indicate when it would vote on whether to advance Perdue’s nomination.

USDA Offers Additional Assistance To Wildfire Victims

Mar 22, 2017

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now offering additional assistance for farmers and ranchers affected by recent wildfires. More than 700,000 acres in 21 Kansas counties were scorched by a series of blazes that tore across the state.

The NRCS is offering $2 million in funding to restore cropland, rangeland, and forestland destroyed by the wildfires. The initiative also extends to Oklahoma, and Texas.

The agency is working with local conservation districts to identify specific concerns within various counties.

Bruce Tuten, flickr Creative Commons

President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the agriculture department will face Senate confirmation hearings on Thursday.

Sonny Perdue was the last cabinet secretary nomination Trump announced more than two months ago.

Some senators have said one reason it’s taken so long for confirmation hearings is that Perdue had to unravel himself from many agribusiness dealings in order to comply with financial disclosure and ethics requirements.

Reno County Fire District #6/Facebook

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is designating more than $6 million to help farmers and ranchers affected by recent wildfires in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

The funding announced Tuesday will be distributed through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to help restore grazing lands, rebuild fencing and protect damaged watersheds.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas says he is pleased USDA acted swiftly to aid producers recovering from the largest wildfire in state history.

Grace Hood / Harvest Public Media/File

Just one day after directing its researchers not to publicly share their research, and after suffering a public relations backlash, the Department of Agriculture’s main research arm has rescinded its original order, saying it “values and is committed to maintaining the free flow of information between our scientists and the American public…”

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