Adams County FSA Educates Children about Conservation and Bats in Indiana



Adams County FSA employees transformed into bats for an educational conservation presentation to sixth grade students in Adams County schools.

Bats – The Real Dark Knights

By: Abigail Armentrout, Indiana Farm Service Agency, County Operations Trainee

Splash! It is a common sound this time of year as the weather gets warmer and kids start playing in the water.  However, for Sandy Voglewede and the Adams County FSA, Indiana Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), SPLASH stands for Soil, PeopLe, Air, animalS and H2O.

The SPLASH event is one of the highlights of the school year in Adams County, Indiana. This year marked the 21st annual event held by the SWCD for sixth grade students in Adams County schools. The event included presentations from the SWCD, Farm Service Agency (FSA), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Adams County Forestry, Purdue Extension and conservation officers from the Department of Natural Resources.  Continue reading

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Pollinator Week Ends – A Fan of Bees

FSA Joins Other USDA Agencies Celebrating on the DC Mall

USDA Employees create bee fans at Pollinator Festival

Susan Cole (right), executive communication analyst and Hannah Mitchell (left), graphic designer with Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) assemble a homemade bee fan at the Farm Service Agency’s tent during the Pollinator Festival June 24 outside the Whitten Building. The USDA celebrated Pollinator Week which ended with the outdoor festival.

A recent FSA review of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), performed as part of the President’s National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honeybees and Other Pollinators, revealed that at least 15.7 million acres enrolled in CRP provide important bee and pollinator habitat throughout the United States. Continue reading

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Iowa Farm Family Grows Organic Oats used in Cereal, Breads and Grain Products


Lehman Farms grows organic oats which are sent to Grain Millers, Inc. where they are used in cereals, bars and breads.

By Lauren Moore, Assistant Public Affairs Specialist

Lehman Farms has been a part of Iowa’s agriculture industry since the 1800s.

After immigrating to the Polk County area from Switzerland, the Lehman family started their farm in 1868. The legacy of this family lives on through Aaron Lehman, a fifth-generation farmer who is still operating on the land his ancestors originally acquired 148 years ago.

“I really enjoy being connected with the land,” Aaron said. “Growing up, I saw how devoted my parents were to their land and animals. I love getting to work outside with my family.” Continue reading

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New Farm Storage Loan Program Unveiled at Ohio Roundtable

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From left: USDA-Ohio Rural Development State Director Tony Logan, AMS Administrator Elanor Starmer and FSA Administrator Val Dolcini talk about USDA’s support for local and regional food production at a roundtable discussion with producers and industry representatives at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank.

U.S. agriculture has evolved to be remarkably efficient at transporting food across the country or around the world. That’s due in part to advances in equipment – including cold-chain infrastructure like refrigerated trucks – that provides proper storage for agricultural commodities from farm to consumer.

As consumer interest in locally-grown food has grown, food purchasers like grocery stores, restaurants and schools seek larger volumes of local product. That means that many farmers and ranchers selling their products locally have an opportunity to scale up, no longer using just a few coolers to deliver products to a farmers market, but now examining how to purchase larger handling and storage equipment that can deliver bigger volumes that grocery stores and restaurants need. Continue reading

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Building His Ranch One Cow at a Time


Chris Olerud has loved to farm since he was young. Now, at age 29, he has slowly built his cattle operation to include 59 cows.

By: Tanya Brown, Outreach Marketing Editor

Chris Olerud fights crime for a living. As a deputy sheriff in Beadle County, South Dakota, he puts his life on the line to keep citizens safe. But after a week of working 10-hour shifts, Chris retreats to the one place he has worked so hard to obtain — his cattle ranch.

“I enjoy being around cattle. It’s rewarding to feed and care for them,” said Chris, whose been tending to cattle since he was a young boy spending summers on his grandfather’s farm. “My grandfather taught me everything I know about raising cattle and now that he’s up in age, I want to continue to build on what he taught me.”

Continue reading

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Small Town Sweets Go Nationwide with FSA

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David Fuller, of Fuller’s Sugarhouse in Lancaster, New Hampshire, works to process maple tree sap into award-winning syrups, candies, sugar, and cream. Fuller has been steadily expanding his business since first working with FSA in 2002.

By Michael Booth, Public Affairs Specialist

Here at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA), we’re always looking for ways to better serve farmers and ranchers.  Normally, that means a lot of talk about corn, wheat, soybeans, vegetables, livestock, fruits, and fiber that can make us a bit hungry.

Today, we’re in the mood for something sweet.  And, we know one of the best places in the country to go to satisfy that craving. 

Continue reading

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FSA Administrator Travels West: Tours Farms from Washington to Southern California


Skip Mead (left) and Administrator Dolcini (right) check the wheat quality of a field in Columbia County, Washington.

By Lauren Moore, Assistant Public Affairs Specialist

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini recently traveled to the west coast where he made stops to FSA offices and farming operations in Washington, Oregon and his home-state of California. The focus of his trip was the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and climate change.

Dolcini visited four Washington State USDA Service Centers and toured two farms in the area. Continue reading

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Alabama Farm Family Turns Food and Fiber into Story of Success

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Vaden Farms in Lauderdale County, Alabama, grows corn and cotton on more than 5,000 acres. Their corn crop is mainly sold to poultry feed mill processors and their cotton ends up in domestic and international textile mills and yarn manufactures.

By Cassondra Searight, Public Affairs Specialist, Alabama Farm Service Agency

Many producers strive to grow healthy food for their family, neighbors and the U.S. population.  Vaden Farms in Lauderdale County, Alabama, operated by Randall and Tami Vaden with the help of Randall’s parents, James and Gail Vaden, is one of the many examples of local farm families producing food, fiber and a story of success.

As Randall sat in his community college classroom in the spring of 1996, he craved to be outside in the sun. He wanted a career path that would challenge him, break monotony and provide new opportunities and adventures daily. He decided to return home to pursue a career in agriculture full-time.  Continue reading

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Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

In the agriculture industry, where less than two percent of the population grows the food and fiber consumed by our entire population, it can be easy for consumers to overlook the people responsible for planting, maintaining, and harvesting this important resource. The local and regional food movement has helped to restore a direct connection between consumers and the farmers and ranchers who produce our food.

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) is highlighting a Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food series to showcase local producers across the United States.  In fact, between 2009 and 2015, USDA has invested over $1 billion in more than 40,000 local and regional food businesses and infrastructure projects.

Check back each week to meet the producers who grow the agricultural commodities that are found in your pantry, refrigerator, local grocery store and restaurants in your region.

For more information about local food and markets visit For more information on FSA programs and loans visit or contact your local FSA office. To locate an office, visit

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Administrator Encouraged by CRP

Farm Service Agency Administrator Val Dolcini has been putting in the miles as he travels to several states, meeting with employees and touring the nation’s diverse agricultural landscape. At several of his farm and ranch visits, he witnessed the broad reach of the Conservation Reserve Program. He comments about what he is seeing and why the program is important.



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