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March 4, 2012

Farm Briefs: March 4, 2012

USDA to focus on veterans for ag careers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and American Legion National Commander Fang Wong have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will help veterans find positions that promote agriculture, animal and plant health, food safety, nutrition, conservation and rural communities.

With this partnership, USDA and the Legion will leverage existing resources to expand opportunities for veterans while promoting USDA programs and services in communities throughout the country.

Today, about 6.1 million veterans live in rural communities — a higher concentration than anywhere else in the country. More than 5,300 American Legion posts are located in counties with populations under 40,000, and one-third of the Legion's membership call rural America home.

The Legion has long been committed to helping transitioning military personnel and America's veterans find jobs and USDA will actively recruit them for employment while promoting greater awareness of USDA programs.

Specifically, USDA and the Legion have agreed to promote USDA vacancy announcements, share information about activities in newsletters, provide information about USDA programs and vacancies through established networks as well as the on the Web and promote veteran-owned business participation in USDA contracts.

USDA also will provide information about the opportunities and support it offers, so that service members who want to start their own rural business, farm or ranch are aware of USDA programs, grants, loans or small-business contracts. USDA education, training, outreach and mentoring programs, such as www.START2FARM.gov, will help encourage veterans to be the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

More information about USDA programs is available at www.usda.gov.

Farm Bill hearing to be held in Saranac Lake

SARANAC LAKE — A series of field hearings on the 2012 Farm Bill will take place throughout March and April, including one in Saranac Lake.

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