Stories about U.S. Department of Agriculture

Chief Joseph Socobasin of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township

Federal grant will advance Passamaquoddy maple syrup venture

By Tim Cox on Aug. 01, 2014, at 5:31 p.m.
PLEASANT POINT | The Passamaquoddy Tribe has been awarded a federal grant that will enable it to advance its fledgling maple syrup production enterprise. The tribe was awarded a rural business enterprise grant of $99,500, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced recently. The funds will be used to help …

Town faces backlash after geese are rounded up on Oakland beach, killed

By Katherine Underwood, CBS 13 on June 25, 2014, at 5:44 p.m.
A gaggle of geese that caused a ruckus and a mess on the Oakland town beach are now dead. The birds were euthanized, and animal lovers are asking why. Residents say for years they could barely walk along the town beach without running into geese or stepping …
Fox Islands wind turbines are shown in 2012. The village of North Haven can be seen in the upper left-hand corner.

Fox Islands Electric gets $593,000 federal loan for upgrades

By Stephen Betts on May 06, 2014, at 12:58 p.m.
VINALHAVEN | There will be new transformers, poles and other equipment to improve electricity service to customers on this Penobscot Bay island. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that it will provide a $593,000 loan guarantee for Fox Islands Electric Cooperative. The cooperative provides electricity to 1,700 homes …
A honey bee gets tangled in strand of spider web on a milk weed in July 2012. Bees' natural food is honey, but beekeepers typically feed their bees honey substitutes such as sugar or corn syrup. A recent study suggests that such practices are contributing to colony collapse disorder.

Keepers feeding bees honey substitutes may contribute to colony collapse disorder, says study

By Richard Valdmanis, Reuters on June 03, 2013, at 4:31 p.m.
BOSTON — Beekeepers’ use of corn syrup and other honey substitutes as bee feed may be contributing to colony collapse by depriving the insects of compounds that strengthen their immune systems, according to a study released June 3. U.S. beekeepers lost nearly a third of their colonies last winter as …
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage blasts feds for denying photo ID requirement for EBT card users

By Christopher Cousins on March 01, 2013, at 11:51 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage will use his weekly radio address Saturday to rail against the U.S. Department of Agriculture for denying his request last year to require Electronic Benefits Transfer card users to show photo identification. LePage called the Department of Agriculture’s denial “shocking,” according to an advance …
Bottled water packaging is wedged into a Dumpster behind the Shaw's supermarket on Main Street in Bangor in 2010. A pair of men were spotted there after purchasing several cases of bottled water with food assistance money and then emptying the bottles in this holding dock area behind the supermarket so they could redeem the empty bottles for deposit money.

New rules will penalize food stamp recipients for ‘water dumping’

By Nok-Noi Ricker on Feb. 20, 2013, at 12:55 p.m.
“I recall several years ago Bangor police responding to a downtown store where a person bought a whole case [of bottled water] and just stepped outside the door and dumped all the water out for the purpose of getting that 5 cents,” USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon said Wednesday during a phone interview.
The port of Eastport is seen in an aerial photograph in 2010.

Dairy cow, pulp exports help Port of Eastport generate $250,000 surplus in 2012

By Tom Walsh on Feb. 13, 2013, at 11:37 a.m.
Despite fewer metric tons of cargo being shipped in 2012 than during the previous year, the Port of Eastport had another profitable year of sending dairy cows and wood pulp to ports of call as far over the horizon as China. In 2011, the deepwater port at …
Ed Clement has been serving lunch at Bangor High School for four years. Lunches "are getting much healthier," says Clement. The nutritional value of school lunches in the Bangor school system has changed and improved over the last five years by adding whole grains, salad bars, and more fruits and vegetables to the menu.

School lunch changes: Are Maine students or the trash getting more fruits and vegetables?

By Jen Lynds on Jan. 13, 2013, at 4:17 p.m.
AUGUSTA | School lunches of the past, featuring piles of limp fries, soggy hamburgers and undercooked pizza, were not something that most students enjoyed or even paid attention to. That all changed in the past few decades, however, as the nation grew more health conscious and obesity rates rose. …
Kevin Concannon -- U.S. Department of Agriculture under secretary for food, nutrition and consumer services -- addresses reporters Wednesday, July 25, 2012, in Portland's Stone Street playground at Unity Village. Concannon, former state commissioner of the Department of Human Services, is visiting southern Maine sites this week to tout summer lunch programs for children and other nutrition initiatives.

USDA under secretary touts food programs in Portland, asks Congress to resist cuts

By Seth Koenig on July 25, 2012, at 5:19 p.m.
A top U.S. Department of Agriculture official on Wednesday morning touted local summer lunch programs for schoolchildren and urged Congress to resist proposed cuts to federal food subsidy programs. Kevin Concannon — former commissioner of the Maine Department of Human Services and current USDA under secretary for …

USDA officials meet in Scarborough with women in agriculture

By Matt Wickenheiser on April 18, 2012, at 5:49 p.m.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture official visited Scarborough on Wednesday to hold a listening session with women involved in all aspects of farming — from the field to the store aisles. Joani Walsh, deputy undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, said the roundtable discussion had been organized …

Maine wholesaler detects E. coli, recalls beef products

on April 11, 2012, at 8:51 p.m.
GREENE | Food wholesaler Town and Country Foods is recalling approximately 2,057 pounds of ground and tenderized beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Safety and Inspection Service announced in a press release Wednesday. The following products are subject …

USDA eyes opportunities in Maine

By Matt Wickenheiser on Feb. 10, 2012, at 1:22 p.m.
In the 1980s the farm economy collapsed in America, and farmers were faced with huge payments and no income. Dallas Tonsager was a dairy farmer in South Dakota and remembers how farmers set their minds on building industries that use the products they grew. “Lots of people will argue over …

USDA honors healthy Maine schools

on Dec. 08, 2011, at 6:54 p.m.
More than 30 schools across Maine were recognized Thursday for nutrition excellence by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At a ceremony in Portland, Kevin Concannon, USDA undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services, honored 35 schools with HealthierUS School Challenge awards for their commitment to a healthier school environment, according …
Sean Bennett, followed by his wife Becky, along with daughter Ava, hauls a Christmas tree out of the field at Piper Mountain Christmas Trees in Newburgh on Friday, Nov. 25, 2011. Both Bennetts say they would suport a tax on Christmas trees if it helped to promote the natural product.

Is conservative media the Grinch that stole Maine tree growers’ Christmas?

By Abigail Curtis on Nov. 25, 2011, at 6:14 p.m.
BELFAST | In a world crowded with advertisements and promotion boards for agricultural commodities such as beef, potatoes, pork and even watermelon, the Christmas tree stands alone. And a recent attempt by Christmas tree farmers to create their own industry marketing and research program was derailed earlier this month …
Thomas Critchley, operations manager of the Port of Eastport, walks through the $8 million port expansion in March.

Eastport gets federal approval to continue burgeoning cattle exports

By Kevin Miller on Nov. 03, 2011, at 7:55 p.m.
Federal agriculture officials have agreed to continue livestock inspections at the Eastport shipping terminal, thereby allowing the port to continue a new and growing export business that has handled roughly 20,000 head of cattle since last summer. What began with an initial shipment of 500 pregnant cows from Maine to …
Baked potatoes are covered with chili, broccoli, sour cream and cheese during lunch at Gardiner High School in Gardiner, Maine, recently.

Snowe joins Collins in Senate vote for unlimited potatoes in school lunches

By Jen Lynds on Oct. 18, 2011, at 7:49 p.m.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday evening to prevent putting any limits on serving potatoes or other vegetables in school meals. The action taken by the Senate after bipartisan agreement on the issue Tuesday evening was the result of an amendment by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and others …
Jan Anderson and Wayne Snyder stand Thursday, Sept. 29 in the just-rented facility for their new company, Coastal Farms and Foods. Beginning in April 2012, the manufacturing space formerly used by Moss Inc. will be used to freeze, process and store farm products from within a 50-mile radius of Belfast.

New food processing facility in Belfast kicking off

By Abigail Curtis on Sept. 29, 2011, at 4:14 p.m.
A cavernous warehouse on U.S. Route 1 that has sat empty for several years finally has a tenant — Coastal Farms Food Processing, a brand-new company that will process, freeze and store local foods. Jan Anderson, co-owner of the venture, said Thursday morning at a press conference …
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage looks to merge state’s Conservation, Agriculture departments

By Christopher Cousins on Sept. 29, 2011, at 3:54 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage announced Thursday that he wants to merge the Departments of Conservation and Agriculture in an effort to better serve the farming, conservation and forestry sectors and enrich the economy. LePage, who long has touted farming and forestry as crucial to rebuilding Maine’s economy, said …

Three Maine wood pellet producers receive biofuel grants

By Alex Barber on Sept. 27, 2011, at 7:22 p.m.
BANGOR | Three Maine wood pellet producers have been granted more than $100,000 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program for producing alternative fuels. Corinth Wood Pellets LLC in Corinth was awarded $31,406, Geneva Wood Fuels LLC in Strong got $11,825, and Maine Woods Pellet Co. LLC …
In this Sept. 14, 2011 photo, baked potatoes are displayed in a dish during lunch at Gardiner High School in Gardiner. New guidelines proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture would eliminate potatoes altogether from school breakfasts and drastically reduce the amount of potatoes served in lunches.

Collins fights to keep potatoes in school lunches

By DAVID SHARP, The Associated Press on Sept. 26, 2011, at 5:28 a.m.
PORTLAND | Sen. Susan Collins, who hails from The County and picked potatoes as a girl, is working to restore some respect for the humble spud, which is on the verge of being virtually banished from the nation’s school lunch programs. New guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture …