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Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan Meets with Community Leaders to Discuss Lahaina Watershed Project

During her visit to Lahaina, Hawaii Merrigan met with local officials and community members.  The discussions centered on the history of the Lahaina Watershed Project (LWP) and the multiple benefits that programs such as the LWP provide. Community members thanked the Deputy Secretary for the USDA natural resources conservation programs provided to rural communities, expressed their appreciation for these projects, and discussed the overall benefits for citizens of Hawaii and the nation.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan is pictured here with Kiewit Project manager Jeff Fahey and other community leaders on a visit to the Lahaina Watershed project site.
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan is pictured here with Kiewit Project manager Jeff Fahey and other community leaders on a visit to the Lahaina Watershed project site.

Davis Hosts First Field Listening Session on USDA Cultural Transformation

More than 220 USDA employees met Thursday at the Varsity Theatre in Davis, Calif. to share their thoughts during the first listening session designed to help implement a cultural transformation within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Members of the USDA Cultural Transformation Task Force were present to hear ideas and to ensure this effort results in a more diverse, inclusive and high performance organization. Read more »

Recruiting the Next Generation of Food Safety Workers

Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator Al Almanza today spoke about career opportunities at Texas A&M Kingsville to the Hispanic Leaders in Agriculture and the Environment. HLAE is a USDA-supported organization that draws membership from several colleges and universities.

The organization works to increase the number of Hispanics in agricultural pursuits in government, academia and private industry. While there, Almanza also observed and evaluated the agricultural research presentations prepared by HLAE members, who are mostly graduate-level students.

“Despite the tough economy, there are jobs at USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, especially for those with scientific and technical training”, Almanza told the students.  (Click here for information about job openings at FSIS.)

Positions at FSIS follow the inspection, technical, professional, management, scientific and administrative career tracks. Everyone from veterinarians and chemists, to public affairs specialists and policy writers are needed.”

As a science-based agency, there’s a real need for microbiologists, epidemiologists, statisticians, nutritionists, medical officers and risk assessors.

But it’s not all test tubes and lab coats. The FSIS story is told through the Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education, where computer, communications, journalism and writing skills are in demand.

FSIS also works with Hispanic youth organizations to offer internships and other training opportunities in agriculture.

While the Texas trip allowed the administrator to meet HLAE members, Almanza pointed out that careers are equally open to everyone. More than ever before, FSIS needs skilled and talented employees dedicated to protecting the nation’s meat, poultry and egg products.

“As our population grows and now that food safety is a top priority of this administration, working to keep pathogens out of America’s food supply can be a real top job. Agriculture and food safety offer meaningful and satisfying careers,” said Almanza, who has more than 30 years experience at the Department of Agriculture.

By Paul Koscak, FSIS Office of Congressional and Public Affairs