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Remembering USDA’s Own

Fifteen years ago, USDA and all of America experienced a tragedy that shook us to the core and united us in ways that brought out the best in our country.  At 9:02 am Central Standard Time on April 19, 1995, a bomb exploded in the A.P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killing 168 innocent people.  Ninety-eight victims were Federal employees. 

 Seven of those were members of the USDA family.  In honor of these seven victims, the Riverdale, MD, conference center was renamed “The Oklahoma City Memorial Conference Center” and a portrait titled “Heroes of America’s Harvest” has been permanently displayed outside the center since 2005.

 This year, we will honor our lost colleagues in a moment of silence.  This remembrance fulfills a promise we made to the families of the fallen employees 15 years ago ─ to remember their loved ones and the spirit of unity that was born from their deaths and the deaths of others in Oklahoma City.  Please join me in remembering and honoring APHIS employees Olen Bloomer, Jim Boles, Peggy Clark, Dick Cummins, Adele Higginbottom, Carole Khalil, and Rheta Long. 

I think each of us remembers that day and its effect on America.  Many of our current employees have been working for USDA for 15 years or more and can recall the effect that the tragedy had on our Agency.   Let the memories of our loss inspire us to become better people and better public servants.  I welcome you to share your thoughts, reflections and memories

Earth Day in Alaska-A time to Mark Progress on Improving the Quality of Rural Health

As America marks the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day, it’s good to reflect on the real, positive affect USDA’s water program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) is having on rural Alaska.  Our Department, working with other Federal departments and the State, continues to fund projects to improve water quality across Alaska.  Here’s an example: Read more »

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Dedicates Animal Health Research Facility in Ames, Iowa

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and other USDA officials today dedicated the final component of the National Centers for Animal Health (NCAH). The cutting-edge center provides laboratories, offices, animal space and administrative space for some of the nation’s top animal health scientists and researchers.

The dedication marks the completion of long-term project to consolidate three USDA units previously operated separately at Ames, resulting in better cost savings for America’s taxpayers and employing about 700 people. The NCAH is a cutting-edge center operating from a single campus with laboratories, offices, animal space and administrative space for some of the nation’s top animal health scientists and researchers.

The facility includes: the National Animal Disease Center, operated by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the National Veterinary Services Laboratory and the Center for Veterinary Biologics, operated by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

The crowd listens as officials dedicate the National Centers for Animal Health.
The crowd listens as officials dedicate the National Centers for Animal Health.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack addresses the large crowd gathered for the dedication ceremony in Ames, Iowa.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack addresses the large crowd gathered for the dedication ceremony in Ames, Iowa.

Agricultural Research Service Administrator Ed Knipling, Research, Education and Economics Under Secretary Molly Jahns, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Deputy Administrator for Veterinary Services John Clifford, APHIS Associate Deputy Administrator for Veterinary Services Jose Diaz, and Marketing and Research Programs Under Secretary John Ferrell pose by the Ames, Iowa building dedication plaque at the end of the ceremony.
Agricultural Research Service Administrator Ed Knipling, Research, Education and Economics Under Secretary Molly Jahns, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Deputy Administrator for Veterinary Services John Clifford, APHIS Associate Deputy Administrator for Veterinary Services Jose Diaz, and Marketing and Research Programs Under Secretary John Ferrell pose by the Ames, Iowa building dedication plaque at the end of the ceremony.