2010 Wisconsin State Fair – The WI Maple Syrup producers booth, in the WI Products Pavilion - Kevin Concannonm, USDA - Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, Brad Pfaff, USDA, Wisconsin , State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency, Randy Romanski, Deputy Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and Perry Brown, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
August 5th marked the opening of the Wisconsin State Fair, an event that brings in over 800,000 visitors, and perhaps more impressively, donates 180,000 pounds of food to the Hunger Task Force, a community supported organization that has fed hungry Milwaukeeans for over thirty years.
I had the pleasure of attending the opening ceremonies to celebrate Hunger Task Force Day alongside Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle. After the ceremonies, I enjoyed a tour of the fairgrounds with Farm Service Agency State Director Brad Pfaff, where we saw educational exhibits, cooking demonstrations using healthy foods you can buy on a budget, and vast displays of Wisconsin agriculture. Everywhere we turned, the fair was abuzz with hunger and nutrition education. Read more »
USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Callahan presents food (on cart, foreground) donated by the state office in Champaign, Ill., to staff at Eastern Illinois Foodbank: (from left) Cheryl Precious, director of marketing and development; Jim Hires, executive director; State Director Callahan and Matt Pieper, transportation supervisor.
Would you leave corporate America to work for a non-profit? Jim Hires did when he became the Executive Director of the Eastern Illinois Foodbank. How did I meet him? We met when I accompanied Illinois Rural Development State Director Colleen Callahan to drop off the state office’s donation to the food bank. And why were we there? To support the Feds, Farmers and Friends Feed Families food drive, of course! Read more »
Secretary Vilsack talks with U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson and Chef Dino Ovcaric about the U.S. foods featured during the tasteUS! culinary showcase in Ottawa.
This week, I traveled to Ottawa to meet with Canadian trade group leaders as well as Gerry Ritz, the minister of agriculture in Canada. As part of these meetings, we discussed agricultural trade issues that both of our countries face and opportunities for collaboration. In between meetings, I had the opportunity to participate in the tasteUS! Culinary Showcase. This event took place at Ambassador Jacobson’s residence and guests included Canadian media, buyers from Canadian grocery chains and food establishments, and U.S. cooperator representatives in Canada. Read more »
USDA Rural Development State Director for Maine Virginia Manuel and Farm Services Agency State Director Donovan Todd (center) give Ambassador Ron Kirk a tour of the Bangor State Fair.
Ambassador Ron Kirk, the US Trade Representative, who is traveling across the country to meet with local business leaders, workers and farmers, visited Maine earlier this month. The Ambassador spoke at several venues, including a Maine International Trade Center roundtable with Maine business leaders involved in international trade, about how fair trade can support well-paying jobs right here at home. He addressed a second roundtable with union representatives, fair trade activists, and agriculture associations, hosted by Rep. Michael Michaud of Maine’s Second District. He finished his visit by meeting Rural Development and Farm Service Agency staff in the Bangor State Office, a wonderful treat for our teams in Maine.
Read more »
A bad year forced Klickitat County farmer Kelly Kreps to choose between fertilizing his fields or paying taxes and insurance. Even though his operation suffered freeze-related losses, Kreps’s ranch didn’t qualify for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) disaster payments program. That was until last year’s stimulus legislation.
“The stimulus funds allowed us to pay our fuel bills so we could fertilize,” said Kreps, co-owner of Kreps Ranch LLC. “This money helped shore up our losses on the ag side of our business and kept us from having to sell a piece of property.” Read more »