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Look Who’s Speaking at the Forum–It’s an All-Star Cast

Another impeccable line-up of speakers, led by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, has been announced for the 2011 Agricultural Outlook Forum. Titled “Today’s Strategies & Tomorrow’s Opportunities,” the Forum will be held February 24-25, 2011, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va.  The Plenary Panel speakers include:

Moderator—Christine Cochran, President, Commodity Markets Council; Nariman Behravesh, Chief Economist, IHS Global Insight on Critical Issues Shaping the Global Economic Outlook; Charles Whitman, Founder and CEO, Infinium Capital Management on Electronic Trading and the Globalization of Grain Markets; Pete Nessler, President, FCStone, LLC on A Brokerage Firm’s Approach to Risk Management; Michael Copps, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission on Opening the Internet to the Rural Community. Read more »

Historic Kansas Hotel Converted to Residential Use with USDA Rural Development Support

About 85 years ago, the leaders and generous residents of Pittsburg, Kansas rallied to build the Besse Hotel in the city’s quickly developing downtown district.  The structure was a 13-story grand dame that catered to business travelers and visitors for decades with a grand ballroom, upscale restaurant as well as beautiful guest rooms.

However, after more than 50 years, the structure fell into disrepair and became a blight on Pittsburg’s downtown. Read more »

Getting to Scale with Regional Food Hubs

Here at USDA we are looking for ways that we can help build and strengthen regional and local food systems.  As we talk to farmers, producers, consumers, processors, retailers, buyers and everyone else involved in regional food system development, we hear more and more about small and mid-sized farmers struggling to get their products to market quickly and efficiently.  And more and more we hear that these same producers need access to things like trucks, warehouses, processing space, and storage.  These things require capital investment, infrastructure maintenance and dedicated oversight – things that small and mid-sized producers often can’t afford or manage themselves.

One answer to help regional producers may be a ”food hub.” Read more »

NWRC Receives 2010 Colorado Governor’s Award for High-Impact Research

APHIS’ National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) recently received the 2010 Colorado Governor’s Award for High-Impact Research for its development of the GonaConTM Immunocontraceptive Vaccine (GonaCon).  The award was one of four given to Colorado-based labs for their cutting-edge research with global impact. The Colorado state Chief Operating Officer Don Elliman presented the award to NWRC’s Dr. Lowell Miller during a banquet hosted by CO-LABS. CO-LABS is a consortium of research universities, businesses, state and local governments and economic development councils with a mission to educate the public about the value of Colorado’s 24 federal research labs. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack Meets with Mexican Agricultural Secretary

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (right) met with Mexican Agricultural Secretary Francisco Mayorga (left) in Merida, Mexico to discuss agriculture and trade. The two agricultural leaders engaged in a very productive dialogue on a wide range of issues important to both the United States and Mexico on Thursday, December 9, 2010.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (right) met with Mexican Agricultural Secretary Francisco Mayorga (left) in Merida, Mexico to discuss agriculture and trade. The two agricultural leaders engaged in a very productive dialogue on a wide range of issues important to both the United States and Mexico on Thursday, December 9, 2010.

Last week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met with Mexican Agricultural Secretary Francisco Mayorga in Merida, Mexico to discuss agriculture and trade. The two agricultural leaders engaged in a very productive dialogue on a wide range of issues important to both the United States and Mexico. Read more »

‘Tis the Season for Cut Christmas Trees

Christmas trees

A Christmas tree grove in Oregon.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

With the holiday season upon us, many people across the United States are out and about shopping for the perfect Christmas tree to deck their halls with holiday cheer. Sales of cut Christmas trees remain a large part of the U.S. horticulture industry as Americans continue to uphold the holiday tradition of fresh, cut trees – from the White House to state capitals across the United States, the smell of pine is vibrant this time of year. Read more »