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U.S. Agribusiness Leaders Explore Market Opportunities in Peru and Ecuador

FFAS Acting Under Secretary Scuse addresses U.S., Peruvian, and Ecuadorian companies at the opening plenary session of the U.S.-Peru-Ecuador Agribusiness Trade and Investment Mission to Lima, Peru. Pictured from the left are: Chargé d’Affaires Bruce Williamson, Peruvian Minister of Agriculture Rafael Quevedo, and Acting Under Secretary Michael Scuse. Photo Credit: Victor Malpica

FFAS Acting Under Secretary Scuse addresses U.S., Peruvian, and Ecuadorian companies at the opening plenary session of the U.S.-Peru-Ecuador Agribusiness Trade and Investment Mission to Lima, Peru. Pictured from the left are: Chargé d’Affaires Bruce Williamson, Peruvian Minister of Agriculture Rafael Quevedo, and Acting Under Secretary Michael Scuse. Photo Credit: Victor Malpica

On Monday, January 31, I had the honor of launching the U.S. Agribusiness Trade and Investment Mission to Peru and Ecuador in a room full of U.S., Peruvian, and Ecuadorian business leaders, government officials, and news reporters. Read more »

Expanding Access to Healthy Food for All Communities

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is helping expand access to healthy food in low-income communities.

USDA has launched a resource to assist in expanding access to healthy food and eliminating food deserts: www.usda.gov/fooddeserts. As outlined by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative, three Federal Departments – Agriculture, Treasury, and Health and Human Services – are working together for the first time to combat food desert issues.  The webpage provides information on available grant programs that support the development of sustainable strategies aiming to increase access to healthy, affordable foods. Read more »

USDA 2011 Agricultural Outlook Forum: Nutrition and Health Sessions

In “The Role of Nutrition Programs in Agriculture: From Tractor to Table,” USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has organized a session at this years Agricultural Outlook Forum addressing how the increase in consumer participation in the nutrition assistance programs has expanded FNS’ role not only among families but also in the marketplace.  This session will explore the existing and new opportunities that now exist for food distributors, manufactures, retailers, and consumers.  Speakers include: Cathleen Enright, Vice President Federal Government Affairs, Western Growers Association;  Scott Faber, Vice President, Federal Affairs, Grocery Manufacturers Association; Jim Weill, President, Food Research and Action Center.  Julie Paradis, Administrator, USDA Food and Nutrition Service, will moderate the session. Read more »

APHIS: Rescuing Suffering Animals

Apollo after

Apollo the tiger after being confiscated by APHIS

Each year, APHIS protects millions of animals nationwide that are covered by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).  The Act, and accompanying regulations developed by APHIS, set Federal standards of care for animals that are bred at the wholesale level, used in research, transported commercially, or exhibited to the public.  Under the law, APHIS has the authority and obligation to confiscate any AWA-regulated animal that is in a condition of unrelieved suffering. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack Addresses Nebraska Students and Ag Industry Leaders-Says Rural America is Leading the Way in Biofuels Research

In an address last month to students of the Peter Kiewit Institute and members of Nebraska’s agriculture industry, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack cited numerous examples of how USDA is meeting President Obama’s challenge to Americans to “out innovate, out educate and out build the competition.”

The Peter Kiewit Institute offers academic programs from both the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Engineering and the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s College of Information Science and Technology. Although the correlation between the Institute and the Department of Agriculture may not be immediately evident, Vilsack’s remarks quickly painted a picture of two entities with a common goal — success through innovation and technology. Read more »

U.S. Agribusinesses on Trade Mission to Peru-Ecuador Look Forward to Making Sales, Forming Partnerships

Last week in his State of the Union address, President Obama talked about re-inventing our country “to make America the best place on Earth to do business.” He talked about creating new jobs and industries to re-energize our economy. He talked about the goal of doubling exports by the close of 2014 because the more we export the more jobs we create here at home.

Here at USDA, we are working every day to answer the President’s call. That is why I arrived in Lima, Peru, over the weekend to lead 20 U.S. agribusinesses on a trade and investment mission to develop business ties and explore opportunities for joint ventures with some 150 Peruvian and Ecuadorian companies. These U.S. companies represent the full range of food and agricultural products from bulk commodities to consumer-ready food products. Read more »