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Feeding South San Antonio Is a Labor of Love and a Product of Partnership

Food Banks across the country help millions of families in need keep their kitchen cabinets from going empty. Much of the food given out comes from donations; however USDA’s Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP, helps food banks stretch their donations by making USDA commodity foods available to local agencies. Those State agencies distribute the food to aid organizations like food banks who serve the public whether directly or via partners like churches.

This is just the dynamic in south San Antonio, Texas where low income families benefit from the strong long term partnership between the San Antonio Food Bank and South San Filadelfia Baptist Church.  The food bank supplies the church’s pantry—an integral part of getting food to families that need it the most. Read more »

Navajo Nation Veterinary Stockpile Exercise

On April 27, I was honored to accompany President Shelley of the Navajo Nation for the National Veterinary Stockpile (NVS) exercise held in Window Rock.  The NVS exercise provides countermeasures – supplies, equipment, medicine, vaccines and response support services – that states and Tribes need to respond to foreign animal disease outbreaks.

This exercise with the Navajo Nation marks the first Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)-sponsored full-scale exercise on Tribal lands.  I want to acknowledge the enthusiasm and commitment of Tribal personnel to gain experience and identify gaps, shortfalls, limitations that could impair the Navajo Nation’s ability to receive, store and distribute NVS countermeasures in a real emergency. Read more »

Deadline for DCP, ACRE Program Looming; Producers Must Enroll by June 1

The deadline for the Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program (DCP) and the Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE), is quickly approaching. Producers who have not signed up for either program have until June 1 to do so.

“Producers must be aware of these deadlines and take action,” USDA Farm Service Agency Acting Director Bruce Nelson told me. Read more »

USDA Holds Plant Variety Protection Office Board Meeting

Innovation was the buzz word during the 2011 USDA Science and Technology Plant Variety Protection Office (PVPO) Board Meeting.

The PVPO, part of the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) Science and Technology Program, gives legal intellectual property rights, similar to patents, to breeders of new varieties of plants which are produced by seeds such as corn and soybean or by tubers such as potatoes. The program protects intellectual property rights by offering certificates to owners of unique plant varieties so that they can introduce them to the marketplace.  The board, made up of a diverse group of experts in the plant variety development field, met to discuss pressing industry matters and address how the PVPO conducts its business. Read more »

U.S. Agribusinesses Shine at SIAL Canada Trade Show

Last week, I traveled to Canada – the second-largest market for U.S. agricultural products.  Wanting to see our companies promoting U.S. export sales, I attended SIAL Canada, an international trade show in Toronto, which welcomed more than 530 exhibitors and 12,000 food and agricultural business professionals from around the world.

While there, I met with the 28 American companies exhibiting in the USA pavilion, which was endorsed by USDA. Many of the companies were only able to attend the show because of support from the State Trade Regional Groups (STRGs) and the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) market development programs. Read more »

A USDA Rural Development Funded Assisted Living Facility for Older Adults Opens in Mars, Pennsylvania

Left to Right, David Fenoglietto, CEO Lutheran SeniorLife; Susan DiGiralomo, Lutheran SeniorLife; and Lambert Rosenbaum, USDA Rural Development.

Left to Right, David Fenoglietto, CEO Lutheran SeniorLife; Susan DiGiralomo, Lutheran SeniorLife; and Lambert Rosenbaum, USDA Rural Development.

USDA and Lutheran SeniorLife recently celebrated the dedication and open house of RoseCrest Assisted Living Facility. USDA Rural Development provided a $3 Million Community Facilities loan for the construction of the new state-of-the-art facility designed specifically for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia requiring memory support. Read more »