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Kansas High School Student Meets with Mozambique Ambassador to Discuss Food Aid

It isn’t every day that a student from Sabetha, Kansas gets a chance to meet an international diplomat, but last Wednesday wasn’t just any other day. That’s when students representing Grains for Hope, a non-profit organization committed to providing populations in need with fortified grain product, attended the International Food Aid and Development Conference in Kansas City, Mo. On Wednesday, one of those students met with Mozambique Ambassador to the United States Amelia Matos Sumbana who was also in Kansas City for the conference. The Ambassador’s participation in the conference provided a unique opportunity for the student and her teacher Carol Spangler to talk directly with the Ambassador about Grains for Hope. Read more »

Dr. Jose Lozada on World Veterinary Year 2011

Hello, I’m Dr. Jose Lozada. I joined the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in 2005 as a field veterinarian in Puerto Rico and, after a year and a half with the agency, I took my current position with the Veterinary Regulatory Support.

My job here is providing risk advice to our Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance officers, to help them prioritize activities and justify seizures and recalls to prevent foreign animal diseases from entering the United States. I also participate in the Military Agricultural Preclearance Program, ran jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense. Read more »

US Forest Service Helps Young Adults Bring Awareness to National Forests Though a Cross-Country Adventure

The original slogan of the trekking group GreenXC read: Share a Ride, Tell a Story, Save a Park. Now they added and a National Forest (as in the U.S. Forest Service). This is because these young folks (all under 30), embarking on this bold transnational ride-share journey that departs July 27th, have broadened the focus of its environmental protection campaign to include the myriad of issues facing the U.S. Forest Service and the national forest system.

One of their stops will include the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Lab, in Madison, WI. The group will tour the world renowned lab and learn a great deal about the science of forestry. Aside from driving through many northern forests including the Gallatin, north of Yellowstone, and Mt Hood in OR, GreenXC will visit in California the oldest living and tallest trees in the world at the Inyo and Sequoia national forests respectively. Read more »

Board of Water and Soil Resources Celebrates 25 years of Re-Invest in Minnesota

For 25 years, the conservationists at the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources’ (BWSR) have been cleaning the state’s water, improving soil productivity and restoring wildlife habitat on private lands.

And for much of that time, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has been a partner to the state agency.

Working together with local offices, the two agencies assist private landowners with conservation practices that reduce soil erosion, improve water cleanliness and enhance habitat in Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. Read more »

AMS Releases User-Friendly Organic Market News Report

Producers of organically-grown poultry and eggs will now find it easier to access market information about their segment of the organic industry with the release of a new user-friendly Market News report launched this week by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

The weekly report offers a summary of the production, wholesale, and retail featuring for certified organic poultry and eggs across the United States.

Specific production information includes head count and average weight of organic poultry slaughtered under federal inspection, estimated egg production, and organic shell egg inventory for the previous week. Wholesale data include sales of organic brown eggs and young chicken parts. Read more »

Working Side-by-Side, Pennsylvania Families Build a Community

In a small, quaint housing development in south-central Pennsylvania, families are constructing new homes with the help of a unique government program.  USDA Rural Development’s Self-Help Housing Program provides mortgage financing to homeowners and a technical assistance grant to a non-profit agency, in this case, Interfaith Housing Alliance. Interfaith supervises the homeowners who do much of the building of their own homes.  On June 24th, another six homeowners moved into the 39-lot subdivision.

New homeowner Latia Reed considers the program a gift to her family. She credits her son as her inspiration and strength, and the reason she wanted to accomplish the goal of homeownership.  Although the work load was heavy, Reed feels the project was one of the greatest experiences of her life time. Read more »