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U.S., Canada and Mexico Provide Comparable Agricultural Statistics Online

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 the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Have you ever wondered how American agriculture compares with farming in our neighboring countries to the north and south? In today’s global economy, many people seek information about farmers, farmland and the production of food and other agricultural products around the world. A tripartite committee of agricultural statistical agencies in Mexico, Canada and the United States has launched a new website to make the comparison among the three North American nations easier. Read more »

Check Your Steps! SEPARATE Raw Meats from Other Foods to Keep Your Family Safer From Food Poisoning

For the past two Tuesdays as part of the Food Safe Families campaign, I’ve blogged about two basic food safety steps that are important but easy to implement in your food prep routine—cook and clean. Today, I’m going to focus on preventing a sneaky food safety hazard that can happen at many points between purchasing and eating food: cross-contamination.

Cross-contamination occurs when juices from uncooked foods come in contact with safely cooked foods, or with other raw foods that don’t need to be cooked, like fruits and vegetables. The juices from some raw foods, like meats and seafood, can contain harmful bacteria that could make you and your family sick. Read more »

White House Launches Rural America Champions of Change Website

On Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2011, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack attended a meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, with President Barack Obama, the President's Domestic Policy Adviser Melody Barnes and rural communities leaders from across the country for the White House Rural Champions of Change event. The purpose of this meeting is to strengthen rural communities and promote economic growth. Prior to coming here, they were posed with a question about, what should/should not the government be doing to strengthen rural communities and promote economic growth. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

On Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2011, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack attended a meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, with President Barack Obama, the President's Domestic Policy Adviser Melody Barnes and rural communities leaders from across the country for the White House Rural Champions of Change event. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

As chair of the recently established White House Rural Council, I want to make sure you take a look at a new web page that went live on the White House Champions of Change website.  It is focused on the meeting that was held at the White House on July 6, with President Obama, myself and 18 Rural Champions from across 14 states.  The new site features blogs and short video clips from participants about the meeting.  I hope that you’ll take a moment to check it out: http://www.whitehouse.gov/champions. Read more »

A Church in Phoenix Opens its Doors to Access Food

A young SNAP recipient eats at the Help 4 Kidz Café while his parents apply for SNAP with the help of a volunteer case manager.

A young SNAP recipient eats at the Help 4 Kidz Café while his parents apply for SNAP with the help of a volunteer case manager.

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

For families in Phoenix, Arizona, buying groceries through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and putting needed nutrition assistance on the kitchen table just got a little easier. Thanks to Reverend Eve Nuñez, a new SNAP access location opened earlier this spring to assist Phoenix’s Hispanic community apply for SNAP. Through the Help 4 Kidz organization and Love International Church, more than 700 families have already gotten help in putting food on the table. Read more »

USDA Celebrates North American Indian Days

Ross Racine, Intertribal Agriculture Council executive director, and Undersecretary Ed Avalos, attend the 60th Annual North American Indian Days Celebration on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana on July 8.

Ross Racine, Intertribal Agriculture Council executive director, and Undersecretary Ed Avalos, attend the 60th Annual North American Indian Days Celebration on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana on July 8.

The view of teepees and campers across the countryside, the enticing aroma of food and the distant beat of the drums were all part of the North American Indian Days celebration.  I was in Browning – home of the Blackfeet Nation to listen and learn about agriculture in Indian Country.  On the Blackfeet Nation there are 22,000 cows, 300,000 acres of grain crops, 17,000 acres of irrigated hay and grain, and over 360 Indian producers. Read more »

Missouri USDA Rural Development State Director Pitches in for Feds Feed Families Effort

USDA Rural Development State Director for Missouri Anita J. (Janie) Dunning with food donation to Feds Feed Families.

USDA Rural Development State Director for Missouri Anita J. (Janie) Dunning with food donation to Feds Feed Families.

The Feds Feed Families (FFF) drive is a great opportunity for all of us to give something to those who are less fortunate.  I accepted the challenge and went out Saturday morning and did some shopping and loaded up 285 pounds of food.   It was actually quite fun to think about what someone might like to have but even more importantly the smiles it will put on their faces when they have some food in their tummies. Read more »