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Feeding Hungry Kids Tops Perth Amboy Priorities

A youngster enjoys a crisp apple for lunch at the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development’s Mi Escuelita summer food program site in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.   More than 75 kids enjoy physical activities such as soccer and basketball followed by a free healthy lunch each day during summer thanks to the USDA Summer Food Service Program.

A youngster enjoys a crisp apple for lunch at the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development’s Mi Escuelita summer food program site in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. More than 75 kids enjoy physical activities such as soccer and basketball followed by a free healthy lunch each day during summer thanks to the USDA Summer Food Service Program.

Despite having some of the highest unemployment and home foreclosure rates in New Jersey, the city of Perth Amboy refuses to let kids go hungry over the summer.  In 2011 the city extended the Summer Food Service Program by two weeks and added 20 new feeding sites.  Through an aggressive marketing effort using local newspapers, businesses, cable TV access programming and schools to advertise site locations and activities, Perth Amboy has made providing meals to kids when school’s out a top priority. Read more »

FSA Administrator Reassures Drought-Stricken Producers in Texas

A burn scar from a recent rangeland wildfire is evident in Kleberg County Texas – more than 3 million acres of rangeland have been lost to wildfires in Texas this year.

A burn scar from a recent rangeland wildfire is evident in Kleberg County Texas – more than 3 million acres of rangeland have been lost to wildfires in Texas this year.

Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Bruce Nelson traveled to South Texas last week in the midst of the historic drought impacting most of Texas and the Southwest and adversely affecting thousands of agricultural producers. Nelson took the opportunity to visit with area farmers, ranchers and agribusiness representatives who are working hard to keep their operations going in the face of the natural disaster. He made a point to reassure everyone that Secretary Vilsack and the USDA are committed to helping affected producers. Read more »

U.S. Hosts International Meeting for the Protection of New Plant Varieties

U.S. officials and members of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants observe lettuce trials in California’s Salinas Valley.

U.S. officials and members of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants observe lettuce trials in California’s Salinas Valley.

Members of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) attended a weeklong meeting hosted by U.S. officials in Monterey, Calif.  The UPOV’s Technical Working Party for Vegetables, made up of delegates from 13 countries, was also able to observe a lettuce field-trial in the Salinas Valley. Read more »

After School Snacking

Cross posted from FoodSafety.gov:

More than 15 million school-aged children are home alone after school. That means they’ll be making their own afterschool snacks, without anyone supervising their creative concoctions. Will your kids be eating on their own during the week? If so, you might want to go over these guidelines with them—before they run straight to the refrigerator and snack mindlessly in front of the TV, with their feet on the table and the family dog in their lap. Read more »

APHIS Veterinarian Plays an Active Role in Safeguarding Animal Health

Hello, I’m Dr. Bill Huls, Facilities Manager with USDA APHIS’s Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB).  I have been with APHIS since 2002.  The CVB regulates the industry that manufacturers veterinary biological products including animal vaccines and diagnostic test kits.  I communicate with firms on a daily basis to help ensure they are maintaining compliance with federal regulations.   This includes managing documents and items that relate to those firms – things like policies and procedures used by the manufacturer to prepare their products, procedures for who enters and exits the facility, the organization and arrangement of the facilities they make their product in, etc.  I also conduct inspections of facilities that manufacture biological products.   The work performed by the CVB helps ensure both animal and human health is safeguarded.

I decided to become a veterinarian when I was 18 after spending time with a veterinary practitioner in my hometown.  Following completion of veterinary school I joined a small animal practice.  Eventually, I bought my own practice.  My practice years allowed me to have some pretty cool and challenging experiences. Read more »

Rare Puerto Rican Parrot Fights for Survival with Support from the US Forest Service

Puerto Rican Parrot, one of the 10 most endangered birds in the world.

Puerto Rican Parrot, one of the 10 most endangered birds in the world.

Deep amid the dense greenery of a rain forest, U.S. Forest Service scientists are nursing a special patient back to health.

The patient is on pain medication, but lucid enough to ruffle his emerald green feathers and fill the room with angry squawks when a biologist removes him from an incubator. It is a Puerto Rican parrot with a broken leg, a serious injury for one of the world’s most endangered bird species. Read more »