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Foreign Officials See Agricultural Diversity of the Pacific Northwest

Katsuhiro Saka of Japan (left) thanks Steve Sakuma (right) of Sakuma Brothers Farms for hosting the tour at his fruit operation.  Steve raises strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.

Katsuhiro Saka of Japan (left) thanks Steve Sakuma (right) of Sakuma Brothers Farms for hosting the tour at his fruit operation. Steve raises strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.

This week, I am taking 21 representatives of foreign embassies in our nation’s capital to Washington state and Oregon for the Foreign Agricultural Service’s 26th annual orientation tour. These representatives are from Angola, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Fiji, France, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, and Switzerland. Their expertise ranges from agricultural to environmental affairs and economic to commercial affairs. Read more »

Local Economy Sees Big Benefits from Recovery Act

The Davey Tree Expert Company and City of Elgin crews removed and pruned public hazard trees on streets, parks, cemeteries, and golf courses.

The Davey Tree Expert Company and City of Elgin crews removed and pruned public hazard trees on streets, parks, cemeteries, and golf courses.

In Illinois, the city of Elgin has completed a U.S. Forest Service Recovery Act-funded urban forestry project that channeled over one million dollars into the local economy.

Working with businesses such as tree service firms, nurseries, landscapers, hotels, restaurants, graphic designers, and printers, the city engaged in a successful 18-month public-private partnership effort. Read more »

Small Investments, Great Results

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.

Working in science can be a real pleasure, especially when your research translates into a life changing experience. The following note from Arion Thiboumery, Vice President of Lorentz Meats and one of the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education’s (SARE) early Graduate Student grants, submitted a very modest proposal to establish a small-meat processors working group and publish a guide of useful resources. He accomplished that and much more. Read on… Read more »

How America Creates Jobs

Agriculture  Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at the Port of Miami on Saturday, September 10, 2011 after meeting with leaders from agriculture and business industries. Photo by Ryan Holloway / Miami-Dade County

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at the Port of Miami on Saturday, September 10, 2011 after meeting with leaders from agriculture and business industries. Photo by Ryan Holloway / Miami-Dade County

Cross posted from the White House blog:

On Saturday, I visited the Port of Miami to see firsthand the success story of American agriculture and the jobs it is creating. Despite historic natural disasters, our agriculture business is booming.

Last year, almost $920 million in agricultural goods moved through the port, nearly double the amount from 2006. And this year it’s on pace to exceed that total by 8.5 percent. Those exports alone are helping support nearly 8,400 American jobs.

At the same time, the port is beginning work on a major tunnel and a deep-dredge project that will provide jobs for construction workers to keep it among the busiest in the nation. These are steps – much like those proposed by President Obama in the American Jobs Act – that are already underway to grow the economy and create jobs.

We need these types of projects across the country. We’ve got roads, bridges, rail lines and tunnels that need rebuilding and there are private companies with the equipment and know-how to do it. More than one million unemployed construction workers are ready to go to work now if both parties in Washington come together to make it happen.

Another idea in the President’s plan calls for extending the payroll tax cut for working families, putting an extra $1,500 in their pockets. This is one of the best ways to increase consumer demand — creating more work for businesses and more jobs for workers.

The President’s plan will help small businesses put people back to work by offering tax credits for each new job created. And we can give help for state and local governments to keep teachers, firefighters and other first responders on the job preparing our children for a better future and keeping our families safe.

We need to build an economy that creates jobs for the future. We need an economy that makes, innovates, and exports. Florida’s farmers do just that when they ship their products through the Port of Miami.

The American Jobs Act gives us the opportunity to embrace those principles and create jobs now. We need elected leaders in Washington to come together to hammer out a solution that benefits everyone. When they do, we’ll support job growth and build a stronger future for all Americans.

Farmers: We Need to Learn from You

Leanne Skelton, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Food Safety, FDA; Peter Furey, Executive Director, New Jersey Farm Bureau; Mike Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods, Office of Foods, FDA; Dora Hughes, Counselor for Public Health and Science Policy, Department of HHS; Sharon Natanblut, Director of Strategic Communications, Office of Foods, FDA; Ann Wright, Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, USDA; and Ronald Pace, District Director, New York District Office, FDA listen intently to farmer Bob Nolan from Deer Run Farm in Brookhaven, New York.

Leanne Skelton, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Food Safety, FDA; Peter Furey, Executive Director, New Jersey Farm Bureau; Mike Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods, Office of Foods, FDA; Dora Hughes, Counselor for Public Health and Science Policy, Department of HHS; Sharon Natanblut, Director of Strategic Communications, Office of Foods, FDA; Ann Wright, Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, USDA; and Ronald Pace, District Director, New York District Office, FDA listen intently to farmer Bob Nolan from Deer Run Farm in Brookhaven, New York.

Recently I visited the Deer Run Farm in Brookhaven, New York on a tour of farms across the nation to talk face-to-face with producers and growers about produce safety. Farmer Bob Nolan from Deer Run Farm invited us to walk through his fields so he could share with us his thoughts and concerns about how the government will shape a new produce safety rule. Read more »