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Calling All Students: Enter the Ending Childhood Hunger Video Contest!

Two elementary school students enjoy a safe and nutritious meal through USDA’s National School Lunch Program.

Two elementary school students enjoy a safe and nutritious meal through USDA’s National School Lunch Program.

We often talk about how important it is for different groups including schools, nonprofits, corporations, faith communities, and others to work together end childhood hunger.  Many times children and youth are left off that list, but not today! This is your chance to get involved. We’re calling on all students, grades 1-12, to answer the question: How can you help to end childhood hunger in your community? Read more »

Restoring Wetlands and Protecting History at the Same Time

Great Blue Heron uses restored wetland habitat near a significant archeological site in Yell County, Arkansas

Great Blue Heron uses restored wetland habitat near a significant archeological site in Yell County, Arkansas

A USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) project designed to alleviate crop losses from flooding and restore wetlands along the Arkansas and Petit Jean Rivers is also protecting a significant archeological site in Yell County, Arkansas. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack Honors USDA Employees for Service in Iraq and Afghanistan

Patrick Broyles, a U.S. Department of Agriculture employee, cleans a locally grown potato Dec. 18, 2008, during a visit to a new irrigation project in Muehlah, Iraq. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Wendy Wyman/Released)

Patrick Broyles, a U.S. Department of Agriculture employee, cleans a locally grown potato Dec. 18, 2008, during a visit to a new irrigation project in Muehlah, Iraq. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Wendy Wyman/Released)

Since 2003, more than 200 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) employees have sacrificed months – sometimes years – away from loved ones to live and work in war zones, voluntarily lending their skills and knowledge toward the betterment of people halfway around the world.

On Monday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack honored nearly 70 of these men and women, all of whom have returned from serving as agricultural experts in Iraq or Afghanistan in the past year. These employees hail from across the United States and represent several different USDA offices and agencies. In their roles as agricultural advisors, they have worked side-by-side with everyone from top officials with Iraq and Afghanistan’s ministries of agriculture to the U.S. military, from farmers, ranchers and students to widows and children. Read more »

FSIS Details Roadmap of Strategies, Measurable Tactics to Reduce Foodborne Illness

At two town hall meetings in Minnesota this week with Food Safety and Inspection Service employees, I had the pleasure of unveiling a new plan for food safety over the next five years. I’m very excited about our new Strategic Plan for FY 2011 through FY 2016, which will serve as the agency’s roadmap to ensuring that food produced under FSIS’ authority is safe for the American public.

This Strategic Plan should allow every single person in FSIS to have a direct line of sight between what they do every day and our objectives, and each of us should see ourselves as accountable to the public for protecting them from foodborne illnesses. We are putting forward detailed strategies and measureable tactics to reduce foodborne illness and chart our progress over the next five years, so this will serve as a foundation document for both the long-range and day-to-day operations of the Agency. Read more »

Wenatchee People’s Garden Provides Fresh Produce, Sanctuary to Community

Members of the Wenatchee Lab’s People’s Garden team—Sid Tate, volunteer; Debbie Larson, volunteer; Taylor Millican, volunteer; Anne Conway, employee; Charles Carmody, employee; and Devi Davis, volunteer—proudly showcase produce harvested from the garden on August 12, 2011. The produce pictured here was donated to Wenatchee’s Veteran’s Stand-Down, an event where community members reach out to veterans in need and their families. (U.S. Forest Service, PNW Research Station)

Members of the Wenatchee Lab’s People’s Garden team—Sid Tate, volunteer; Debbie Larson, volunteer; Taylor Millican, volunteer; Anne Conway, employee; Charles Carmody, employee; and Devi Davis, volunteer—proudly showcase produce harvested from the garden on August 12, 2011. The produce pictured here was donated to Wenatchee’s Veteran’s Stand-Down, an event where community members reach out to veterans in need and their families. (U.S. Forest Service, PNW Research Station)

The Pacific Northwest Research Station’s Wenatchee Forestry Sciences Lab started our employee-tended People’s Garden in 2010. Since that time, we’ve harvested 3,976 pounds of fruits and vegetables that we’ve donated to Wenatchee-area food banks and community organizations, providing healthy produce to families that otherwise would not have them. Our harvest this year so far has totaled 1,476 pounds. Read more »

Hitting the Trail with a Trail Crew on a national forest in Oregon

Baker City, Ore., July 2011. Hitting the trail with the Trail Crew. From left to right: Todd Robinette, Cody Powell, Nathan Tanaka and Andrew Livingston.

Baker City, Ore., July 2011. Hitting the trail with the Trail Crew. From left to right: Todd Robinette, Cody Powell, Nathan Tanaka and Andrew Livingston.

Doing more with less is a phrase we have all become accustomed to in recent years. U.S. Forest Service trail crews embody this spirit.

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend the day with a trail crew out of the Whitman district in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Half of the crew was tasked to a project on a different part of the forest, but the five of us effectively cleared three miles of trail in the foothills of the Wallowa Mountains. Read more »