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Moving Forward in the Pacific Northwest

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack of the United States Department of Agriculture explaining the American Jobs Act to a group from the Portland, OR area on Tuesday, September 27, 2011. USDA Photo by Glen Sachet.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack of the United States Department of Agriculture explaining the American Jobs Act to a group from the Portland, OR area on Tuesday, September 27, 2011. USDA Photo by Glen Sachet.

I recently had the privilege of accompanying Secretary Vilsack at one of a series of White House Business Roundtables in Portland, Oregon. There, I met a diverse group of men and women representing a variety of business interests including food production, building construction, banking, equipment manufacturing, and renewable energy.  As part of the discussion, Secretary Vilsack shared the framework for the American Jobs Act – employing people now, building a platform for sustainable growth, and getting our fiscal house in order.    Read more »

Secretary Vilsack Goes West


Secretary Vilsack discusses the American Jobs Act at the Port of Sacramento

Secretary Vilsack discusses the American Jobs Act at the Port of Sacramento

USDA Secretary Vilsack had a busy Monday in California, making six stops to hold a business leader’s roundtable, promote the American Jobs Act, encourage Americans to “Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables,” meet with California agricultural commodity leaders and to drop in at the USDA state office in Davis for a visit with employees. He kicked off his day in California’s Central Valley by conducting a White House Business Council breakfast meeting with state and local business leaders. There, the Secretary heard directly from business leaders about their ideas to grow the economy. Read more »

Connecting with Students, Shaping the Future of Agriculture

Fresno State University students Caitlin Guest (far left), Aki Dionisopoulos (center), and Amanda Jo Bettencourt (right) receive plaques from AMS.   These students were the 2011 recipients of the AMS Assistantship.  All three currently work with AMS.

Fresno State University students Caitlin Guest (far left), Aki Dionisopoulos (center), and Amanda Jo Bettencourt (right) receive plaques from AMS. These students were the 2011 recipients of the AMS Assistantship. All three currently work with AMS.

Fall is just around the corner and students across the country are back in school. At the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), we are looking forward to our own school year activities. Read more »

Bringing Fresh Food to Hartford, Connecticut

MRP Under Secretary Edward Avalos with Bob Pellegrino, Director of Marketing, Connecticut Department of Agriculture at the Billings Forge Farmers Market, Hartford, CT.”

MRP Under Secretary Edward Avalos with Bob Pellegrino, Director of Marketing, Connecticut Department of Agriculture at the Billings Forge Farmers Market, Hartford, CT.

During my recent visit to Hartford, I toured the historic Billings Forge Farmers Market, which featured an assortment of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, baking foods, cheeses, meats and numerous other healthy foods.  Located in a food desert, the market positively compliments the “Bodegas” by providing WIC eligible food products. Read more »

Chinese Officials Learn About U.S. Soybean Industry in Week-long Agriculture Tour

The maintenance manager at Continental Grain & Barge (CGB) in Utica, Illinois explains how storage is done at their soybean facility.

The maintenance manager at Continental Grain & Barge (CGB) in Utica, Illinois explains how storage is done at their soybean facility.

Last week, six officials from China’s Ministry of Agriculture arrived in America’s heartland to begin an in-depth exploration of the workings of the U.S. soybean industry. Read more »

Youth Conservation Crew Clears a Path for Outdoor Learning in South Carolina

Forest Service Hydrology Technician Jay Swafford describes some of the unusual trail features the school envisions for the future.

Forest Service Hydrology Technician Jay Swafford describes some of the unusual trail features the school envisions for the future.

In today’s technological society, children have retreated from outdoor activities — bike riding, tree climbing or clinging to a rope swing to drop into a river -towards entirely virtual activities, indoor adventures at the end of a power cord.

A few years ago, researchers and educators gave this trend a name: nature deficit disorder. Read more »