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Afghan Borlaug Fellows Receive Executive Training

Dennis Timlin (far right) of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) spoke with the 12 Borlaug Fellows from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) about the Global Climate Change Lab at the ARS facility in Beltsville, Md. on Wednesday. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Dennis Timlin (far right) of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) spoke with the 12 Borlaug Fellows from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) about the Global Climate Change Lab at the ARS facility in Beltsville, Md. on Wednesday. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Some of Afghanistan’s best and brightest agricultural officials are in the United States this month receiving training that will benefit their country for years to come.

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Secretary’s Column: Lessons from the Farm to Strengthen America

A week ago, President Obama released the American Jobs Act, a specific plan to jumpstart our economy and put Americans to work today.  It contains ideas that both parties in Washington have supported.  And yesterday, he laid out a plan that will pay for it – and for other long-term investments we need to stay competitive – while reducing our deficits.

The plan takes a balanced approach.  It looks for savings across government.  And it asks everyone to do their part and pay their fair share so we can live within our means.

For agriculture, the plan focuses on what the President and I believe is one of the most pressing challenges facing producers right now: maintaining a strong safety net and disaster assistance programs that will work for all farmers and ranchers, no matter what they produce or where they produce it. Read more »

Partnership with USDA Saves County $10,000 While Providing 8,700 Pounds of Food

Farm Service Agency, FSA, People’s Garden

Farm Service Agency, FSA, People’s Garden

A four-acre plot of land has saved one Kentucky county thousands of dollars while helping to feed hungry families. Read more »

National Fire Plan Funds Support Maine’s Defensible Space Chipping Program

Two-thirds of Maine’s population or about 780,000 residents live in the “wildland-urban interface.”  In these areas structures intermingle with natural vegetation, and wildfire threatens lives, homes, and property.

The Maine Forest Service’s Division of Forest Protection established a Wildland-Urban Interface Committee in 2004 to facilitate completion of Community Wildfire Protections Plans in these areas. More than 4,500 homes were assessed to determine their risk factors. Of the homes surveyed, 88 percent were at “extreme” or “high” risk of ignition in a wildfire because of fuels buildup. Read more »

South Dakota Transformers

No, no, the subject doesn’t have any connection to two children’s movies titled “Transformers” or “Toy Story”.  It does, however, pertain to an engaging session that was held among South Dakota staff to broaden their understanding of cultural transformation.

The sessions were led by two dynamic facilitators, Joanna Donahue and Vickie Oldman-John who assisted staff with gaining a better understanding of cultural transformation.  Read more »

In the Lab, Dr. Beverly Schmitt Makes it Happen

I’m Dr. Beverly Schmitt.  I work for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, where I’m the Director of the Diagnostic Virology Lab (DVL).  I’ve been with NVSL for 19 years.  Before I came to APHIS, I served as the virology lab manager at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Veterinary Diagnostic Center.

Becoming a veterinarian was a gradual process for me.  When I was growing up, there was a vet who routinely came to our family farm.  I respected the work he did and liked working with animals, so I eventually looked into becoming a veterinary technician, and then made the decision to try to get into veterinary school. Read more »