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Conscientious Objectors Play Important Role in Smoke Jumping During World War II

Jumping out of planes via parachutes to put out remote wildland forest fires isn’t your typical American job and it isn’t for the faint of heart. Since 1939, the technique called smoke jumping has attracted physically fit, courageous and adventurous firefighters and has helped keep communities safe.

By the 1940s, the smoke jumping program was a valuable asset to the U.S. Forest Service.  Unfortunately, with the country’s men drafted during World War II, the Forest Service experienced a significant loss in federal personnel which impacted the fire program. Read more »

US Forest Service team receives Gold Smokey Bear Award in Wisconsin

Regional Forester Chuck Myers of the U.S. Forest Service's Eastern Region presented the Gold Smokey Bear Award to Fern Shupeck, executive director of the Betty Brinn Children's Museum in Milwaukee Sept. 27.

Regional Forester Chuck Myers of the U.S. Forest Service's Eastern Region presented the Gold Smokey Bear Award to Fern Shupeck, executive director of the Betty Brinn Children's Museum in Milwaukee Sept. 27.

An exciting and interactive exhibit has reached more than 400,000 museum goers across the country and has been given the highest national award for fire prevention activities. Read more »

Everyday is a Learning Opportunity for APHIS Veterinarian

Hello, I’m Dr. Suelee Robbe Austerman.  I work at USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. 

Agriculture has always been my first love.  I grew up on a ranch, but like many girls of my generation, there were limited opportunities to become part of the operation.  During college, I fell in love with veterinary medicine – as I could combine my interests in agriculture and science.  I spent my first six years out of vet school in large animal practice in South Dakota.  Then, I taught food supply veterinary medicine at Iowa State while working on my Masters and PhD.  While working on my PhD, I joined USDA’s Agriculture Research Service working on Johne’s disease. Read more »

Shirley Brown Wins USDA’s Annual Chili Challenge

At the 2011 Hispanic Heritage Food Fiesta, Shirley Brown was named this year’s “Chili Champion.” Reigning champion Randolph Wilkinson will pass on the famous sterling silver chili bowl trophy, which is annually engraved to display the victor of each year’s challenge. As a chili connoisseur, Shirley Brown was ecstatic when announced as winner. She understands that the US Department of Agriculture takes chili seriously.

Despite being a great opportunity to socialize and taste a variety of chili recipes (from white chili to spicy chili with jalapeño corn bread) the Chili Challenge is more than just a friendly competition. Standing as a tradition within the USDA since 2003, the Annual Chili Challenge is intended to bring together participating individuals of diverse cultures and backgrounds to share in a spirit of fellowship. This year’s event was a success. Ten chefs brought their homemade chilis for the enjoyment of USDA employees. The event also hosted the Black Minority Employee Organization, Organization of Professional Employees at USDA, Blacks in Government, and Federally Employed Women, all of which gathered around the Whitten Patio to celebrate our diversity and commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month. Read more »

Going to the Source—FAS International Staff Experience U.S. Agriculture Firsthand

LES participants Amit Aradhey (India), Jennifer Wilson (United Kingdom), Fana Sylla (Senegal), Junyang Jiang (China), and Asmat Raza (Pakistan) discuss cattle feed with Jim Rohe while on a tour of the Rohe Dairy Farm in Freeport, MN.  LES participants Amit Aradhey (India), Jennifer Wilson (United Kingdom), Fana Sylla (Senegal), Junyang Jiang (China), and Asmat Raza (Pakistan) discuss cattle feed with Jim Rohe while on a tour of the Rohe Dairy Farm in Freeport, MN.

LES participants Amit Aradhey (India), Jennifer Wilson (United Kingdom), Fana Sylla (Senegal), Junyang Jiang (China), and Asmat Raza (Pakistan) discuss cattle feed with Jim Rohe while on a tour of the Rohe Dairy Farm in Freeport, MN.

Some of USDA’s international employees were in the United States last month, exchanging information with their stateside counterparts and learning firsthand how U.S. agricultural systems and processes work. Read more »

Faith-based Partner Puts Healthy Food Within Seniors’ Reach

In 2009, thousands of seniors experienced hunger in Ohio because they didn’t know about USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This means they are at risk for food insecurity and malnutrition. For many years now, eligible seniors across America have not participated in SNAP, so when I heard Toledo Area Ministries (TAM) was out in the community helping change that, I had to learn more.

Since receiving a three-year USDA SNAP outreach grant in 2009, TAM has partnered with Lucas County Jobs and Family Services (LCJFS) to identify and enroll eligible seniors in SNAP. LCJFS provides the critical data to target outreach efforts, and TAM goes out into the community to find underserved seniors. The result? Fewer hungry seniors in Lucas County. Read more »