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Emergency Watershed Protection Program Saves New Mexico Community

Assessing the Track Fire aftermath: NRCS New Mexico employee Brian Schwebke (far right), a member of the NRCS Damage Survey Report Team, and officials of the City of Raton, view a sediment pond. Assessing the Track Fire aftermath: NRCS New Mexico employee Brian Schwebke (far right), a member of the NRCS Damage Survey Report Team, and officials of the City of Raton, view a sediment pond.

Assessing the Track Fire aftermath: NRCS New Mexico employee Brian Schwebke (far right), a member of the NRCS Damage Survey Report Team, and officials of the City of Raton, view a sediment pond.

Disaster struck northern New Mexico on June 12, 2011, as the human-caused “Track Fire” exploded north of Raton, in Colfax County. Within 72 hours, 27,790 acres were scorched in New Mexico and Colorado. Luckily, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) was able to begin the restoration of the Lake Maloya watershed area almost immediately through its Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program. Read more »

USDA Welcomes Appointment of U.S. Ambassador Ertharin Cousin as the World Food Programme’s Executive Director

There is good news!  Earlier this week Ambassador Ertharin Cousin was appointed as Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme. The WFP, based in Rome, is the world’s largest humanitarian agency. Its objective is to provide food aid to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people with the intent of ultimately ending the need for food aid by eradicating hunger and poverty.

Ambassador Cousin is uniquely qualified to assume this prominent position. I have had the opportunity to spend time with her in one of the grandest cities in the world.  For more than two years, she has been living in Rome, where she has served as our country’s Representative to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome.  In this role, Ambassador Cousin has provided critical leadership in helping to carry out President Obama’s global food security policies.  She is full of energy, ideas, and optimism.  Secretary Vilsack and I greatly appreciate Ambassador Cousin’s support in fulfilling the United States’ strategic objectives with the three Rome-based U.N. agencies. We know she will bring the same level of dedication to her new role. Read more »

4-H Farmers Market Connects Oklahoma Community

Loyal Doers 4-H Club members get produce ready for their community farmers market.  The market was started by the club as a response to the needs of the community, and helps teach members the fundamentals of agriculture and community involvement.  Photo by Bradley D. James

Loyal Doers 4-H Club members get produce ready for their community farmers market. The market was started by the club as a response to the needs of the community, and helps teach members the fundamentals of agriculture and community involvement. Photo by Bradley D. James

This summer, the Loyal Doers 4-H Club in Hooker, Oklahoma, successfully held the state’s first 4-H-sponsored farmers market.  The market was a huge success, and the youth gained firsthand knowledge about growing produce and getting involved in the community.  It also helped the community connect with the farmers that produce their food while offering them a wonderful selection of fresh, wholesome products. Read more »

US Forest Service Trains Fire Brigades in the Brazilian Amazon

Fire brigades in the Brazilian Amazon listen to Scott Dehnisch, a U.S. Forest Service employee.  Photo courtesy of Forrest Behm.

Fire brigades in the Brazilian Amazon listen to Scott Dehnisch, a U.S. Forest Service employee. Photo courtesy of Forrest Behm.

Since 1991, the U.S. Forest Service has worked to develop a program focusing on improving sustainable forest management and administration, fire management and prevention and special uses in protected areas in Brazil.  The emphasis has been on exchanging experiences with a focus on critical issues such as curbing illegal logging and preserving public forests. Read more »