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Secretary’s Column: Three Years of Accomplishments

As we begin the year, I want to share with you a few numbers that help measure USDA’s impact for America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities over the past three years:

  • To help keep American agriculture profitable and keep farmers on the farm, USDA maintained a strong safety net.  Over the past three years, our crop insurance program has paid out about $16.2 billion to more than 325,000 farmers who lost crops to natural disasters.  Other programs have provided nearly $3.5 billion in aid to help more than 250,000 farmers and ranchers recover from natural disasters. Read more »

USDA Trade Missions Rack Up Millions in Sales for U.S. Businesses

Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, tours the Hom Wet Market in Hanoi, Vietnam with Foreign Agricultural Service Acting Administrator Sue Heinen (center) and USDA’s Agricultural Counselor to Vietnam Jeanne Bailey (right). There, they were able to see some Vietnam’s local produce including rambutan and dragon fruit. This was one of many stops on the first-ever USDA agricultural trade mission to Vietnam, which Scuse led in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City Sep. 25-20, 2011 Photo By Le Nguyen-Binh

Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, tours the Hom Wet Market in Hanoi, Vietnam with Foreign Agricultural Service Acting Administrator Sue Heinen (center) and USDA’s Agricultural Counselor to Vietnam Jeanne Bailey (right). There, they were able to see some Vietnam’s local produce including rambutan and dragon fruit. This was one of many stops on the first-ever USDA agricultural trade mission to Vietnam, which Scuse led in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City Sep. 25-20, 2011 Photo By Le Nguyen-Binh

Under the Obama Administration, USDA has continued to expand markets for American goods abroad, worked aggressively to break down barriers to trade, and assisted U.S. businesses with the resources needed to reach consumers around the world. And by organizing and executing agricultural trade missions, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is helping U.S. businesses reach the 95-percent of consumers who live outside the United States. Read more »

“We Can’t Wait” to Intern

Those who know me well know that I am an overzealous networker. I began my USDA experience in summer 2010 as a legislative and public affairs intern in the Rural Development mission area of USDA. While there, I was able to write press releases and blogs that were featured on the USDA website, attend agency hearings on the Hill, and make connections with a lot of great people.

My internship opportunities have allowed me to gain valuable work experience, ultimately leading to my current role in USDA’s Office of Communications. Read more »

Protecting Natural Resources Impacted by Tourism in Chile

The sunrise over Lago Cucao with Chiloe National Park on the left shoulder of the slopes in background.  Photo courtesy of Michael Olwyler.

The sunrise over Lago Cucao with Chiloe National Park on the left shoulder of the slopes in background. Photo courtesy of Michael Olwyler.

Patagonia, Chile is known for its spectacular views, amazing scenery and great fly fishing.  The area attracts 2 million tourists annually. But only 20 percent of Chile’s natural resources are protected.  Chilean stakeholders recently partnered with the U.S. Forest Service and the State Department to develop tourism in concert with land management practices. Read more »

New Forest Service Wind Power Facility to Boost Vermont Economy

Reduced Turbines on Western Ridge, Harriman Reservoir, Vermont. Photo courtesy of Iberdrola Renewables.

Reduced Turbines on Western Ridge, Harriman Reservoir, Vermont. Photo courtesy of Iberdrola Renewables.

The U.S. Forest Service has approved construction of a wind energy facility on the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont. Read more »

Teaming Up to Support Rural Community Colleges

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack welcomes  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as he enters the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the Education Stakeholders Organization meeting held at the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Nov. 6, 2009.

Secretary Duncan, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and their agencies are working together to support community colleges as they provide postsecondary education and career training in rural areas.

Cross posted from the Department of Education blog:

It’s no secret that community colleges are leading the way to achieving the President’s goal for the United States to once again have the highest college attainment rate in the world by 2020. Community colleges are hubs for career-training, re-training, adult education and for recent high school graduates seeking a pathway into the careers of their choice. Read more »