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Diversity within a South Dakota Rural Community

USDA Rural Development in South Dakota is interested in learning about and working with other cultures.  To enhance employee understanding, Mark Heuston, Director of Human Resources with Dakota Provisions, a turkey processing firm, was invited to USDA offices recently to make a presentation on the topic of diversity.

Dakota Provisions talent and expertise on working with diverse groups from several cultures is becoming well known throughout the South Dakota business world.  Most notable, is their success in recruiting Myanmar (Burmese) immigrants, “The Karen” to work in various positions throughout the processing plant located in Huron, SD.

The Karens are members of indigenous minority ethnic groups which reside primarily in southern and southeastern Myanmar. Some members have come to the United States recently.   Mr. Heuston educated staff on the Karen culture, the intricate process involved with them leaving Myanmar, and the transition to a life of personal enrichment in the United States – work, home, family, church, and community. Read more »

Birdstrikes at Homestead Air Force Base Down 90% Thanks to USDA

The mission of USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services is to provide expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts and allow people and wildlife to coexist.  During my recent trip to South Florida I toured Homestead Airbase and learned firsthand about an extremely valuable service provided by APHIS-WS that most folks are not familiar with.

The APHIS-WS team provides recommendations on habitat conditions and wildlife management techniques that help reduce wildlife hazards to aviation.  As a result, birdstrikes at Homestead have been reduced by over 90%.  This valuable service continues to protect the aviators and 26 F-16 Fighter jets housed there. Read more »