Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Focusing on the Future of Food Assistance

USDA’s food assistance and development programs serve a dual purpose: to meet the immediate needs of hungry people, and to show their countries how to rejuvenate their agricultural sectors and increase their capacity to trade. We accomplish these goals in cooperation with other U.S. government agencies and with private-sector partners ranging from non-governmental organizations to research institutions to agribusinesses. And we are always looking for ways to be more effective.

So this week, at the International Food Aid and Development Conference (IFADC) in Kansas City, we got back to basics, discussing steps we are taking to operate our international aid programs more efficiently to ensure that program dollars go directly to eliminating hunger and poverty. We focused on how USDA can strengthen our partnerships with academia and international relief and development groups, as well as with local and international companies. After all, these organizations have the know-how and expertise that allows USDA to leverage limited funding to make a broad and enduring impact. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: “The Peoples’ Department: 150 Years of USDA”

On May 15, we will recognize the 150th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  On that date in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act of Congress establishing USDA.

Two and a half years after he established the Department, in what would be his final annual message to Congress, Lincoln called USDA “The People’s Department.”

President Lincoln knew the importance of agriculture to our prosperity – particularly at a time when about half of all Americans lived on the farm. And while that number today stands at about 2 percent, our values are still rooted in rural America. Read more »

Commemorating 150 Years at USDA – Join a Live Twitter Chat with Secretary Vilsack and #AskUSDA

Did you know USDA brings Thanksgiving dinner to our troops serving abroad?
Did you know that USDA is
responsible for fabric testing, including creating flame-retardant finishes used on products like firefighters’ uniforms and military clothing and children’s pajamas?
Did you know 1 in 5 Americans drink H2O that originated on a national forest?

Read more »

Let’s Move Farmers to Schools!

First-hand experiences with agriculture are a key component of farm to school programs.

First-hand experiences with agriculture are a key component of farm to school programs.

Webinar Offers More Details on USDA Grants to Connect Schools and Local Producers

I’ve always thought the Let’s Move! initiative does an exceptional job of including everyone in the challenge of creating a healthier generation of kids. On the agriculture side, I’m pleased to say there’s a long list of folks eager to contribute: farmers, ranchers, fishermen, dairies, food processors, manufacturers, distributors and many others. Read more »

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 »