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North Carolina Faith Communities Eat Smart and Move More

Promoting fun physical activity, First Baptist Church in Sanford hosts an exercise class open to the entire community.

Promoting fun physical activity, First Baptist Church in Sanford hosts an exercise class open to the entire community.

 

Let’s Move Faith and Communities challenges congregations and communities to make health a priority through wellness leadership implemented in three steps: lead, organize, and take action. Fifty North Carolina faith communities are doing just that through their partnership with Faithful Families Eating Smart and Moving More. Read more »

President’s Council of Advisors Releases First Study on the Value of Agricultural Research, Declares U.S. ‘Undisputed World Leader’

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) today presented a report on the importance of USDA’s leadership in agricultural research. The Council is a diverse group of individuals appointed by the President from across the basic and applied scientific community to advise the President and the Executive Office of the President on key scientific issues.

Report to the President on Agricultural Preparedness & the Agriculture Research Enterprise, by the Council, concludes that the United States is the undisputed world leader in agricultural production today, but also cautions that U.S. agriculture also faces a number of challenges that are poised to become much more serious in the years ahead.

There is no question that the report recognizes American agriculture and USDA’s leadership in agricultural science and research as critical to the efforts to ensure greater food security and a better future for everyone. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Ensuring a Safe Food Supply for Americans

Often during the holiday season, we take time to reconnect with family and friends over a meal. We’re able to do so because hardworking folks in rural America deliver the most abundant and affordable food supply on earth.

It’s also the safest food supply – an achievement made possible by a wide range of skilled, dedicated people.

It all starts with our growers and processors, who are always asking how they can produce a safer product. They have the support of USDA staff at more than 6,000 plants around the country and at U.S. ports of entry. These experts inspect a wide range of food products before they’re sent to the grocery store. Read more »

South Dakota Local Foods Conference Supports South Dakota Producers and Resource Providers

South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks presents funds to South Dakota State University Extension for an online Local Foods Center while attending the 2012 South Dakota Local Foods Conference.  Pictured left to right, Dr. Rhoda Burrows and Chris Zdorovtsov, SDSU Extension; and State Director Meeks.

South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks presents funds to South Dakota State University Extension for an online Local Foods Center while attending the 2012 South Dakota Local Foods Conference. Pictured left to right, Dr. Rhoda Burrows and Chris Zdorovtsov, SDSU Extension; and State Director Meeks.

The second annual South Dakota Local Foods Conference was held recently to continue the dialogue on local foods among producers, consumers, farmer’s markets, retailers, schools and others.  The conference provided attendees from across the state two days of breakout sessions, networking, and instruction.

USDA Rural Development State Director, Elsie Meeks attended the conference, taking the opportunity to award South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension a Rural Business Opportunity Grant of $50,000.  The Rural Development funds will be used to build capacity in South Dakota’s local food system through the establishment of an online Local Foods Center which will create structured connections between local growers and resource providers. Read more »

Why Should Young People Care About The Farm Bill?

As young people that grew up in urban areas, it’s easy to wonder why we, or our peers, should care about the Farm Bill. The truth of the matter is, the Farm Bill affects more than just farmers.

As Congress works to pass a new Farm Bill before the end of the year, it’s crucial to make our voices heard on this important topic.

From the rural youth looking to take over the family farm to the urban gardener looking to grow fresh produce on the rooftop of their apartment building; from aspiring beginning farmers to outdoorsmen; from farmers market lovers to grocery store regulars, the Farm Bill is everywhere. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack Addresses White House Tribal Nations Conference-Unveils Sacred Sites Report

Navajo Code Talker veterans attended the 2012 Fourth Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference at the U.S. Department of Interior in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.

Navajo Code Talker veterans attended the 2012 Fourth Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference at the U.S. Department of Interior in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.

Yesterday,   it was my privilege to join other cabinet members in addressing an estimated 500 tribal members from across the United States at the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the Interior Department. Read more »