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

FAS-Supported Project Helps Pakistani Farmers Reach Modern Markets

A Pakistani farmer from the Balochistan Province picks grapes. With the help of the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Food for Progress program, Winrock International partnered with the Safina Cold Store to provide an in-kind grant of modern equipment and remodel the facilities — upgrading the cold store to a modern storage facility for locally produced apples, grapes, pomegranates and dates throughout the year.  (Courtesy Photo)

A Pakistani farmer from the Balochistan Province picks grapes. With the help of the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Food for Progress program, Winrock International partnered with the Safina Cold Store to provide an in-kind grant of modern equipment and remodel the facilities — upgrading the cold store to a modern storage facility for locally produced apples, grapes, pomegranates and dates throughout the year. (Courtesy Photo)

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) partners with a variety of non-profit groups, cooperatives and international organizations to promote food security and develop agricultural capacity in countries around the world. Recently, I had a chance to read a report that highlights the successful partnership between FAS and Winrock International in Pakistan that I wanted to share with blog readers. Read more »

The International Influences of Cinco de Mayo Favorites

Learn about some Cinco de Mayo staples by exploring our infographic (click for larger version).

Learn about some Cinco de Mayo staples by exploring our infographic (click for larger version).

Cinco de Mayo is more than a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage.  With its American roots planted during the Civil War, the fifth of May is also a celebration of freedom and victory over odds.  Over the years the holiday has become more mainstream, with celebrations that bring together music, art and cuisine shaped by the rich culture and international influences of Mexico and Latin America. Read more »

A ‘Wild’ Experience with the Forest Service

With the increased use of electronic devices and scheduled activities competing for children’s outdoor time, how can we strike a balance?

There’s still hope by encouraging kids to get outdoors and to experience wild things.

In March, the Klamath National Forest and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Yreka Field Office joined forces with an interactive wildlife education booth at the annual Siskiyou County Sportsmen’s Expo in Yreka, Calif. Read more »

USDA Assists in the Rebirth of the Tomato Capitol of the World

(L to R) Anne Hogya, Pittston Library Director , Thomas Williams, USDA Rural Development State Director, and Barbara Quinn, Library Board President, display artist renderings of the library expansion slated to begin this summer. USDA photos.

(L to R) Anne Hogya, Pittston Library Director, Thomas Williams, USDA Rural Development State Director, and Barbara Quinn, Library Board President, display artist renderings of the library expansion slated to begin this summer. USDA photos.

Nestled among mountain regions between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania the city of Pittston is the gateway to the Wyoming Valley. The city gained prominence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a booming coal mining center.  After experiencing many ups and downs, Pittston is experiencing a rebirth as family businesses come back to the downtown area. With local, state and federal funding from USDA Rural Development, Transportation Enhancement Grants and state gaming revenue grants, Pittston is halfway through a 20-year revitalization project that includes continued upgrades to the streetscape, library and City Hall. Read more »

Meeting our Mission – A Safer Food Supply

Cross posted from Food Safety News:

My passion for public health stems from my career as an infectious disease doctor, watching families cope with the heartbreak caused by preventable diseases, including foodborne illness.  I know what it feels like to explain to a husband in shock that the reason his wife is on life support is because of something she ate that was contaminated with a deadly pathogen.

Now, I am the Under Secretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  In my current role, I oversee dedicated USDA inspectors, scientists, veterinarians, and numerous other personnel who protect food that we eat every day.  There is nothing more fundamental than being able to feed your own family a meal that will not make you sick, or worse, put you in the hospital.

I understand that there has been a lot of confusion about a proposal by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to modernize inspection at poultry slaughter plants.

I would like to try to eliminate that confusion. Read more »

They’re Back! Count on the Cicada to Soon Be a Part of Your Springtime Experience

The adult periodical cicada emerges from its 17-year nymph stage, molts and arises as a winged adult. This spring will see the return of the large, colorful, fly-like bugs with large eyes and tented wings. (U.S. Forest Service photo/ Bob Rabaglia)

The adult periodical cicada emerges from its 17-year nymph stage, molts and arises as a winged adult. This spring will see the return of the large, colorful, fly-like bugs with large eyes and tented wings. (U.S. Forest Service photo/ Bob Rabaglia)

The buzz this spring has started, and some people may think it’s fodder for a new sci-fi movie. But this year’s spring brings a drama closer to home than you think – the pending emergence of brood II of the periodical cicada.

Cicadas are large, colorful, fly-like bugs with large eyes and tented wings. As the male cicadas sing their intense mating songs, some brand it as the sound of summer. Read more »