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Kenya Borlaug Fellow Gains Insight on Helping Local Farmers

“Our dream is to be part of upgrading the living standards of small-scale farmers who produce the foods that go into Azuri products, in a sustainable and profitable way,”  —Tei Mukunya, CEO of Azuri Health Limited, Kenya

A common challenge among small-scale farmers in developing countries is getting their products from the farm to markets. Tei Mukunya, the CEO of a health foods company in Kenya, believes her recent participation in USDA’s Borlaug Fellowship Program will help her address this issue in her country.

For nearly 10 years, the Borlaug program has helped developing countries strengthen sustainable agricultural practices by providing U.S.-based training and research opportunities to visiting agricultural policymakers and researchers. Mukunya recently finished a 12-week fellowship at Michigan State University to study the latest solar drying technology. Her company uses the technology to make organic health foods. Read more »

Painting American Agriculture by Numbers

2013 is the International Year of Statistics. As part of this global event, every month this year USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will profile careers of individuals who are making significant contributions to improve agricultural statistics in the United States.

I arrived at my present position, an agricultural statistician responsible for analyzing demographic data, by a rather circuitous route. I majored in History and German at Rice University in Houston, Texas. I knew I wanted to explore a different society and see another part of the world, so after I graduated from college, I joined the Peace Corps.  I was stationed in Cameroon for two years. That experience gave me a strong desire to be involved in international development activities. After returning to the United States, I attended graduate school at the University of Illinois and Stanford University, where I obtained degrees in Agricultural Economics. My studies involved several statistics courses, so when my interests turned closer to home, I was able to find a position with the National Agricultural Statistics Service using those skills I had gained along the way. Read more »

Acting Under Secretary Discusses USDA’s Role in Building Support for Aviation Biofuels

Representatives in aviation, academia, policy organizations, city, state and federal government and national governmental organizations met last week in Chicago to release recommendations and findings from MASBI - the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative.  Acting Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien addressed the group concerning USDA’s contributions to the effort to develop “drop in” aviation biofuel from renewable feedstocks. Photo courtesy of Meg Whitty, United Airlines. Used with permission.

Representatives in aviation, academia, policy organizations, city, state and federal government and national governmental organizations met last week in Chicago to release recommendations and findings from MASBI - the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative. Acting Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien addressed the group concerning USDA’s contributions to the effort to develop “drop in” aviation biofuel from renewable feedstocks. Photo courtesy of Meg Whitty, United Airlines. Used with permission.

Last week, in Chicago, I had the honor to hear from and meet some of the leaders in the nation’s aviation industry as they assembled to issue a new report showing a clear path toward cleaner, more economical and more secure energy alternatives through the increased use of advanced aviation biofuels developed in the Midwest.

Representatives in aviation, academia, policy organizations, city, state and federal government and National governmental organizations met to release recommendations and findings from MASBI – the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative. Read more »