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How I Serve: The Importance of Public Service

Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden meets with USDA employees in Minnesota.

Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden meets with USDA employees in Minnesota.

Yesterday, I visited with USDA employees in Minnesota to tell them how much their work means to the Secretary, myself and the American people. USDA employees across the country and around the world do critical work that impacts millions of lives and I could not be prouder.

Folks often ask me why I work in the federal government and my answer always is: it’s how I serve. Public service is at the core of our nation’s principles. Our founding fathers performed a public service when they laid the foundation for the United States of America—as they sat down to write the Declaration of Independence and as they worked each day afterward to create and maintain a nation. Read more »

We Can’t Wait

Michael Scuse, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, listens to those impacted by the Atlas Blizzard in South Dakota.

Michael Scuse, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, listens to those impacted by the Atlas Blizzard in South Dakota.

Farmers and ranchers know many variables are sometimes not in their hands, especially when it comes to weather.  That’s why USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Senator Tim Johnson asked me to travel to South Dakota this week to see firsthand the widespread destruction to livestock in the wake of the Atlas Blizzard, and to consult with affected producers on how USDA can help right now – - despite two years of Congressional inaction on the Food, Farm and Jobs Bill.

When I joined one farmer in his living room, learning how his livestock losses, including pregnant stock, meant years of income gone, I thought of Congress, how it lurches from one crisis to the next, and how that legislative atrophy creates real consequences beyond just American farmers but for entire rural communities. Read more »

USDA Market News Mow-tivated to Add Grass Fed Reports

USDA is committed to supporting businesses of all sizes. Fostering marketplace transparency is just one of the many ways we meet this goal.

USDA is committed to supporting businesses of all sizes. Fostering marketplace transparency is just one of the many ways we meet this goal.

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service released its second USDA Market News report covering grass fed beef yesterday.  This is the first report of its kind, filling a significant data gap for the industry and increasing transparency in the marketplace.

For almost a century, USDA Market News has provided farmers, ranchers and businesses with market and pricing information.  Over the years, our reports have evolved to better meet the changing demands and needs of stakeholders who rely on our data to remain competitive. Read more »

Farm to School Helps Healthy Habits Take Root in Kids, Yields Big Results for Farmers and Ranchers

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released our first-ever Farm to School Census, and the results are promising: last school year, schools served locally-sourced foods to over 21 million students and re-invested over $350 million back into local economies.

Farm to school programs are thriving in not only rural, but also urban districts in every state, with 43 percent of public school districts reporting having a farm to school program in place and an additional 13 percent committed to launching a farm to school program in the near future. Read more »

Dallas Schools Look to Source School Meals within the State of Texas

Dallas ISD launched a Harvest of the Month program during Farm to School Month.  Each month the district’s cafeterias feature Texas grown fruits and vegetables. (Photo credit: Dallas ISD)

Dallas ISD launched a Harvest of the Month program during Farm to School Month. Each month the district’s cafeterias feature Texas grown fruits and vegetables. (Photo credit: Dallas ISD)

This post was written by USDA Farm to School Grantee Dallas Independent School District (ISD). Last November, the district became one of a cohort of 32 schools and districts across the country using USDA funds to spend a year planning a robust farm to school program, embedding best practices from the very start, and learning from their peers.

Guest post by Dora Rivas, Executive Director, Dallas ISD Food and Child Nutrition Services

The temperatures are below 95 degrees, there are high school football games every Friday night and the State Fair is in full swing – it must be October in Texas! October is also National Farm to School Month, a perfect time to reflect and celebrate all Dallas ISD Farm to School has accomplished over the last 12 months! Read more »

First African-American Smokejumpers Take their Last Jumps

L to R:  U.S. Army Sgt. Clarence H. Beavers, Triple Nickles' Association President Joe Murchison, Smokey Bear, 2nd Lt. Walter Morris and Lt. Col. Roger S. Walden visited the U. S. Forest Service in Washington, D. C., March 26, 2010.

L to R: U.S. Army Sgt. Clarence H. Beavers, Triple Nickles' Association President Joe Murchison, Smokey Bear, 2nd Lt. Walter Morris and Lt. Col. Roger S. Walden visited the U. S. Forest Service in Washington, D. C., March 26, 2010.

In the summer of 1945, a group of African-American paratroopers for the U.S. Army became smokejumpers assigned to a special Forest Service mission known as “Operation Firefly.” Also known as the Triple Nickles, they represented the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion for colored soldiers who set out to make a jump for change.

Two of these valiant, pioneering men recently passed away or “took their last jump” as the Triple Nickles Association likes to say.

Lt. Col. Roger S. Walden, 91, took his last jump on Sept. 17. Walden will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. Second Lt. Walter Morris, 92, took his last jump on Oct. 13 and was memorialized on Oct. 19 in Palm Coast, Fla. Read more »