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Interpreting Data to Modernize Food Safety: Meet Dr. Joanna Zablotsky Kufel

Dr. Joanna Zablotsky Kufel discovered community and public health at Tufts University in Massachusetts. Afterwards, she worked in public health for a couple of years and then moved to Baltimore, Md., where she earned her Masters in 2003 and Ph.D. in 2009 at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “After learning all about food safety at the state and local level, I still wanted to learn more about food safety at the federal level, where you can influence food safety throughout the entire food chain,” said Dr. Zablotsky Kufel.

Dr. Zablotsky Kufel began her career with USDA as a summer intern working for the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS). Today she works as a Public Health Food Safety Analyst with FSIS, analyzing data from across FSIS gathered by inspectors in the field, and partner agencies to evaluate FSIS policies and performance. The analyses performed and reports produced allow FSIS to effectively use science and data to understand foodborne illness and emerging trends, respond to those risks and ensure that food safety inspection aligns with decreasing those risks. Read more »

Bringing Rural America Home to the Hills of the South Dakota Prairie

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rural Housing Service (RUS) Administrator Tammye Treviño visit to South Dakota to co-chair a StrikeForce meeting in Sisseton, SD, attend a Housing Fair, and visit homes and facilities financed by USDA, Rural Development (RD) as part of National Homeownership Month, on Monday, June 3, 2013. USDA photo by Tammi Schone.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rural Housing Service (RUS) Administrator Tammye Treviño visit to South Dakota to co-chair a StrikeForce meeting in Sisseton, SD, attend a Housing Fair, and visit homes and facilities financed by USDA, Rural Development (RD) as part of National Homeownership Month, on Monday, June 3, 2013. USDA photo by Tammi Schone.

With great pleasure, South Dakota hosted Tammye Trevino, USDA Rural Development’s Administrator for Housing and Community Facilities, as she began the Agency’s Homeownership Month tour in Sisseton, S.D.  Her news about USDA’s initiatives and welcoming spirit of collaboration and forward-thinking were very encouraging and much appreciated by all! Read more »

Open for Business: USDA Farmers Market Kicks Off New Season with a Bang

Mark your calendars. The USDA Farmers Market will open on June 7. Make plans to be with us at 9:45 a.m. for the opening at 12th and Independence, Ave., S.W.

Mark your calendars. The USDA Farmers Market will open on June 7. Make plans to be with us at 9:45 a.m. for the opening at 12th and Independence, Ave., S.W.

As the USDA Farmers Market prepares to begin a new season, we invite everyone to come celebrate the richness and diversity of the market and the DC community that brings us all together. Whether you’re a federal employee, a sight-seeing tourist, or a long-time resident, we are all a part of what makes DC unique. We all play a role in supporting the businesses and economy of the city and the region. You are guaranteed a fun time if you join us on June 7 for our market opening. Read more »

Going Green by Reducing Food Waste

At this very moment, an underappreciated tool for combating climate change may be hiding in your chiller drawer or at the back of your pantry.  By keeping that limp carrot or dusty box of pasta out of our nation’s landfills, you can help reduce emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calculates that food is the single largest component of municipal solid waste going to landfills (accounting for over 20% by weight) and that that landfills are the third largest source of methane (16% of national total).  By reducing the amount of food we toss into the trash, we can help reduce these potent greenhouse gas emissions.

The benefits do not stop there, however. Read more »

Social Media Buzz for MyPlate’s 2nd Birthday

For MyPlate’s 2nd birthday on June 2, 2013, USDA is using the power of social media to throw a month- long virtual party.  Everyone is invited to participate and help celebrate the success of USDA’s MyPlate on the new MyPlate Facebook page.  Log on to www.facebook.com/myplate from June 2 through the end of the month and wish MyPlate a healthy Happy Birthday!

MyPlate’s birthday wish is to increase its Facebook fan base so that even more people can learn about MyPlate and healthy eating.  The MyPlate Facebook page will have a new birthday cover photo and birthday related posts all week long.  Fans, partners, and other federal agencies are also being encouraged to use blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram to help celebrate this happy milestone. The event hashtag is #MyPlateBirthday. Read more »

Livestock Statistician Knows Data Matter to Many

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.

Growing up on a small general crop and livestock farm in central Minnesota cultivated my enthusiasm for agriculture. Even then I knew I wanted to do something related to agriculture but I also knew the value of getting a good education. I attended the University of Minnesota to earn my undergraduate degree, after which I earned a Master of Science degree at North Dakota State University.

College provided me with skills in mathematics and agriculture but like most college graduates, no job. This is where the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) came into the picture. I joined the agency’s North Dakota field office as an agricultural statistician, allowing me to keep in touch with agriculture. Next I worked in the Idaho field office and then on to Washington, D.C. where I worked in both crops and livestock areas, finally settling into my current position as Chief of the Livestock Branch in 2001. Read more »