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Celebrating America’s Newest National Monument: The San Gabriel Mountains

Today, President Obama used his authority under the Antiquities Act to establish 346,177 acres of USDA National Forest land in the San Gabriel Mountains in southern California as a national monument, permanently protecting the popular outdoor recreation destination to increase access and outdoor opportunities for the area’s residents.  For more information on USDA and Forest Service involvement go to the website or read the White House Blog posted here.

Cross-posted from the White House Blog:

Today, President Obama will travel to Los Angeles County, California to designate the San Gabriel Mountains as America’s newest national monument, and a timeless piece of our national heritage. In many ways, this nation’s story is etched into its land, and as the President is recognizing today, each of our monuments provides us with an important cultural bridge between our past and our future.

In his time in office, President Obama has preserved more than 3 million acres of public land, and he’s not done yet. Natural treasures like the San Gabriel Mountains are not only remarkably beautiful, as they frame the Los Angeles Skyline, but with this new designation, they will bring even more tangible benefits to the 15 million people who live in their shadow. Tourism in the area will be strengthened, as will local businesses as hikers, bikers, outdoor adventurists, and nature lovers make their way to enjoy all 346,177 acres receiving the President’s new designation. Read more »

Wisconsin Welcomes the World

Agricultural attachés from around the world explore a cranberry marsh in Warrens, Wis.

Agricultural attachés from around the world explore a cranberry marsh in Warrens, Wis.

Wisconsin is known worldwide for its cheese, but what about its cranberries, ginseng, urban agriculture or innovative biofuels research? Last week, I had the opportunity to help expand the global reputation of Wisconsin beyond dairy. I shared the diversity of American agriculture with representatives from over 20 countries through a tour of the state.

Agricultural attachés from around the world are usually stationed at their countries’ embassies in Washington, DC – close to the politics but far away from most American agriculture. To give these representatives a real look at our industry, USDA-FAS arranges annual tours to various parts of the United States. It’s a great opportunity for the attachés to learn about the variety that exists in American agriculture, to see some of our innovative approaches, and to meet the farmers who provide products exported to their countries. Read more »

USDA Committee Gives Produce Industry a Powerful Voice

The USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee had its first meeting Sept. 29-30 in Crystal City, Va. USDA Photo Courtesy of Bob Nichols.

The USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee had its first meeting Sept. 29-30 in Crystal City, Va. USDA Photo Courtesy of Bob Nichols.

The fall harvest is upon us, and people all over the world are enjoying the abundance of quality fruits, vegetables and other specialty crops.  The specialty crop industry is important to USDA and plays a crucial role in the country’s economy, generating $65 billion in sales and creating more than 900,000 jobs. We recently met with the leaders of this key sector during last week’s session of the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee (FVIAC).

As part of our mission to facilitate the efficient and fair marketing of U.S. agricultural products, my agency – USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) – oversees the FVIAC, which meets approximately twice a year to develop recommendations on how USDA can better support the fruit and vegetable industry. Read more »

USDA Celebrates Efforts in Support of U.S.-Mexico Cattle Trade

USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Ed Avalos speaking to Congressman Ron Barber and local stakeholders at the celebration of the opening of the contingency livestock inspection facility in Douglas, AZ.

USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Ed Avalos speaking to Congressman Ron Barber and local stakeholders at the celebration of the opening of the contingency livestock inspection facility in Douglas, AZ.

Trade… Employee safety… U.S. Livestock Health… Every organization must work to balance its priorities, and these are just a few of the priorities that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has as part of its work at the livestock inspection facilities along the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

APHIS employees work at these facilities to inspect cattle to ensure they are free of ticks and diseases that could harm U.S. livestock.  After violence prevented APHIS inspectors from traveling to several of the existing livestock inspection stations in Mexico, we recognized that we needed a contingency plan to ensure continued trade between the United States and Mexico. Read more »

It’s ‘Rockets to the Rescue’ During National 4-H Week

Millions of youth around the country became “aerospace engineers” for a day on Wednesday, as 4-H National Youth Science Day’s “Rockets to the Rescue” took center stage during National 4-H Week, Oct.  5 – 11.

National 4-H Week is the time when America’s 4-H clubs showcase their 6 million members and the programs in which they participate.  Studies indicate that youth who engage in 4-H’s research-driven programming are four times more likely to contribute to their communities, make healthy life choices, and strive to finish college. Read more »

Announcing the U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition to Innovate Building Construction

Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and other emerging wood technologies are being used in new construction projects around the world, like these apartment buildings in Vaxjo, Sweden. (Photo credit: Midroc Property Development)

Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and other emerging wood technologies are being used in new construction projects around the world, like these apartment buildings in Vaxjo, Sweden. (Photo credit: Midroc Property Development)

Cross-posted from the White House Rural Council:

As part of the Obama administration’s commitment to mitigate climate change, USDA, in partnership with the Softwood Lumber Board and the Binational Softwood Lumber Council, is announcing the U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition. This competitive prize, open to teams of architects, engineers, and developers, will showcase the architectural and commercial viability of advanced wood products like Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) in tall buildings.

Advanced wood products are becoming the latest innovation in tall building construction. Products like CLT are flexible, strong, and fire resistant. In construction, wood products can be used as a successful and sustainable alternative to concrete, masonry, and steel. Using wood also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by storing carbon and simultaneously offsetting emissions from conventional building materials. By some estimates, the near term use of CLT and other emerging wood technologies in buildings 7-15 stories could have the same emissions control affect as taking more than 2 million cars off the road for one year. Read more »