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Chef Corps to Help Build Bridges through “Culinary Engagement”

“Food isn’t traditionally thought of as a diplomatic tool, but sharing a meal can help people transcend boundaries and build bridges in a way that nothing else can.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

Some of the nation’s top chefs have signed on to help promote American food and culinary traditions around the world through the new American Chef Corps. The corps is part of the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative, launched earlier this month by the Department of State and the James Beard Foundation. USDA is delighted to support this initiative, which is an excellent complement to our ongoing work highlighting the quality, variety, safety and sustainability of U.S. food products to our customers around the world. Read more »

USDA’s Chief Scientist Woteki Helps Connect Scientists from across the Globe to Meet Global Challenges Facing Food and Agriculture

In an effort to advance food and agricultural research that enables farmers and ranchers to meet the growing global demand for food, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Chief Scientist Catherine Woteki will lead the U.S. Government’s delegation to the first-ever Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS) in Guadalajara, Mexico this week. Member countries committed to the meeting earlier this year at the June 2012 G-20 Leaders Summit, as a step to gain greater efficiency and utility from global agricultural research investments. The meeting is being convened by the Mexican government as part of their role heading the Group of Twenty (G-20) this year.

“Over the next 50 years, we will need to produce as much food for the world’s population as has been produced in the entire history of mankind,” said Woteki, who is also USDA’s Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. “A challenge this serious and urgent requires bringing together the best minds in food and agricultural science to chart our course on research. This meeting is the first of its kind, and I believe it is the beginning of a collaboration that will benefit scientists, farmers, and citizens around the world.” Read more »

Recognizing Champions of Change: Strengthening Food Security at Home and Abroad

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of congratulating 11 extraordinary individuals being recognized through the White House Champions of Change program for their work to tackle hunger in the United States and abroad.

The Champions recognized today are making improved access to healthy food a reality for millions of individuals in need. Innovative programs like the Community Food Advocates in New York City, Parents United for Healthy Schools/Padres Unidos para Escuelas Saludables in Chicago, and the Mandela Marketplace in Oakland, California are helping to empower families and communities and reducing the depth and severity of hunger in America. And the work of organizations like Thriive, Fort Valley State University College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology, and Catholic Medical Mission Board are taking on the fight against hunger worldwide. Read more »

1 Million People Using USDA SuperTracker to Monitor Diet and Physical Activity Goals

One of the SuperTracker team members, Sarah Chang, nutritionist, enthusiastically demos the SuperTracker site. Photo by Sasha Bard

One of the SuperTracker team members, Sarah Chang, nutritionist, enthusiastically demos the SuperTracker site. Photo by Sasha Bard

The Agriculture Department announced this week that SuperTracker, an interactive diet and activity tracking tool, reached one million registered users. SuperTracker, maintained by the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), is a free online application. Users can choose from a wide variety of features ranging from quickly looking up the nutrient information for a food to in-depth diet and activity tracking.  For example, users can track their vegetable intake, estimate how many calories they burn in their aerobics class, and track their weight loss over time. Read more »

Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture Adds USDA Mural to Collection

The USDA mural displayed at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.

The USDA mural displayed at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.

The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) has a new mural added to its collection at its new Nebraska Agriculture Industry Education Center.  The USDA mural depicts the various projects that can be accomplished through the programs and funding offered through the USDA Mission Areas.

USDA Rural Development State Director Maxine Moul was in Curtis last week with the Dean of NCTA, Dr. Weldon Sleight, who gave her a tour of the mural and the Education Center.  Moul serves as the chair of the Nebraska Food and Agriculture Council, whose membership includes the USDA agencies located in Nebraska.  Coordinating the creation and installation of the mural were the USDA Agencies of Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Rural Development. Read more »

On Drought, USDA is There

USDA Undersecretary Michael Scuse and Cass County FSA committeeman and farmer Trent Smith discuss the drought’s impact on this year’s soybean crop. Smith’s farm was one stop on the Undersecretary’s tour assessing Missouri’s drought.

USDA Undersecretary Michael Scuse and Cass County FSA committeeman and farmer Trent Smith discuss the drought’s impact on this year’s soybean crop. Smith’s farm was one stop on the Undersecretary’s tour assessing Missouri’s drought.

Last week, USDA Undersecretary Michael Scuse visited with farmers and ranchers in Missouri and Kansas. Scuse is just one of several USDA officials to fan out to more than a dozen drought-affected states in the past two months as part of President Obama’s commitment to get help to producers impacted by the nation’s worst drought in a generation. Over the past eight weeks, USDA has helped to lead these efforts by opening conservation acres to emergency haying and grazing, lowering the interest rate for emergency loans, working with crop insurance companies to provide flexibility to farmers, and offering other forms of assistance meant to bring relief in the short and long term. Read more »