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Welcome to the New USDA Blog!

Written by Peter Rhee, Office of Communications, USDA

USDA has just launched a newly revamped and refreshed Blog, bringing key enhancements to our previous offering. You will notice a new look and feel, enhanced search capabilities, easier navigation, categorization, and faster access to previous blog posts.

For over a year, USDA has been sharing stories and information on a wide array of topics, from Economic Job Forums and nutrition efforts, to beehives and gardens at USDA facilities.  Through an unprecedented collaborative effort behind the scenes at USDA, we’ve been working hard to post blogs about our projects and initiatives, from Agency offices worldwide, and messages from the Secretary and Deputy Secretary. Our goal has always been to feature interesting articles in a more conversational and accessible way that allows for public discussion.

We’re really excited about our new Blog and hope that you’ll consider adding it to your daily feed and regular blog reading.

Take a look around and let us know what you think!

Finding Common Points Across Cultures and Continents

By Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan

On Friday afternoon, I had the opportunity to meet with some inspiring African businesswomen who are visiting the United States for the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum. This unique group of 36 successful women is here to participate in a two week fellowship training program that will introduce them to American trading partners and investors, expose them to American advocacy, and business models and will offer extended support to them when they return to their countries. Read more »

USDA and Sports—An Uncommon Link

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

By Tara Weaver-Missick, Branch Chief, with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

Summer field sports are under way, and sports fans around the world are having spirited discussions on their favorite team’s chances of winning.  A key factor of sports success is the condition of the field, and USDA scientists are just as interested in those field conditions—but from the angle of fighting the bugs that could be eating the field! Read more »

USDA Rural Development Provides Grant Funds for a Maine Grange Hall Renovation to Process and Distribute Local Farm Products

By Virginia Manuel, USDA Maine Rural Development State Director

USDA Rural Development provided a Rural Business Enterprise Grant to assist the Maine Alternative Agriculture Association (MA3) to renovate the former Grange Hall in Starks into a modern facility for processing and distributing local farm products.

An open house was held on July 28th to celebrate the completion of the project, which now includes a new kitchen and cold storage facility.  The association will contract with local farmers to provide farm products that will be collected, processed and distributed from the new facility.  The farm products will be ‘beyond organic’ by emphasizing sound soil management as well as being pesticide free. Read more »

Midwest Region Conference Gets States Energized about SNAP

By Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary

I recently spoke at the BIG TEN conference in Minneapolis. The BIG TEN is a USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) sponsored event focused on improving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) performance at the state and local level. Participants are from the Midwest States: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.  In the past few years, they’ve worked with decreasing resources while managing an increasing workload. So when I walked into a room full of dancing and cheering human service workers, I was taken aback. The energy was just incredible! Read more »

Arizona Rural Development State Director Alan Stephens Joins Congresswoman Kirkpatrick to Announce $10 Million Recovery Act Broadband Project for San Carlos Apaches

By Nancy Conway, USDA Rural Development, Arizona

A group was on hand for Arizona Rural Development State Director Alan Stephens announcement that the San Carlos Apache Telecommunications Utility, Inc. (SCATUI) will receive a grant of $5.2 million and a low-interest loan of $5.2 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act).  The loan/grant combination will be used to design, engineer, and construct a fiber-to-the-premises network to service the San Carlos and Bylas communities.  “This project will bring broadband and telephone services and will serve a hospital and several doctor facilities that are currently unserved in the San Carlos area,” said Stephens. Joining in the announcement was Arizona U.S. Representative Ann Kirkpatrick. Read more »