Cross posted from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy blog:
In an exciting opportunity, the G-8 is inviting innovators to apply to present ideas that demonstrate how open data can be unleashed to increase food security at the G-8 International Conference on Open Data in Agriculture on April 29-30, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
Open data is being used by innovators and entrepreneurs around the world to accelerate development, whether it be tracking election transparency in Kenya or providing essential information to rural farmers in Uganda. The G-8 conference will convene policy makers, thought leaders, food security stakeholders, and data experts to discuss the role of public, agriculturally-relevant data in increasing food security and to build a strategy to spur innovation by making agriculture data more accessible. As part of the conference, selected applicants will be invited to showcase innovative uses of open data for food security in either a Lightning Presentation (a 3-5 minute, image-rich presentation on the first day of the conference) or in the Exhibit Hall (an image-rich exhibit on display throughout the two-day conference). Read more »
This week, in his State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out his plan to make America a magnet for jobs in the generations to come, and further strengthen the middle class. He stressed that in the wealthiest nation on earth, we must build up ladders of opportunity – to ensure that folks who work hard and play by the rules have a chance to get ahead.
The values the President spoke of in his address are shared by many across rural America. Our farmers, ranchers, rural businesses and families are committed to the value of hard work. They agree that we owe today’s young people the opportunity to get ahead. They know that we must continue working to alleviate rural poverty to build up the middle class across our nation.
The President’s first priority is to make America a magnet for jobs – and when it comes to job creation, there’s no place like rural America. Read more »
Earlier this week, I had the privilege to join members and guests of the Farm Credit Council at their annual meeting in San Diego. It was a great opportunity to see some old friends and make new ones.
But it was also a time for me to continue to share the story of how critically important rural America is to our nation and why we can’t afford to allow rural areas to be left behind in the nation’s forward march to progress.
In meetings before large national farm and business groups, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack often speaks about how agriculture continues to change and innovate. He notes how it has transformed from a two-dimensional approach that used to focus on production and livestock, to a multidimensional approach that now also emphasizes specialty crops and niche market opportunities, exports, developing fuel and energy crops through a bio-based economy, supporting local and regional food systems, and committing to conservation and outdoor recreational opportunities. Read more »
Secretary Vilsack receives the National Energy Leadership Award from the National Biodiesel Board. The award is given periodically to individuals who demonstrate exemplary vision and leadership in development of the renewable fuels industry. Pictured left to right are Ed Ulch, Governing Board Member, National Biodiesel Board; Secretary Tom Vilsack; and Joe Jobe, CEO, National Biodiesel Board.
In the days after the Super Bowl it is not unusual for spectators to “Monday morning quarterback” the advertisements, as well as the plays that were called. For the members of two renewable fuels industries, however, there was no disputing the message of the now famous “God made a farmer” ad featuring Paul Harvey. Last week in Las Vegas, the Renewable Fuels Association and the National Biodiesel Board both led off their meetings with this ad before Secretary Vilsack spoke. It became a starting point to discuss the Secretary’s compelling vision for rebuilding the rural economy, furthering efforts to develop advanced new biofuels, and creating more jobs in our small towns to grow and strengthen the middle class. Read more »
USDA is committed to fostering a clean energy economy and to improving the environment by conducting operations in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner, complying with environmental laws and regulations, and leading by example. In order to fulfill its mission of providing leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues, USDA focuses on the future. The Department recognizes the significance of global climate change and how potential impacts such as more frequent or severe weather events can affect our programs and operations.
To better coordinate USDA’s sustainability efforts and build on past success, USDA has prepared its 2012 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan that underscores strategies and goals to save taxpayer dollars, reduce carbon emissions, cut waste and save energy. As part of this effort, this year we have also prepared a Climate Change Adaptation Plan that outlines how the Department will address the impacts of climate change on its key mission areas such as agricultural production, food security, rural development, and forestry and natural resources conservation. The plan is available and open for a 60-day public comment period.
The USDA Climate Change Adaptation Plan includes input from eleven USDA agencies and offices. It provides a detailed vulnerability assessment, reviews the elements of USDA’s mission that are at risk from climate change, and provides specific actions and steps being taken to build resilience to climate change. The plan advances President Obama’s efforts to prepare the federal government for climate change. We expect to revise and update the plan in 2013 in response to comments received from the public. Read more »
Using a first-of-its-kind steam boiler fueled by spent grain, the Alaskan Brewing Company in Juneau will reduce its use of fuel oil by over 65 percent. The boiler was funded in part through the USDA Rural Energy for America (REAP) Program. Photo credit: Alaska Brewing Company photo.
In Alaska, it’s all about great beer and the Alaska Brewing Company, LLC (ABC) in Juneau is the 12th largest craft brewery by sales volume in the U.S. According to their website, the Alaskan Brewing Company became the 67th operating brewery in the United States and the only brewery in Alaska in 1986. Read more »