USDA is taking a multi-faceted approach to supporting the American sheep and lamb industry, working with researchers and market analysts to identify strategies and goals.
The U.S. sheep and lamb industry has been shrinking for decades as the numbers of sheep and producers have declined since World War II. Consolidation of the sheep packing industry, higher feed and energy costs, continuous loses to predation, and lower consumption, coupled with competition from imports of lamb cuts, have taken their toll on U.S. producers. In response to industry needs, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has been working with the American Lamb Board (ALB) and the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) on initiatives aimed at ensuring the long-term viability of the industry. Read more »
From left to right, Jay Risinger, VantageSouth Bank; Michael Drozd, President and CEO, Wright Foods; Lillian Salerno, Acting Administrator, USDA Rural Development Business-Cooperative Service, USDA Rural Development; Brad Neigel, VantageSouth Bank; Heidi Whitesell, VantageSouth Bank; and David Thigpen, USDA Rural Development. A USDA loan guarantee helped Wright Foods in North Carolina expand, creating 80 jobs. (USDA photo)
During these difficult economic times we know that one of the best ways to help aid in the recovery process is to assist businesses that create jobs, and spur growth. In Troy, North Carolina, USDA Rural Development had the opportunity to highlight our successful efforts with a local company Aseptia/Wright Foods.
Lillian Salerno, Acting Administrator for USDA’s Rural Business and Cooperative programs, visited the local business. Under USDA Rural Development, USDA guaranteed a $5.5 million loan last year for Aseptia to purchase a building, equipment and make building improvements for their first commercial-scale manufacturing facility. Read more »
Cross posted from Food Safety News:
My passion for public health stems from my career as an infectious disease doctor, watching families cope with the heartbreak caused by preventable diseases, including foodborne illness. I know what it feels like to explain to a husband in shock that the reason his wife is on life support is because of something she ate that was contaminated with a deadly pathogen.
Now, I am the Under Secretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In my current role, I oversee dedicated USDA inspectors, scientists, veterinarians, and numerous other personnel who protect food that we eat every day. There is nothing more fundamental than being able to feed your own family a meal that will not make you sick, or worse, put you in the hospital.
I understand that there has been a lot of confusion about a proposal by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to modernize inspection at poultry slaughter plants.
I would like to try to eliminate that confusion. Read more »
“Clear, direct and easy to understand” may not be the first words most Americans associate with government publications and documents, but that is changing. Thanks to the Plain Writing Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2010, all federal agencies must now put their readers first when writing new documents or revising old ones. That means before putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, we must first think hard about how our language connects with customers and helps them get the most from USDA’s services and programs.
Secretary Vilsack has asked us at USDA to improve our writing to better serve the public. He believes we cannot carry out our mission effectively if we cannot communicate clearly with those whom we serve. He has made plain writing a cornerstone of his efforts to transform USDA’s culture. Now all of us—even our lawyers—are making our writing easier for the public to read and understand.
This is good news for the American people whose lives are affected every day by USDA’s leadership on issues from agriculture, to nutrition, trade, and energy. The public uses the information in our documents to build strong rural communities, to protect the environment, and to produce our safe and abundant food supply. Read more »
Import Inspector Mark Underberg.
Integrity. It is a word to live by. And Mark Underberg, an import inspector with the Import Inspection Division in the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) Office of International Affairs, takes it seriously. “Your decisions have to be fair and consistent,” he says. “And once you have a solid decision, you stand by it.” It is this same integrity that has driven Underberg throughout his life. Read more »
Food safety is a key ingredient for a successful meal. Visit FoodSafety.gov for more information on the four key food safety steps: clean, separate, cook and chill.
Ahh, Spring! This week, a new season is getting a nice kick-off with Passover and Easter holidays. These celebrations are filled with traditional meals that have unique food safety considerations that may or may not be included in the family recipe book. The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline has some food safety tips and steps here that, if added to your favorite recipes, can reduce the risk of food poisoning. As with any food preparation, always remember to Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. Read more »