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Category: Uncategorized

Secretary’s Column: Saying “Thank You” To Farmers and Workers on Labor Day

As Americans celebrate Labor Day this weekend, I know the holiday is overshadowed by a drought that has been extremely challenging for thousands of farm and ranch families.

President Obama and I will continue to do all we can to help drought-stricken producers. In a nation where one of every 12 jobs is supported by agriculture, we know that it’s critical to help farmers, ranchers and producers mitigate the effects of drought and continue to strengthen the agriculture sector.

Meanwhile we will continue to call on Congress to pass a comprehensive, multi-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill – to give USDA tools to help drought stricken producers, and to give more certainty to farmers and ranchers.

But even in a challenging time, American agriculture has stayed strong and resilient. That’s why, as we gather with family and friends to mark Labor Day, it couldn’t be a more appropriate time to say “Thank You” to the folks who provide the most affordable, the most abundant, and the safest food supply on earth. Read more »

The Great Green Fleet Makes History!

Diane Ley, State Executive Director, Hawaii Farm Service Agency, prepares to depart Hickam Air Force Base for the Great Green Fleet demonstration. USDA Photo.

Diane Ley, State Executive Director, Hawaii Farm Service Agency, prepares to depart Hickam Air Force Base for the Great Green Fleet demonstration. USDA Photo.

WOW! The word “wow” only moderately conveys the historic events that unfolded this summer during the Department of Navy’s Rim of the Pacific Exercises (RIMPAC) Great Green Fleet (GGF) demonstration. The might and power of the United States Navy coupled with that of scores of other Pacific Rim counties was impressive, but moreover a number of the great ships and aircraft were fueled by a mix of algae and animal fats. Read more »

New Hampshire Celebrates USDA 150th Anniversary at Miles Smith Farm

Over 250 people gathered at the Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, New Hampshire last week to celebrate USDA’s 150th Anniversary on a hot, humid summer day.

on left - Judith Canales, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development in front row with Gregg MacPherson, Area Director and Molly Lambert, State Director – on right – congressional staff Ivey Jones-Congressman Bass, Sean Thomas-Congressman Guinta, Matt Leahy-Senator Shaheen, and Simon Thompson-Senator Ayotte with community attendees at the New Hampshire 150th USDA Anniversary Observance.

on left - Judith Canales, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development in front row with Gregg MacPherson, Area Director and Molly Lambert, State Director – on right – congressional staff Ivey Jones-Congressman Bass, Sean Thomas-Congressman Guinta, Matt Leahy-Senator Shaheen, and Simon Thompson-Senator Ayotte with community attendees at the New Hampshire 150th USDA Anniversary Observance.

The hosts – Carole Soule and Bruce Dawson graciously opened their farm as the perfect location for this event. After driving up a narrow road, we discovered a scurry of activity as guests were welcomed and directed to a field set up with tents, farmer market vendors, informational booths and people. Read more »

USDA Employees in Wisconsin Grill Year-Round to End Hunger

What do bratwurst and USDA have in common? The ability to mobilize community members to donate to Feds Feed Families!

On sizzling hot summer days in Madison, Wisconsin, employees of the Agricultural Research Service’s Dairy Forage Research Center fire up their grills with hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, and of course, brats (short for bratwurst, a German sausage that is especially popular in Wisconsin)  to incentivize donors to keep giving to feed hungry families.

This creative idea was sparked by Jane Marita, a plant molecular geneticist, who wanted to add some energy and excitement to the 2011 Feds Feed Families Campaign. By offering her co-workers free brats in exchange for food pantry donations, Marita noticed a marked increase in donations which resulted in a tremendous total of 2,800 pounds of food collected by the research center in 2011. Read more »

Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 7/16/12

Satellite image with enhanced low cloud-top temperatures for 6:45 a.m. EST (NOAA)

Satellite image with enhanced low cloud-top temperatures for 6:45 a.m. EST (NOAA)

Weekend thundershowers provided limited and localized relief to a few Midwestern fields, but most of the Corn Belt remains in dire need of moisture.  Currently, very hot weather is building back into the Midwest. High temperatures above 100°F can be expected in portions of the western Corn Belt for the remainder of the week. The eastern Corn Belt should experience some mid- to late-week heat relief, but only scattered showers will accompany the transition to cooler weather. Like last week, substantial drought relief will be confined to the Southeast. Read more »

Calling All Champions of Change: Send Us Your Stories!

President Obama and I know that today’s young people are critical to winning America’s future. From passing on the long-held traditions and values of American agriculture, to helping Americans live healthier lives by supporting the First Lady’s ‘Let’s Move’ initiative, 4-H and FFA members are truly making a difference.

This September, the White House will welcome 4-H and FFA members from around the country to Washington for a day of discussion on their work, and the future of American agriculture.

In addition, the White House will honor 12 Champions of Change- 4-H and FFA members who are helping America win the future with unique projects that move their communities forward. Read more »