Every summer Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian college students from across the nation come to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) as participants in the program Washington Internships for Native Students (WINS); I am one of them. For some of us, interning at APHIS is the first time we have ever lived off our tribal lands. For others, coming to Washington, D.C. is but another experience living in a big city. All of us, however, are linked in some way to the tribal communities we represent: the Omaha, Chippewa, Mohawk, Lumbee, Quechan, Laguna and Isleta nations.
WINS interns contribute more than just our skills and time; we add our voices. We speak as individuals from communities that are often underrepresented in government settings. We come to APHIS from states such as California, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and New Mexico and carry with us the unique perspectives of peoples from distant lands. Our respective cultures and histories, stories and languages are irrevocably parts of who we are and contribute to the way we view the world. WINS interns help bridge the gap between Washington’s governmental agencies and the people for whom they work. In the “People’s Department,” this bridge is priceless. Read more »
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 »
Today, President Obama and I continue doing all we can to help farmers and ranchers impacted by the drought. As Congress comes back to Washington in September we will continue to encourage passage of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible – to give USDA tools to help those who have been impacted by drought, while giving more certainty for farmers and ranchers.
While the drought has taken a toll on agriculture this year, we also know that America’s history of agricultural innovation and research advancement means farmers and ranchers are better-prepared than ever before to mitigate its effects.
USDA scientists and research partners have helped to provide these important new tools for decades – and their work continues today. Read more »
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 »
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 »
White House interns met with several Virginia producers to learn the important role agriculture plays in feeding, clothing and fueling America and the world.
Twelve White House fellows were given the opportunity to experience agriculture first hand. From a custom slaughterhouse to a large-scale fruit and vegetable operation, the group grazed the hills and pastures of Virginia to learn the importance of ag in the U.S.
Hosted by Virginia Farm Service Agency staff and accompanied by Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service Deputy Under Secretary Karis Gutter, the fellows began their tour at the USDA Fredericksburg Service Center where they met their tour guides — County Executive Director Jeanne Turnure and FSA Manager Kim DePasquale. Read more »