A screen shot from the winning app.
Coming one day to a smartphone or tablet computer near you: An application that helps backyard poultry farmers protect their birds from disease. It might even help make them profitable, if you want.
That’s the plan after a team of Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) officials announced the winner of NASA’s 2013 International Space Apps Challenge. Billed as “the largest hackathon ever” to solving a range of problems in space – and here on Earth – the April event drew more than 9,000 people in 83 cities across 44 countries and all seven continents. Read more »
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rural Development (RD), Oklahoma State Director, Ryan McMullen delivers refreshments to disaster relief workers. USDA photo by Kathleen James.
USDA personnel continue to assist the State of Oklahoma and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the wake of the tornadoes and heavy rains that occurred this week.
Earlier this week, USDA announced that it was working to assist Oklahomans who were left homeless by providing FEMA with a list of vacant USDA-financed apartments in the area. USDA is also working with FEMA by providing information on vacant government-financed single family homes. Individuals needing immediate help finding emergency housing are asked to contact FEMA directly. USDA is also working to assist owners of USDA-financed homes in the disaster area that have direct or guaranteed mortgages. If you have questions about your USDA mortgage, please call USDA’s Centralized Servicing Center at 800-414-1226.
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Imagine sitting at your desk one day and answering the ringing phone, only to hear the US State Department’s Office of Protocol on the other end. That is precisely what happened to Michael Perry, Export Specialist for the USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) when he was told President Obama was traveling to Israel in late March and wished to give a special gift to the Israeli people. Read more »
Feral swine are not native to the United States. They are a cross between feral domestic swine introduced by Spanish explorers in the 1500s and the Eurasian boar. (Dana Johnson, USDA-APHIS)
Feral swine have been called the “rototillers” of nature. Their longs snouts and tusks allow them to rip and root their way across America in search of food. Unfortunately, the path they leave behind impacts ranchers, farmers, land managers, conservationists, and suburbanites alike. April, Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month, is a great time to learn about this serious threat to both plant and animal health. Read more »
High School welding students gained hands-on fabrication experience while contributing to the collaborative state-wide effort to manage an invasive species.
USDA Wildlife Services (WS) employees in New Mexico have been fabricating the traps and tools for their jobs for many years. As feral swine management work began in the state, naturally we began to build our own traps and gates to contain this invasive and damaging mammal. 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 »