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Secretary Vilsack Visits the Wisconsin State Fair to Talk Jobs and Economic Growth

This afternoon Secretary Vilsack attended the White House Rural Forum at the Wisconsin State Fair, in West Allis. There, he had the opportunity to speak with business and community leaders, farmers and ranchers to discuss ways federal, state and local officials can work together to improve economic conditions and create jobs in rural America.

The forum was part of a series of roundtables that are being held across the country this summer with senior Administration officials as part of the White House Rural Council of which Secretary Vilsack is the chair. Read more »

Let’s Move Faith and Communities Inspires Fresh Produce for 100 Food Pantries

Camille Gaynor, volunteer at The Garden of St. Mark's, smiles after harvesting a basket of produce to donate to her local food pantry.

Camille Gaynor, volunteer at The Garden of St. Mark's, smiles after harvesting a basket of produce to donate to her local food pantry.

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

Since First Lady Michelle Obama’s recent announcement of a private sector commitment to build or expand 1,500 food stores, Americans across the country have been inspired to increase their communities’ access to healthy, affordable food. Ample Harvest has risen to the First Lady’s challenge to faith and community leaders to make fresh produce available for at least 10,000 locations in America through Let’s Move!, her initiative to reverse childhood obesity. Since it began partnering with Let’s Move Faith and Communities, Ample Harvest has brought fresh produce to more than 4,000 food pantries across the country. In July, 100 new food pantries joined the movement. Read more »

USDA Forest Service Booklet Touts Value of Native Bees

From Bee Basics: The southeastern blueberry bee (Habropoda laboriosa) visiting blossoms of a rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium virgatum).

The USDA Forest Service, along with Pollinator Partnership, has produced a booklet called Bee Basics: An Introduction to our Native Bee. From the booklet, the southeastern blueberry bee (Habropoda laboriosa) visiting blossoms of a rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium virgatum).

When I was a kid, there was one category for bees – “the stinging kind.” Fear of being stung wouldn’t allow me to consider variations among the swarms that patrolled playgrounds. The only thing that made bees tolerable was … the honey. Read more »

APHIS Veterinarian Discusses USDA’s Role on the Front-Lines of Animal Health

Hello, I’m Dr. Beth Lautner, Director of USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.  We’re the animal health reference and confirmatory lab for USDA.  We work mainly with livestock and poultry health, but also deal more and more with companion animal issues.  It is exciting to be on the front lines of what’s going on with regards to animal health.

I grew up on a livestock farm and had many dogs and cats.  I always enjoyed working and interacting with animals and admired the veterinarians I met.  From the time I was twelve, I knew I wanted to be a veterinarian.  After vet school, I practiced for 12 years in a mixed animal (livestock and dogs/cats) practice.  It was a great opportunity to learn a lot of different aspects of veterinary medicine. Read more »

NRCS Employee Is Honored with the Patriot Award

Left to right, retired Maj. Gen. Daniel F. Hitchcock, Patriot Award recipient Lisa Rice, and 1st Lt. Lorrie Lanham, NRCS Business Management Leaders Program (BMLP) trainee.

Left to right, retired Maj. Gen. Daniel F. Hitchcock, Patriot Award recipient Lisa Rice, and 1st Lt. Lorrie Lanham, NRCS Business Management Leaders Program (BMLP) trainee.

Lisa Rice, an employee of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), was recently honored with the Patriot Award by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). Read more »

Indian Business Alliance Conference Deemed a Success

Rural Development South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks Addresses the 2011 South Dakota Indian Business Alliance Conference

Rural Development South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks Addresses the 2011 South Dakota Indian Business Alliance Conference

Over 100 government officials, federal program representatives, non-profit organizations, and Native entrepreneurs came together recently to advance Indian business development in South Dakota. Read more »