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Celebrating Latino Contributions to Agriculture – Past, Present, and Future

A photo of Representative de la Garza from the Library of Congress.  During his tenure as Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, Representative Eligio "Kika" de la Garza not only supported trade and promoted rural economic development, but he also led the way for the House to pass Federal reforms on pesticide laws, an overhaul of the agricultural lending system, crop insurance reform, and a major reorganization of the USDA.  De la Garza also passed three farm bills and measures that improved human nutrition.

A photo of Representative de la Garza from the Library of Congress. During his tenure as Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, Representative Eligio "Kika" de la Garza not only supported trade and promoted rural economic development, but he also led the way for the House to pass Federal reforms on pesticide laws, an overhaul of the agricultural lending system, crop insurance reform, and a major reorganization of the USDA. De la Garza also passed three farm bills and measures that improved human nutrition.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) would like to recognize the contributions that Latinos make to the agriculture industry. The agency celebrates individuals like former U.S. Representative Eligio “Kika” de la Garza II, for the impact they had on the USDA and the agricultural landscape. Read more »

U.S. Embassy Paris People’s Garden Unites French and American Gourmets

Chef Lionel Levy putting the final touch on his mini hamburgers with Pistou (cold sauce made from cloves of garlic, fresh basil from the garden, and olive oil) and Tapenade (puréed olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil)

Chef Lionel Levy putting the final touch on his mini hamburgers with Pistou (cold sauce made from cloves of garlic, fresh basil from the garden, and olive oil) and Tapenade (puréed olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil)

Several top French chefs gathered on September 19 at the People’s Garden located at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to France.  In a friendly atmosphere, the chefs prepared dishes using fruits and vegetables from the garden, as well as U.S. cranberries and seafood (crab, salmon) from Alaska.  The event guests featured writers from France’s food, lifestyle and gardening media, in addition to buyers from local restaurants, hotels and catering companies.  Guests had an opportunity to taste traditional U.S. products and recipes reinterpreted by starred French chefs. Read more »

Healthy School Meals Fuel S.W.A.G. and Success

In August I went back to school with students in Albany and Newton, Ga., to see how healthy school meals help students get their “S.W.A.G. on” and prepare for success.

In Albany, 400 Sherwood Acres Elementary Magnet School students celebrated school breakfast, many wearing S.W.A.G. t-shirts, which stands for “Students with Academic Greatness!”

Vanessa Hayes, Dougherty County Schools Director of Child Nutrition Services, explained, “We understand that good nutrition is the fuel for the educational vehicle.” Read more »

It Takes a Village: Reaching Out to Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina

I am a communications intern with USDA Rural Development in North Carolina and recently had the opportunity to visit the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina at Lake Waccamaw (BGHNC).

I knew we would be visiting a residential facility that cared for at- risk children, but I had no idea what to expect. When we arrived, the site of the lake was awe-inspiring. I thought to myself, perfect scenery for healing. We were whole-heartedly greeted in the Administration building, Flemington Hall, by Mr. David Passmore, Vice President of Residential Services, and Kathy Stream, Director of Public Relations/Marketing. Read more »

Afghan Borlaug Fellows Receive Executive Training

Dennis Timlin (far right) of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) spoke with the 12 Borlaug Fellows from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) about the Global Climate Change Lab at the ARS facility in Beltsville, Md. on Wednesday. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Dennis Timlin (far right) of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) spoke with the 12 Borlaug Fellows from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) about the Global Climate Change Lab at the ARS facility in Beltsville, Md. on Wednesday. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Some of Afghanistan’s best and brightest agricultural officials are in the United States this month receiving training that will benefit their country for years to come.

Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Lessons from the Farm to Strengthen America

A week ago, President Obama released the American Jobs Act, a specific plan to jumpstart our economy and put Americans to work today.  It contains ideas that both parties in Washington have supported.  And yesterday, he laid out a plan that will pay for it – and for other long-term investments we need to stay competitive – while reducing our deficits.

The plan takes a balanced approach.  It looks for savings across government.  And it asks everyone to do their part and pay their fair share so we can live within our means.

For agriculture, the plan focuses on what the President and I believe is one of the most pressing challenges facing producers right now: maintaining a strong safety net and disaster assistance programs that will work for all farmers and ranchers, no matter what they produce or where they produce it. Read more »