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Enjoy the Holidays: Preparing Healthy and Safe Meals!

Special holiday series – Blog 1 of 5

As we look forward to spending the holidays with friends and family and making meals and memories together, we all want to put good food on the table and do it safely.  We especially want to keep the threat of food poisoning at bay.  Over the next few days, we will share some delicious low-cost holiday recipes with some simple food safety tips to help you prepare healthy and safe holiday meals. The first recipe below talks about preparing and cooking a turkey safely. Recipes to follow will include Grandma’s Stuffing, Baked Apples and Sweet Potatoes, Green Bean Sauté, and Crunchy Pumpkin Pie.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season! Read more »

Taiwan Hungry for U.S. Wheat Products

Many bakeries were invited to display their healthy bread products at the press conference.

Many bakeries were invited to display their healthy bread products at the press conference.

Earlier today in Vietnam, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA’s market development programs are investing roughly $213 million in more than 70 U.S. agricultural organizations to help expand commercial export markets for their goods. Consumers in the Asia Pacific, said the Secretary, recognize the United States as a reliable supplier of the highest-quality food and agriculture products. And USDA’s international market development programs are playing a significant role in the surging demand for the American brand of agriculture around the world. Read more »

An Old Adversary Becomes a New Friend

Oregon Wild works on wilderness protection, listing of indicator species, and protecting old-growth stands through legislative and administrates campaigns. They interact with the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service agencies located in Oregon to reduce the old-growth logged and increase the amount restored. In the past, they have been at odds with the agencies, but now, in some instances, they are seen partners.

“I’m originally from Michigan, where I grew up a ‘nature geek,’ wandering around the woods and countryside,” Chandra Le Gue, Old-Growth Campaign Coordinator for Oregon Wild explained. “From this experience, I gained a love for nature. I was really amazed at the natural beauty of Oregon when I moved here for my graduate studies. I fell in love with the forests and landscapes. Oregon Wild’s mission matched my ideology on the importance of these areas….and I have been with the organization now for six and a half years.” Read more »

Anaerobic Digesters Are the Sweet Smell of Success

New Mexico is one of several states to participate in building anaerobic digesters, which use manure as fuel to create energy. The goal is to construct them over a four-year period, through USDA’s Rural Development, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA).

On October 26, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced funding for 19 biodigester projects in 8 states, funded through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program. In Fiscal Year 2011, USDA, through the REAP program, provided nearly $21 million in assistance for biodigesters, and leveraged over $110 million in project development. Through its Value-Added Producer Grant program, USDA provides planning grants of up to $100,000 and working capital grants of up to $300,000 to be used for establishment of a biodigester. Additionally, NRCS offers financial and technical assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives (EQIP) program. Read more »

Champions of Change: Make it in America

Recently, the White House held a panel inviting leaders from across the country to participate in a discussion focused on how businesses and companies “Make it in America.” These Champions were recognized for their work in helping to create high-quality jobs in the United States. They are the leaders this country needs, people who are working to build in America and create jobs in America. Below please read Michael Bowman’s story.  Michael serves on the National Steering Committee for “25x’25″ and was a founding member.  He has been active in rural development for many years and was recently honored as one of the White House Champions of Change.

Read more »

From Seed to Harvest: Supporting the Next Generation of Leaders to Reduce Global Hunger

In mid October, 40 Borlaug Fellows from 21 countries as far away as Azerbaijan and Zambia were in Des Moines, Iowa, to attend the Borlaug International Symposium and World Food Prize ceremony. These Fellows are part of the Norman E. Borlaug Agricultural Science and Technology Fellows Program established by USDA in 2004 to honor Nobel Laureate Norman E. Borlaug. Grace Otitodun, a Borlaug Fellow from Nigeria, authored this blog post:

Last month, I was honored to have the opportunity to attend the 2011 World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa as a fellow in the Borlaug 21st Century Leadership Program. The event saw participation from hundreds of leaders and experts in policy, industry, and research from all over the world, convened there to discuss global food security and agriculture.  Throughout the week, I encountered countless high-powered individuals who have been working tirelessly to achieve global food security by facilitating increased production among small-scale farmers.  They have made a compelling case for improving the effectiveness of U.S. investments in global food security and for addressing the troubling gap between population growth and food production. Read more »