Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Small Investments, Great Results

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Working in science can be a real pleasure, especially when your research translates into a life changing experience. The following note from Arion Thiboumery, Vice President of Lorentz Meats and one of the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education’s (SARE) early Graduate Student grants, submitted a very modest proposal to establish a small-meat processors working group and publish a guide of useful resources. He accomplished that and much more. Read on… Read more »

How America Creates Jobs

Agriculture  Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at the Port of Miami on Saturday, September 10, 2011 after meeting with leaders from agriculture and business industries. Photo by Ryan Holloway / Miami-Dade County

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at the Port of Miami on Saturday, September 10, 2011 after meeting with leaders from agriculture and business industries. Photo by Ryan Holloway / Miami-Dade County

Cross posted from the White House blog:

On Saturday, I visited the Port of Miami to see firsthand the success story of American agriculture and the jobs it is creating. Despite historic natural disasters, our agriculture business is booming.

Last year, almost $920 million in agricultural goods moved through the port, nearly double the amount from 2006. And this year it’s on pace to exceed that total by 8.5 percent. Those exports alone are helping support nearly 8,400 American jobs.

At the same time, the port is beginning work on a major tunnel and a deep-dredge project that will provide jobs for construction workers to keep it among the busiest in the nation. These are steps – much like those proposed by President Obama in the American Jobs Act – that are already underway to grow the economy and create jobs.

We need these types of projects across the country. We’ve got roads, bridges, rail lines and tunnels that need rebuilding and there are private companies with the equipment and know-how to do it. More than one million unemployed construction workers are ready to go to work now if both parties in Washington come together to make it happen.

Another idea in the President’s plan calls for extending the payroll tax cut for working families, putting an extra $1,500 in their pockets. This is one of the best ways to increase consumer demand — creating more work for businesses and more jobs for workers.

The President’s plan will help small businesses put people back to work by offering tax credits for each new job created. And we can give help for state and local governments to keep teachers, firefighters and other first responders on the job preparing our children for a better future and keeping our families safe.

We need to build an economy that creates jobs for the future. We need an economy that makes, innovates, and exports. Florida’s farmers do just that when they ship their products through the Port of Miami.

The American Jobs Act gives us the opportunity to embrace those principles and create jobs now. We need elected leaders in Washington to come together to hammer out a solution that benefits everyone. When they do, we’ll support job growth and build a stronger future for all Americans.

Farmers: We Need to Learn from You

Leanne Skelton, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Food Safety, FDA; Peter Furey, Executive Director, New Jersey Farm Bureau; Mike Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods, Office of Foods, FDA; Dora Hughes, Counselor for Public Health and Science Policy, Department of HHS; Sharon Natanblut, Director of Strategic Communications, Office of Foods, FDA; Ann Wright, Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, USDA; and Ronald Pace, District Director, New York District Office, FDA listen intently to farmer Bob Nolan from Deer Run Farm in Brookhaven, New York.

Leanne Skelton, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Food Safety, FDA; Peter Furey, Executive Director, New Jersey Farm Bureau; Mike Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods, Office of Foods, FDA; Dora Hughes, Counselor for Public Health and Science Policy, Department of HHS; Sharon Natanblut, Director of Strategic Communications, Office of Foods, FDA; Ann Wright, Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, USDA; and Ronald Pace, District Director, New York District Office, FDA listen intently to farmer Bob Nolan from Deer Run Farm in Brookhaven, New York.

Recently I visited the Deer Run Farm in Brookhaven, New York on a tour of farms across the nation to talk face-to-face with producers and growers about produce safety. Farmer Bob Nolan from Deer Run Farm invited us to walk through his fields so he could share with us his thoughts and concerns about how the government will shape a new produce safety rule. Read more »

Tackling Childhood Obesity with Fuel Up to Play 60

St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford challenges Fuel Up to Play 60 participants to a milk drinking competition during the Student Ambassador Summit in Washington, D.C. (Photo Courtesy of fueluptoplay60.com)

St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford challenges Fuel Up to Play 60 participants to a milk drinking competition during the Student Ambassador Summit in Washington, D.C. (Photo Courtesy of fueluptoplay60.com)

As students across the country get back in school and we gear up for Monday Night Football, the Fuel Up to Play 60 program is ready for another action-packed year of nutrition and fitness events. An initiative that encourages kids of all ages to be healthy and active, the overall goal of the program is to tackle childhood obesity. Read more »

JCC Grows (Gardens)!

The A-B-C Garden at the Jewish Community Alliance of Jacksonville, FL helps support an early childhood curriculum.

The A-B-C Garden at the Jewish Community Alliance of Jacksonville, FL helps support an early childhood curriculum.

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

When the word community is in your middle name, it’s only natural to start gardens producing healthy, nutritious foods.  The Jewish Community Centers (JCC) Association has taken on the First Lady’s Let’s Move Faith and Communities challenge of growing community gardens. They have started JCC Grows, a healthy food and hunger-relief initiative involving the creation and/or expansion of community gardens at JCCs and JCC camps. Most of the produce grown is donated to emergency food providers to help those in need. JCC Grows also promotes fresh food collection drives and connects JCCs to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs and farmers markets. Read more »

Bringing More Fresh Fruits and Vegetables to Schools

Locally grown fresh  vegetables and fruits are sliced and ready to students at Hebron-Harmon Elementary School in Hanover, MD.  The sign identifies the name of the local farm.

Locally grown fresh vegetables and fruits are sliced and ready to students at Hebron-Harmon Elementary School in Hanover, MD. The sign identifies the name of the local farm.

In 1996, only two schools nationwide bought food directly from farmers in their region through what are called farm-to-school programs. Today, these programs exist in over 2,000 U.S. schools – and a new pilot program in Michigan and Florida could send that number ticking quickly upward.

Farm-to-school programs are a win-win-win for America’s farmers and ranchers, our students, and our schools. Last year, members of USDA’s Farm-to-School team visited fifteen schools across the country to check out their programs and were amazed by what they saw: “Kentucky Proud” signs posted next to locally-sourced food in the cafeterias of Montgomery County, KY public schools; twenty local products for lunch at schools in the Independence, IA Community School District; students at Harrisonburg, VA public schools who knew the name of the farmer supplying lettuce for their salad bar. Read more »