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Food Safety for Hamburgers and Tailgating

In anticipation of the beginning of football and tailgating season, I have put together  some of the most frequently asked questions that USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline receives about hamburgers and food safety. Whether you’re grilling burgers at home or outside the stadium, here’s what you need to know:

Do you have guidelines for buying ground beef or hamburgers?  What’s the best way to handle them?

  • Choose a package that is not torn and feels cold. If possible, put it in a plastic bag so leaking juices won’t drip on other foods.
  • Make ground beef one of the last items to go into your shopping cart. Be sure to separate raw meat from ready-cooked items in your cart.
  • Have the cashier bag raw meat separately from other items and plan to drive directly home. You may want to take a cooler with ice for perishables. Read more »

Rural Champion Uses REAP Program to Bring Power to a Nebraska Stable

Mark Timm, Colby Creek Stables Owner, Nebraska

Mark Timm, Colby Creek Stables Owner, Nebraska

Cross posted from the White House Rural Champions of Change website:

Colby Creek Stables, a horse stable facility located near Ithaca, Nebraska in Saunders County, offers a number of amenities for horses and riders, including a large indoor arena, heated barn aisles, and ventilated horse stalls. Read more »

The President’s Jobs Plan

I just went to the Capitol to hear the President address Congress about the way forward to grow the economy and create jobs.

There is no doubt that these have been tough times.  And it’s very tough for the many Americans who are looking for work.  So we’ve got to keep finding ways to help the unemployed in the short term and rebuild the middle class over the long term.

The American Jobs Act that President Obama laid out this evening will have an immediate impact.  It will create jobs now.  And it is based on bipartisan ideas that both Democrats and Republicans have supported in the past. Read more »

Brothers Continue Family Legacy of Caring for Forests

Jim Guldin is supervisory ecologist and project leader at the U.S. Forest Service’s Southern Research Station in Hot Springs, Ark. His research focuses on silviculture, the art and science of sustainably growing trees to meet needs – human or ecological. The Guldin brothers are part of a family with a personal and professional connection to natural resources. They are featured in the agency’s Faces of the Forest project at www.fs.fed.us.

Jim Guldin is supervisory ecologist and project leader at the U.S. Forest Service’s Southern Research Station in Hot Springs, Ark. His research focuses on silviculture, the art and science of sustainably growing trees to meet needs – human or ecological. The Guldin brothers are part of a family with a personal and professional connection to natural resources. They are featured in the agency’s Faces of the Forest project at www.fs.fed.us.

Brothers Richard and Jim Guldin both went to Penn State, both eventually joined the U.S. Forest Service and both ended up in forest research.You might say their professional path continues their family’s legacy. Read more »

Critical Irrigation Systems Restored for Montana Farmers

Dale Bilyeu, manager for the Huntley Irrigation Project, and Nick Vira, NRCS district conservationist in Billings, look out over the repaired Pryor Creek channel.

Dale Bilyeu, manager for the Huntley Irrigation Project, and Nick Vira, NRCS district conservationist in Billings, look out over the repaired Pryor Creek channel.

Only a month after spring floods ravaged the Huntley Irrigation Canal near Huntley, Montana, and temporarily halted irrigation, over 30,000 acres of crops are receiving water. Read more »

FAS Market Development Programs Help Bring the U.S. Livestock Industry Closer to Russia

Cattle ranchers and their herds tough it out during the cold winter. (Photo Credit: Ryan T. Bell)

Cattle ranchers and their herds tough it out during the cold winter. (Photo Credit: Ryan T. Bell)

U.S. cattle ranching has evolved over time to bring together the cultural traditions of the West with new technology to produce quality U.S. livestock products. But did you ever think that these ways of the west could benefit a new frontier halfway around the world?

In 2007, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) worked with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to negotiate health certificates for the export of U.S. livestock and genetic material to Russia. The protocol was signed in 2008, allowing first-time U.S. exports of live cattle, semen, embryos, horses and swine. U.S exports of cattle, bull semen and cattle embryos to Russia were valued at nearly $12 million in 2010.  From January to May 2011, trade increased nearly fivefold compared to the same period last year. Read more »