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What Can Bird Watchers Do to Fight Invasive Species?

Invasive species can spread easily by hitching a ride on birdwatchers’ gear, and are unintentionally transported to new locations.

Invasive species can spread easily by hitching a ride on birdwatchers’ gear, and are unintentionally transported to new locations.

For a bird watcher like me, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of spotting a rare or elusive bird—or watching any of our feathered friends in their natural habitats.  Whether you are a die-hard enthusiast or just take pleasure in seeing birds outside your window, you have a deep appreciation for the outdoors and wildlife. Read more »

Farmers’ Input Helps Make USDA Better

Here at USDA, we work every day to help American farmers. It is important to us to hear how we are doing and how we can improve, and that is why I was happy to have the chance to speak with a group of local producers in Louisiana recently.

These Rural Roundtable sessions are being held across the country by senior Administration officials on behalf of the White House Rural Council to explore ways federal, state and local officials can work together to improve economic conditions and create jobs, and to increase awareness of USDA programs and services. Read more »

Minority Farmers and Stakeholders Offer Ideas to Improve USDA Programs and Delivery

One ag-educator expressed the feelings of many at the first meeting of the USDA Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers when he concluded, “This meeting is a progressive step in the right direction. USDA should be commended for doing this, and should convene this kind of public forum more often.”

A small farmer from Michigan added her encouragement, saying, “We don’t just want to talk about it anymore – we want it to happen.” Read more »

White House Report Shows Continued Focus on Rural America

Cross posted from the White House blog:

Today, the White House Rural Council released a new report titled Jobs and Economic Security for Rural America (pdf).  This is a product of what we have been working on since President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first White House Rural Council on June 9.

I hope that you’ll take a few minutes to read the report because it gives a really good picture of the economic landscape in rural America today. It also shows the commitment and key investments the Obama Administration has already made in rural communities. Read more »

USDA Plant Variety Protection Act Board Member is Recognized for his Work for Rural America

Philip Johnson Haynie, III, Haynie Farms, Chesapeake Bay, Virginia area

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

P.J. Haynie serves on USDA’s Plant Variety Protection Act Board and on the Agricultural Advisory Council for Virginia’s first congressional district. Read more »

Final Countdown for 2011 Feds Feed Families Campaign

Today, Secretary Vilsack announced that, during the month of July, USDA employees donated more than 270,000 pounds of canned goods and fresh produce to feed families across the country as part of the Feds Feed Families food drive!   That means USDA employees have worked together to donate more than 370,000 pounds of food in just two months.  With more than 1,800 USDA offices throughout the country participating, here are a few examples of how USDA employees are contributing to the Feds Feed Families campaign.

So far this August, a USDA Service Center in Tipton, Iowa, has harvested 165 pounds of beets, 500 pounds of sweet corn, 140 pounds of green beans, 270 pounds of tomatoes, and 30 pounds of zucchini from their People’s Garden to benefit Feds Feed Families.  And that’s in addition to the canned goods that they are collecting! Their hard work was highlighted on the local CBS news affiliate, KCRG-TV, which you can view here. Read more »