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

After the Storm

So far this year, Texas has lost more than 256,000 acres and 147 structures, as well as livestock, to 511 wildfires.

Fortunately, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas is now making $400,000 available through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program to those who have suffered from the year’s wildfires to help them reestablish conservation practices on Texas rangeland.

NRCS provides technical help, and in some cases, financial assistance, to install measures that reduce post-fire damage and aid in the rehabilitation process, restoring plant health and preventing erosion. Read more »

America’s Arbor Day Traditions Shared with Afghan Delegation

In honor of Arbor Day, I helped plant a tree at USDA’s National Arboretum on Friday morning, April 29. What made this unique from the thousands of similar tree plantings taking place nationwide today is that I was joined by a visiting delegation of Afghan agricultural experts.

The delegation included agricultural leaders from Afghanistan’s Ghazni Province who are part of an agricultural exchange program hosted by the National Guard Bureau’s Texas Agribusiness Development Team (ADT) IV.  Washington, D.C., is the first stop on a nearly two-week trip to the United States, which will include training and presentations by some of this country’s premier agricultural experts. Read more »

Become a Champion to End Hunger. Make A Commitment and Take Action Today!

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Thursday (center), corperation for natinal and comunity Service CEO Patrick Corvington and Bread for the City President George Jones announced at Bread for the City, on April 29, 20ll in Washington, DC, that the USDA will become champions to end hunger and innovative partnerships to address hunger, especially among children  USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Thursday (center), corperation for national and comunity Service CEO Patrick Corvington and Bread for the City President George Jones announced at Bread for the City, on April 29, 20ll in Washington, DC, that the USDA will become champions to end hunger and innovative partnerships to address hunger, especially among children USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

In 2009, nearly 1 million children simply didn’t get enough to eat in the United States. It’s a startling statistic but one that we can change, and you can help.  Today, USDA launched a series of new online tools and volunteer initiatives to increase the number of individuals, organizations, and governments actively working to end childhood hunger.   These tools will help you to get involved and become a champion to end hunger in your community!  We can end hunger if we all work together.  Whether you represent a non-profit, faith-based organization, state or local government, school, private company, or you’re an interested and passionate member of the public, it’s time to get involved and take action. Read more »

FACT from FICTION on Pilot Project to Enhance Quality, Timeliness and Cost-Effectiveness of Environmental Analyses and Documents Related to Biotechnology

We have seen several stories and concerned comments circulating on blogs regarding USDA’s pilot project to examine ways to enhance quality, timeliness and cost effectiveness of environmental analyses and documents related to biotechnology. We want to separate fact from fiction and ensure that the public knows exactly what this pilot program will do and what it will not do.

The pilot program will test an approach where USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will work closely with petitioners and outside experts while maintaining responsibility for scope and content of its environmental analyses. The pilot program will not allow biotechnology firms to conduct their own environmental assessments (EA) or environmental impact statements (EIS). Read more »

Repair the World: USDA Hosts its First Food and Justice Passover Seder

Matzah, the traditional flatbread eaten by Jewish people to commemorate Passover, decorated six circular tables, along with bitter herbs (maror), “mortar” for bricks (haroset), and green leafy vegetables (carpas).  Around the tables, USDA employees, Administration officials, and a host of guests from the non-profit and Jewish community gathered to celebrate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Justice Passover Seder this week.

A traditional seder is a ceremonial Jewish meal commemorating the Passover holiday and Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt after being freed from slavery.  Held in partnership with Jewish Funds for Justice and the Progressive Jewish Alliance, USDA’s modernized symbolic seder was held after Passover and focused on issues where food and justice intersect. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack Talks about “Building the Clean Energy Economy with Equity” at Environmental Justice Conference

Building a clean energy economy with equity was the topic of this year’s “The State of Environmental Justice in America” conference held this week in Washington.

In opening remarks on Thursday, Vice Admiral Melvin Williams Jr. (retired), associate deputy secretary, U.S. Department of Energy, said that the key to a new energy economy can be summed up by “commitment, fairness and collaboration.”  He noted that the mission of the Department of Energy is to “help ensure the security and prosperity of America” and environmental justice is integral to that commitment. Read more »