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Basic Agricultural Safeguarding Training BOOT CAMP Part II

In a previous blog post, we took a look at the training of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Health Safeguarding Specialists (PHSS) at The Professional Development Center (PDC). Now, let’s meet some of the faces behind the manuals and microscopes: the 2011 class of Basic Agricultural Safeguarding Training (BAST).

Basic Agricultural Safeguarding Training student with a microscope

Basic Agricultural Safeguarding Training student with a microscope

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Renewable Energy Means Jobs for Americans

Biofuels – fuel from plant materials – may hold only vague meaning for many Americans.  But they are an opportunity our nation cannot afford to pass up.

When mixed with the gas that powers our cars and trucks, biofuels saved drivers almost 90 cents per gallon at the pump last year. Read more »

Master the Art of Home Canning, Seed Saving, Bee Keeping and Season Extension

Fall has finally arrived. For many this is a busy time at home, at work and especially in the garden where there are crops to harvest, prepare and preserve; seeds to save; weeds to pull; debris to collect and compost; cover crops to plant and the list goes on. To help you save time, money and space, USDA’s People’s Garden Initiative has invited experts to share advice in its 2011 Fall Webinar Series.

Master the Art of Home Canning, Seed Saving, Bee Keeping, SNAP Gardening and Season Extension

Master the Art of Home Canning, Seed Saving, Bee Keeping, SNAP Gardening and Season Extension

A series of five hour-long trainings will broadcast live on Wed. Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26 and Nov. 2 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. They are free for anyone to watch online. To join the training, register at www.extension.iastate.edu/broadcasts/emg/. Read more »

U.S. Agribusinesses Build Trade Relationships, Seek Export Success in Vietnam

For the past week, it has been my privilege to lead USDA’s first-ever agricultural trade mission to a country with one of the world’s fastest-growing economies–Vietnam.

Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear, and Consul General An Le of the U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City cut the ribbon to open the USDA-endorsed USA Pavilion at the Food and Hotel Vietnam trade show in Ho Chi Minh City on Sept. 28. The USA Pavilion is the largest ever at this trade show, featuring 28 U.S. companies representing a wide variety of agricultural goods and products. Scuse is in Vietnam leading USDA’s first-ever agricultural trade mission there. Photo by Le Sy Hoang Chuong

Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear, and Consul General An Le of the U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City cut the ribbon to open the USDA-endorsed USA Pavilion at the Food and Hotel Vietnam trade show in Ho Chi Minh City on Sept. 28. The USA Pavilion is the largest ever at this trade show, featuring 28 U.S. companies representing a wide variety of agricultural goods and products. Scuse is in Vietnam leading USDA’s first-ever agricultural trade mission there. Photo by Le Sy Hoang Chuong

I began my trip in Hanoi, where I met with government and agricultural officials and visited some of the city’s most historical and cultural hubs, including the Pho Hue Wet Market, where I was introduced to some of Vietnam’s unique, local cuisine. Read more »

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Visits Vermont’s Brattleboro Food Coop

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of touring the southern part of Vermont with US Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Kathleen Merrigan.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Dr. Kathleen Merrigan with Alex Gyori, General Manager of Brattleboro Food Coop.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Dr. Kathleen Merrigan with Alex Gyori, General Manager of Brattleboro Food Coop.

On Monday, we went from farm to farm along the Route 9 corridor and  met with some of the incredibly courageous farm families who are putting their lives back together after Tropical Storm Irene.  Loss of land, loss of crops and feed are just a few of the many challenges they are facing with amazing dignity. The purpose of the tour spearheaded by State Ag Secretary, Chuck Ross, was to make sure that those in need were aware of all of the programs USDA and the State had to offer.  In addition, he wanted our Washington visitor to see the stunning resilience of Vermont’s farm families.  A group that included Bob Paquin, FSA; Vicky Drew, NRCS; staff of Sen. Leahy and Sanders and Congressman Welch also shared their admiration for the strength of these individuals. Read more »

US Forest Service Scientist Awarded High Honor by President Obama

 

President Obama has named Dr. Samuel L. Zelinka, a U.S. Forest Service scientist, as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. This year Dr. Zelinka joins 93 other scientists and researchers in the annual award.

 

Dr. Samuel L. Zelinka of the USDA Forest Products Lab

Dr. Samuel L. Zelinka of the USDA Forest Products Lab

  

Dr. Zelinka works at the U.S. Forest Services world renowned Forest Products Lab (FPL), in Madison, WI. His expertise is in corrosion of metal fasteners in wood, electrical properties of wood and research on wood-moisture relations. Read more »