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Collaboration Key to Aiding Hurricane Sandy Victims

Tough times and dire circumstances have a longstanding history of bringing America’s communities and organizations together.  The recent storms that descended on much of the nation’s Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions have underscored these important partnerships.

For many of the stricken areas, including the urban centers in the Northeast, natural disasters of this scale are relatively rare.  And households containing the very young, elderly and those with special needs are of particular concern to USDA and our many partners engaged in these emergencies.

To aid those in Hurricane Sandy’s crosshairs, USDA swiftly coordinated with FEMA, States, and partner organizations to provide disaster nutrition assistance in 13 states.  By issuing automatic, mass replacement of SNAP benefits to certain households hit by the storm – for instance – SNAP individuals and families currently participating in SNAP will be able to replace their food purchased with SNAP benefits that spoiled due to flooding and power outages.  In the severely affected areas of New Jersey and New York SNAP recipients will be granted a waiver to purchase hot foods with their benefits.  In addition, USDA has worked with retailer trade associations to ensure SNAP authorized stores are aware of this waiver and eligibility for the purchase of hot foods through the month of November.  Meanwhile, several other States have been granted extensions to report loss of food purchased with their SNAP benefits and to request replacement benefits. Read more »

Veterans Inject Military Values into the U.S. Forest Service Workforce

Mary Laub’s graduation, Williams Air Force Base, January 1984. Photo courtesy of US Army Corps of Engineers.

Mary Laub’s graduation, Williams Air Force Base, January 1984. Photo courtesy of US Army Corps of Engineers.

We’ve all heard catchy military slogans like Be All You Can Be, Get an Edge on Life and Aim High. Three of the Forest Service’s finest can identify with each of these mantras. As former airmen and soldier, they proudly served in the U.S. Air Force and Army. Read more »

In Working with Tribes USDA Rural Development Opens Electronic Doors

Webinars and Teleconferences are not the raw materials that Tribes use to build the infrastructure that they need.  However, at USDA Rural Development we believe that these tools are crucial building blocks that help our Agencies and staff build a foundation for consultation, cooperation and mutual understanding with Federally Recognized Tribes.

Over the last few months, Rural Development co-hosted an Indian Housing Webinar Discussion Series with the National American Indian Housing Council.  The goals of that series were clear and simple: 1) Educate USDA Rural Development personnel on the unique issues in providing affordable housing in Indian Country; 2) Educate Tribes and Tribal housing program staff on USDA Rural Development’s programs and services; and, 3) Examine and discuss strategies to improve the partnership between Tribal housing programs and USDA Rural Development.  The final webinar was hosted on November 7th and in preparation for the National American Indian Housing Council’s Legal Symposium in December 2012, we are putting together a joint white paper on the Webinar Series and recommendations to consider moving forward. Read more »

Borlaug Fellows Gather in Des Moines for World Food Prize

Last month, hundreds of people from around the world gathered in Des Moines, Iowa, to honor this year’s World Food Prize Laureate, Dr. Daniel Hillel, for his pioneering scientific work in micro-irrigation. His drip technology revolutionized the way farmers watered crops and increased food production in the arid regions of the Middle East and other parts of the world for the past five decades.

Dr. Hillel’s recognition inspired many in attendance including Dr. Rajashekhara Rao Korada, a senior scientist from India currently in the United States for the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program, a program named in honor of the “Father of the Green Revolution.” During his 12-week fellowship at Louisiana State University, he’s studying pest management strategies for sweet potato crops. Read more »

North Carolina Forest Service Job Corps Students Improve Historic Site

North Carolina Forest Service Job Corps students improve historic site. Forest Service Job Corps student Jay Williams digs out a new footer for the next step in a stairway for increased angler access along Santeetlah Creek on the Nantahala National Forest on Sept. 29, 2012. US Forest Service photo/Holly Krake.

North Carolina Forest Service Job Corps students improve historic site. Forest Service Job Corps student Jay Williams digs out a new footer for the next step in a stairway for increased angler access along Santeetlah Creek on the Nantahala National Forest on Sept. 29, 2012. US Forest Service photo/Holly Krake.

Each year, thousands of volunteers across the country participate in the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in America, National Public Lands Day. Students and staff of the  Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center contributed over 250 hours of service on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests as a part of this year’s efforts. Read more »

Usted ha hablado. . . Nosotros escuchamos – USDA mantiene seminarios web en español sobre recursos agrícolas

 Frutas en cajones. Un seminario para el próximo jueves mostrará a los productores de habla hispana, cómo obtener precios, embarques, volumen y otra información detallada para cientos de productos básicos.

Frutas en cajones. Un seminario para el próximo jueves mostrará a los productores de habla hispana, cómo obtener precios, embarques, volumen y otra información detallada para cientos de productos básicos.

Este mes, el Servicio de Comercialización Agrícola (AMS) está llevando a cabo un seminario sobre los servicios y programas de  la agencia en español. El seminario titulado, Una introducción a las Noticias de Mercado de Frutas y Hortalizas del USDA, será el jueves 15 de Noviembre desde las 14:00 a las 15:00 hora del este. El seminario proporcionará información sobre cómo utilizar el portal de Noticias de Mercado. A  través del portal, los usuarios pueden generar informes gratis, modificados para sus requisitos particulares sobre precios, embarques, volumen y otra información detallada sobre cientos de productos agrícolas en mercados mayoristas nacionales e internacionales, áreas de producción y puertos de entrada. Dr. Luis Fernando Palmer, Jefe de la Sección de Reportes Internacionales de Noticias de Mercado de Frutas y Hortalizas del AMS, les explicará cómo funciona el portal y cómo su empresa u organización puede beneficiarse de la información. Read more »