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Team RD Washington Gathers Feedback From Key Stakeholders To Improve Help In Regulatory Review

How do you garner valuable feedback from key partners and stakeholders from around your state?

Just ask and let them speak, which is what USDA Rural Development leadership did in Washington State when they convened a stakeholder outreach meeting in Olympia on July 29 to discuss Rural Development priorities for President Obama’s 2013 budget and 2012 Farm Bill.

“The importance of this Regulatory Reform Stakeholder outreach meeting cannot be understated,” said Mario Villanueva, USDA Rural Development Washington State Director. “We had a tremendous response and interest in this convening with about 70 stakeholders attending the interactive meeting.” Read more »

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Holds White House Rural Council Forum at the Wisconsin State Fair

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at the White House Rural Forum at the Wisconsin State Fair, in West Allis, WI, on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2010, to businesses and community leaders, farmers and ranchers to explore ways federal, state and local officials can work together to improve economic conditions and create jobs. The forum is part of a series of White House Rural Roundtables that are being held across the country this summer with senior Administration officials. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at the White House Rural Forum at the Wisconsin State Fair, in West Allis, WI, on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2010, to businesses and community leaders, farmers and ranchers to explore ways federal, state and local officials can work together to improve economic conditions and create jobs. The forum is part of a series of White House Rural Roundtables that are being held across the country this summer with senior Administration officials. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

This week Wisconsin kicked off an annual tradition, the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis, WI.  As a part of the Opening Day activities, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack hosted a White House Rural Council Forum with businesses and community leaders, farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers from across the State. Read more »

Feds Cooked to Feed Families and Raised 2,500 lbs at Flavors of USDA

USDA employees volunteered as Flavors of USDA Chefs and Servers to support Feds Feed Families.

USDA employees volunteered as Flavors of USDA Chefs and Servers to support Feds Feed Families.

“I’m wearing this pin because it has a heart in the palm of a hand. You see that heart? I want people who eat my food to know that love went into the preparation of this meal,” said Rosetta Davis, AMS/Civil Rights Program, as she served USDA employees her delicious, homemade collard greens. Ms. Davis was one of 35 employees who volunteered as chefs at Flavors of USDA: Feds Cook to Feed Families. The tasting event welcomed more than 450 employees to plates of homemade food while encouraging donations to the Feds Feed Families campaign. And the food must have been good—the event raised more than 2,500 pounds of donated food. Read more »

A Little Help from Friends: Training Peer Counselors to Promote Breastfeeding in Texas

Here at FNS, we are working hard to increase breastfeeding rates through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. One of the ways we’re doing this is by using peer counselors who can provide more effective support to other breastfeeding mothers.

In July, I attended the “Breastfeeding Peer Counseling” course, which was hosted by the Food and Nutrition Service’s Southwest Regional Office and a nonprofit organization called Every Mother Inc. This organization provides counseling, lactation training and resources, and it was great to have them on hand for the training.  We also drew on the expertise of the national WIC staff, which directs the WIC program in serving over 9 million women, infants and children each month. Read more »

With FAS Support, California Prune and Walnut Exporter Thrives

Members of the Wilbur family (from left to right) John Friend, Rick Wilbur, Richard Wilbur and Emily Friend, gather on their farmland in California’s Sacramento Valley. As the owners and operators of the Wilbur Packing Company, they have had great success exporting prunes and walnuts to international markets with assistance from the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) export programs.

Members of the Wilbur family (from left to right) John Friend, Rick Wilbur, Richard Wilbur and Emily Friend, gather on their farmland in California’s Sacramento Valley. As the owners and operators of the Wilbur Packing Company, they have had great success exporting prunes and walnuts to international markets with assistance from the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) export programs.

Little did the Wilbur family know when they first settled on a farm in the Sacramento Valley in 1869 that they were laying the foundation for what would become one of California’s premier prune and walnut producers. Read more »

Focus on Hunger Among Latinos: President Obama and USDA’s Lisa Pino Visit National Council of La Raza

In the U.S., Hispanic households experience hunger at rates that are higher than the national average. According to USDA research, one out of every four Hispanic households in the U.S. is food insecure, compared with a national average of 15 percent. Hispanics also participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly the Food Stamp Program) at rates that are lower than the national average.

To call attention to this need to better reach the Latino population with access to nutrition assistance programs, USDA leadership participated in the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) annual conference in Washington DC from July 23-25. President Obama also gave a keynote speech at the conference, which had about 2,000 attendees. Read more »