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

Secretary’s Column: Expanding Trade with Vietnam and China

Next week I will travel to Vietnam and China on behalf of USDA and our nation’s farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesses.  I want to strengthen trade relationships we have with both nations, support the American brand, and create more opportunities for American producers to sell their goods throughout the Asia Pacific region.

This year, China moved ahead of Mexico and Canada to become our number one export market for U.S. agricultural goods.  In the past decade, the Vietnamese market has also become increasingly important for our farmers, ranchers and growers – jumping from the 50th to 15th position as a market for U.S. farm exports. Read more »

Capitol Christmas Tree Heads Toward Nation’s Capitol

The 65-foot white fir that will be this year's Capitol Christmas Tree is loaded onto its flatbed truck by two cranes after being harvested Nov. 5. Prior to its harvesting on the Stanislaus National Forest in California, an elder from the Tuolumne Band of Me-wuk Indians blessed the majestic tree and its journey in a private ceremony. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

The 65-foot white fir that will be this year's Capitol Christmas Tree is loaded onto its flatbed truck by two cranes after being harvested Nov. 5. Prior to its harvesting on the Stanislaus National Forest in California, an elder from the Tuolumne Band of Me-wuk Indians blessed the majestic tree and its journey in a private ceremony. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

The 65-foot white fir from California’s Stanislaus National Forest was harvested and embarked on its journey toward the nation’s capitol on Nov. 5. Read more »

APHIS Veterinarian’s Love of Animals Starts at a Young Age

Hello, I’m Dr. Jack Shere, the Eastern Regional Director for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Veterinary Services program.

As a kid, we had a German Shepherd mix puppy. My dad brought her home from a shelter and we took her to the veterinarian for shots. After a time, she got sick, displaying a series of symptoms that turned out to be distemper. She’d contracted it when she was too young for the puppy shots. The symptoms got worse until one Friday when she had a seizure in the kitchen. We called the vet to ask about bringing her in to be humanely put to sleep and the vet said he would. Watching this puppy die was heartbreaking for my entire family. I decided then to become a vet and to never turn down emergency calls so no one had to go through what my family did with this puppy. I’ve kept that vow in years since I graduated vet school. Read more »

Restored Ranch Provides Recreation to Disabled Vets

Wood duck boxes were placed throughout the property to encourage nesting on the ranch.

Wood duck boxes were placed throughout the property to encourage nesting on the ranch.

For disabled military veterans who used to be sportsmen but thought they no longer had the same access to the great outdoors, the 2,000-acre Barker Ranch in West Richland, Wash. provides the opportunity to rekindle that experience. Read more »

Youth Education Blooming at Poland’s People’s Gardens

Zenon Rzymski, the  4H “Horizon” leader from Wrzesnia, Poland, stands in the People’s Garden his 4H club grows and tends as part of the School Garden Project, which was initiated by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) office in Warsaw, Poland. In all, 30 4-H club including 520 children throughout Poland participated in the project. (Photo By Witold Rzymski.) *He gave the photo to FAS Warsaw and gave permission for it to be used and distributed by USDA. *Zenon Rzymski, the  4H “Horizon” leader from Wrzesnia, Poland, stands in the People’s Garden his 4H club grows and tends as part of the School Garden Project, which was initiated by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) office in Warsaw, Poland. In all, 30 4-H club including 520 children throughout Poland participated in the project. (Photo By Witold Rzymski.)

Zenon Rzymski, the 4H “Horizon” leader from Wrzesnia, Poland, stands in the People’s Garden his 4H club grows and tends as part of the School Garden Project, which was initiated by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) office in Warsaw, Poland. In all, 30 4-H club including 520 children throughout Poland participated in the project. (Photo By Witold Rzymski.)

Thanks to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) office in Warsaw, children in Poland are learning about health and nutrition and are helping preserve the environment – all while perfecting their gardening skills. Read more »

The Food Safety Discovery Zone Reaches 2,000 Visitors at USDA’s 2011 Harvest Festival

Harvest Festival visitors of all lined up outside the Food Safety Discovery Zone to tour the exhibit, ask food safety questions about their purchases, and win prizes.

Harvest Festival visitors of all lined up outside the Food Safety Discovery Zone to tour the exhibit, ask food safety questions about their purchases, and win prizes.

It was a chilly but beautiful Friday when the Food Safety Discovery Zone joined vendors at the USDA Harvest Festival to celebrate the end of a successful growing season for the People’s Garden. Even among the jazz band, petting zoo, and the smell of kettle corn in the air, the giant yellow Food Safety Discovery Zone was impossible to miss. Designed to make food safety education fun for kids, the 40-foot long mobile exhibit attracted masses of visitors of all ages who wanted to know how to safely prepare the food they were buying at the festival or for the upcoming holidays. Read more »