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Vinamilk, Cochran Fellows Exemplify Thriving Agricultural Partnership Between U.S. and Vietnam

Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse (left) tours a Vinamilk factory in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and sees dairy products the company has imported from the United States. Vinamilk is Vietnam’s largest dairy processing company and its general manager, Nguyen Quoc Khanh (right) is a 1998 alum of the Foreign Agricultural Service’s Cochran Fellowship Program. Scuse was in Vietnam last week leading USDA’s first agricultural trade mission there. Photo by Le Sy Hoang Chuong

Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse (left) tours a Vinamilk factory in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and sees dairy products the company has imported from the United States. Vinamilk is Vietnam’s largest dairy processing company and its general manager, Nguyen Quoc Khanh (right) is a 1998 alum of the Foreign Agricultural Service’s Cochran Fellowship Program. Scuse was in Vietnam last week leading USDA’s first agricultural trade mission there. Photo by Le Sy Hoang Chuong

Last week, I was honored to lead USDA’s first-ever agricultural trade mission to Vietnam, which is quickly becoming one of the United State’s largest markets for agricultural exports.

While there,   I met with government and agricultural officials, witnessed trade relationships developing between U.S. and Vietnamese companies, and visited some of Vietnam’s most successful agricultural production and development sites. Read more »

Border Patrol Explorers help Forest Service Cleanup in the State of Washington

A volunteer group of 14-18 year olds from the Oroville area gathered to pull irrigation piping and pick-up and haul trash from a marijuana grow site northeast of Winthrop, Wash.

A volunteer group of 14-18 year olds from the Oroville area gathered to pull irrigation piping and pick-up and haul trash from a marijuana grow site northeast of Winthrop, Wash.

Local teens recently teamed up with the Forest Service to help clean-up an abandoned marijuana grow site on the Methow Valley Ranger District on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington. Read more »

PACA, the First Line of Defense for the Produce Industry

In business, it’s important to trust . . . but also to verify.  Whether you want to buy or sell U.S. produce, it can sometimes be tricky deciding who to deal with and verifying their credentials. When it comes time to make a move, The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) division can help.

PACA facilitates fair trading practices in the marketing of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables in interstate and foreign commerce thereby ensuring that dealers get what they pay for and also get paid for what they sell—even if customers go out of business, declare bankruptcy, or refuse to pay for produce received. Read more »

Managing Risk: Key to Climate Change Adaptation for Resource Managers (part 2)

Risk management doesn’t mean trying to address all risks in all ways, “riding off in all directions,” spending money, time, energy, and social capital trying to drive every risk we identify to zero. There is no shortage of risks to manage. But neither does it mean just “hunkering down,” waiting to see what happens. No-action can be the riskiest action of all. And it’s not a very good way to learn. To learn forward, you have to lean forward. As my grandfather told me, “You can’t steer that bicycle unless you get it moving.”

Risk management is useful for helping us to decide and to explain how we have decided what not to do as much as what to do. It doesn’t make the decisions any easier, but it can help us make tradeoffs and opportunities more clear and guide us to making the highest possible reduction across multiple risks. We will need all the help we can get in sorting through which risks to handle first and how far to go in reducing particular risks. Read more »

Tribal Colleges to Receive USDA Funding to Improve Classrooms, Upgrade Computer Equipment and Provide Jobs

Earlier today I announced on behalf of Secretary Tom Vilsack that 19 tribal colleges in nine states have been awarded grants through the USDA Rural Development’s Tribal College Initiative Grant program, part of our Community Facilities program.  Funding will be used to upgrade Tribal college facilities and promote energy savings efforts.

Investing in Tribal educational facilities is key to increasing economic development in Native communities. These institutions and the students and faculty will benefit from funding that will enable them to provide enhanced educational opportunities and create jobs. Read more »

La Farm Service Agency del USDA Reduce Tasa de Quejas a Nivel más Bajo en la Historia, Mientras que Aumenta Préstamos a Agricultores en Desventaja Social

Bruce Nelson, el Administrador de la Farm Service Agency (FSA) del Departamento de Agricultura de Estados Unidos dijo hoy que la FSA ha reducido significativamente el número de quejas de derechos civiles en el año fiscal 2010 al nivel más bajo en la historia de la agencia, mientras que al tiempo aumentó el número de préstamos y la cantidad en dólares vinculados para el año fiscal 2011 a programas dedicados a las minorías y a las mujeres agricultoras.

“Las cifras de préstamos reflejan los importantes avances que hemos logrado en el esfuerzo por servir con igualdad a todos los solicitantes elegibles al apoyo de los programas de la FSA”, dijo Nelson. “Bajo el liderazgo del Presidente Obama y del Secretario Vilsack, la Farm Service Agency se ha comprometido como nunca antes a la diversidad, la inclusión y el rendimiento, para el beneficio de nuestros clientes y nuestros empleados. Read more »