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Secretary’s Column: Working Together to Create Jobs

Recently, both houses of Congress took action to support tens-of-thousands of American jobs by ratifying trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, as well as passing trade adjustment assistance to help train workers for the 21st century economy.  And last week, the President signed them.

These agreements are a win for the American economy.  For American agriculture, their passage will mean over $2.3 billion in additional exports, supporting nearly 20,000 jobs here at home for folks who package, ship, and market agricultural products. Read more »

Farmers Market Promotion Program Supports Diverse Needs in Upper Midwest States

Goats in a natural meadow. Browse and Grass Farmer Association, an independent association focused on grass-fed sheep and goats in Downing, Wisconsin, will expand their offerings to local consumers and increase training in good agricultural practices (GAP) through a project supported by USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program. (Photo courtesy browseandgrass.org.)

Goats in a natural meadow. Browse and Grass Farmer Association, an independent association focused on grass-fed sheep and goats in Downing, Wisconsin, will expand their offerings to local consumers and increase training in good agricultural practices (GAP) through a project supported by USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program. (Photo courtesy browseandgrass.org.)

While most people associate farmers markets with fresh fruits and vegetables, farmers and ranchers actually bring a much more diverse range of products to the table every week. This year’s portfolio of grant recipients under the Farmers Market Promotion Program, administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), reflected that diversity in its range of projects. Among the grant recipients are several enterprises in the Midwest that overcome barriers for small livestock producers to get their healthy meat options into local markets. Read more »

Rural Development Under Secretary Tours USDA Funded Projects in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Under Secretary Tonsager and Worton farmer Frank Dill inspect a field of soybeans grown with the assistance of the County's spray irrigation system.

Under Secretary Tonsager and Worton farmer Frank Dill inspect a field of soybeans grown with the assistance of the County's spray irrigation system.

Earlier this fall, USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager traveled to Delaware and Maryland to tour two USDA funded wastewater system projects located in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Read more »

Conscientious Objectors Play Important Role in Smoke Jumping During World War II

Jumping out of planes via parachutes to put out remote wildland forest fires isn’t your typical American job and it isn’t for the faint of heart. Since 1939, the technique called smoke jumping has attracted physically fit, courageous and adventurous firefighters and has helped keep communities safe.

By the 1940s, the smoke jumping program was a valuable asset to the U.S. Forest Service.  Unfortunately, with the country’s men drafted during World War II, the Forest Service experienced a significant loss in federal personnel which impacted the fire program. Read more »

US Forest Service team receives Gold Smokey Bear Award in Wisconsin

Regional Forester Chuck Myers of the U.S. Forest Service's Eastern Region presented the Gold Smokey Bear Award to Fern Shupeck, executive director of the Betty Brinn Children's Museum in Milwaukee Sept. 27.

Regional Forester Chuck Myers of the U.S. Forest Service's Eastern Region presented the Gold Smokey Bear Award to Fern Shupeck, executive director of the Betty Brinn Children's Museum in Milwaukee Sept. 27.

An exciting and interactive exhibit has reached more than 400,000 museum goers across the country and has been given the highest national award for fire prevention activities. Read more »

Everyday is a Learning Opportunity for APHIS Veterinarian

Hello, I’m Dr. Suelee Robbe Austerman.  I work at USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. 

Agriculture has always been my first love.  I grew up on a ranch, but like many girls of my generation, there were limited opportunities to become part of the operation.  During college, I fell in love with veterinary medicine – as I could combine my interests in agriculture and science.  I spent my first six years out of vet school in large animal practice in South Dakota.  Then, I taught food supply veterinary medicine at Iowa State while working on my Masters and PhD.  While working on my PhD, I joined USDA’s Agriculture Research Service working on Johne’s disease. Read more »