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USDA Tree Climber Finishes 12th in World Competition

International Tree Climbing Championship (photos courtest of Bear LeVangie)

International Tree Climbing Championship (photos courtest of Bear LeVangie)

Does your job relate to the activities you enjoy in your personal life?  Mine does.  In fact, no matter what challenges I’ve faced over the years, I’ve been able to stay sane because I am doing what I love to do, and I keep a positive mental attitude. Read more »

Supporting Specialty Crop Growers Through State Block Grants

The USDA awarded 55 grants to encourage the production and consumption of specialty crops. These grants will help new markets for American specialty crop producers and solidify local and regional markets.

The USDA awarded 55 grants to encourage the production and consumption of specialty crops. These grants will help new markets for American specialty crop producers and solidify local and regional markets.

When I go to the grocery store or visit my local farmers market, on the top of my shopping list are healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, and nuts. I know that these items, part of a larger agricultural group classified as specialty crops, are a critical component of maintaining a healthy diet and that it is important for me to include them in my family’s meals. Making sure that all Americans have access to healthy foods like specialty crops is a priority for me and for the USDA. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack on Steve Jobs, Innovators and Entrepreneurs: At our Best When Fearless

“I think Steve Jobs and all the innovators and entrepreneurs of this country have been fearless and that’s when we operate at our best. I happen to be working in a field right now with the American farmer and rancher, who is fearless. They put a crop in the ground every day and we’re having a record year in agriculture. It’s part of a story that’s not told very often in the economy.  Trade surpluses,  job growth, record income levels. Because American agriculture takes a risk every day.”

– Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, asked about the death of Steve Jobs, on this morning’s “Morning Joe” on MSNBC

Young Workers Learn to Restore Ecosystems in Philadelphia

Trainee Peter Humber uses newly acquired skills to assist with an ecological restoration project in Philadelphia.  He and other youth learned basic tree care, nursery and nature resource restoration skills through a Forest Service Recovery Act-funded arboriculture training program.

Trainee Peter Humber uses newly acquired skills to assist with an ecological restoration project in Philadelphia. He and other youth learned basic tree care, nursery and nature resource restoration skills through a Forest Service Recovery Act-funded arboriculture training program.

A Forest Service Recovery Act-funded arboriculture training program is helping young trainees learn basic tree care, nursery, and natural resource restoration skills while revitalizing urban areas in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Read more »

Partnering in Virginia to Restore an Important Southern Ecosystem

Like the mythical phoenix, the very real longleaf pine is rising from the ashes of near-extinction to reclaim its native range in Virginia with the help of committed partners and landowners like Bill Owen.

A musician by profession, Owen is a conservationist at heart who still lives in the family home in Yale, Va. By working with a team of six agencies, including USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, he hopes to realize his dream of planting 1,000 contiguous acres of longleaf pine in his lifetime. Read more »

Dr. Sunny Geiser Reflects on her Career at APHIS for World Veterinary Year

Hi, I’m Dr. Sunny Geiser and I’m in the Area Veterinarian in Charge (AVIC) trainee program in USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Western Region.  I’m currently stationed in Fort Collins, CO.

I grew up with horses and livestock and always enjoyed working with them.  The medical aspect of their care fascinated me, so I decided to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.  After vet school, I worked in both private practice and state regulatory medicine before joining APHIS.  There’s a broader role to regulatory medicine and it feels like you are doing a greater service. Read more »