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

With Social Media, Your News Becomes Our News

Here in the Office of Communications at USDA, we work hard every day to get news and information out the digital door and into the hands of our diverse stakeholders. This steady flow of information takes the form of press releases, tweets, photos, videos, blogs and more. With the growing popularity of social media channels, this flow of information is increasingly a two-way street. In 2011 some of our best resources came from you, our readers. On two occasions we put out specific requests for your photos to personalize issues, and the responses were overwhelming.  Through the power of social media, we were able give our audience the chance to help tell the story for us, and that is our number 2 Social Media Moment of 2011.

When First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary Vilsack announced the new food icon, MyPlate, in June, we asked you to snap a picture of your plate and use the hashtag #MyPlate to show us how MyPlate became your plate. Photos of creative plates came rolling in showing us how you use the icon to help build the foundation for your healthy diet. There were – and still are – some healthy and tasty creations posted to Twitter! Read more »

U.S., China Plant Seeds for Stable Global Growth

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) recently hosted two examiners from China who were on hand to learn the U.S. system for examining new plant variety applications.

AMS’s Plant Variety Protection Office and the American Seed Trade Association invited Yang Yang and Lingo Gao from China’s Ministry of Agriculture to work to improve global intellectual property protection. The two countries are working toward harmonizing their respective plant variety protection systems. Read more »

7,175 Markets and Counting: Farmers Markets at your Fingertips

The USDA National Farmers Market Directory in map mode. This screen shot shows 126 farmers markets in North Carolina

The USDA National Farmers Market Directory in map mode. This screen shot shows 126 farmers markets in North Carolina

There have been many advances in opening government data for transparency and opportunities for collaboration. One dataset that we’re particularly excited about has immediate practical benefits and opportunities to stimulate business nationwide. Read more »

World Veterinary Year Celebrates More than Just a Profession

Associate Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) Animal Care (AC) program Dr. Andrea (Andy) Morgan with her horse, Belle. While on a road trip with her parents as a young child, Dr. Morgan saw horses in Louisville and Lexington, KY and realized that she wanted to be a veterinarian.

Associate Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) Animal Care (AC) program Dr. Andrea (Andy) Morgan with her horse, Belle. While on a road trip with her parents as a young child, Dr. Morgan saw horses in Louisville and Lexington, KY and realized that she wanted to be a veterinarian.

In any large organization, it can be easy to overlook the contributions of individuals, each with unique stories and perspective. With this in mind, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) was proud to mark the 250th anniversary of the veterinary profession by offering a series of weekly blogs showcasing a different APHIS veterinarian each Thursday. Written in first person, the “world veterinary year” blogs share career paths – from dream to reality – and put a face on the sometimes overlooked aspects of ‘on-the-ground’ USDA employees. It is this creative use of social media to effectively showcase the rich personality of our workforce that makes this series our number 4 favorite new media moment. Read more »

Resounding Spirit of Giving

The USDA Rural Development Center in Yankton, South Dakota is an active participant in the Yankton Mall’s Christmas Tree Gift –Away.  This is the second year they have donated a tree decorated with a USDA theme and kid friendly ornaments.

Business and individuals have donated 43 decorated Christmas trees on display at the mall, with votes for the best tree made through donated canned goods for the Yankton Contact Center.  Voting for the best tree was open through December 11, 2011.  With the assistance of the Contact Center, the trees are donated to needy families in the area. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Hunger And the Holidays

Like millions of Americans, I will join family and friends this holiday season to share meals, conversation and to count our blessings.  We’ll take a moment to thank the men and women in uniform serving our country overseas – and also those who produced the food on our tables.

During this time of celebration and good cheer, we should also look out for those less fortunate than we are.  This year at USDA, we provided critical nutrition assistance to one in four Americans during a time of record need.  But our work only goes so far.  That is why I want to encourage Americans to help fight hunger and poverty and to support those struggling to feed themselves and their families. Read more »