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Hawaii’s Big Island Flavor Steams into the Canadian Market

The company prides itself on handpicking all of its coffee cherries. (Photo credit: Hawaii Exports International)

The company prides itself on handpicking all of its coffee cherries. (Photo credit: Hawaii Exports International)

Hawaii Exports International (HEI) of Honolulu has successfully introduced its award-winning Kona and Ka’u coffees to the Canadian market with the support of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) office in Canada, the FAS-funded Western U.S. Agricultural Trade Association (WUSATA), and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA). Read more »

The 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree Checks-In at Number 6

A 63-foot Sierra white fir from the Stanislaus National Forest in California was lit as the 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree during a ceremony Dec. 6 on the west front lawn of the Capitol. The Christmas tree is adorned with about 3,000 ornaments, all homemade by California residents, and 10,000 energy-efficient lights. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

A 63-foot Sierra white fir from the Stanislaus National Forest in California was lit as the 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree during a ceremony Dec. 6 on the west front lawn of the Capitol. The Christmas tree is adorned with about 3,000 ornaments, all homemade by California residents, and 10,000 energy-efficient lights. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

Every year, the Christmas tree that graces the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol originates from one of our country’s National Forests. It may not be widely known that the USDA’s Forest Service is instrumental in facilitating the Capitol Christmas Tree’s transport from the forest to the Washington, DC, yet it’s a proud tradition that has steadily gained attention each year with the growing popularity of social media tools. The 2011 annual trek is our number 6 favorite social media moment. Read more »

Faces of the Forest celebrates Lindsay Campbell

Lindsay Campbell, U.S. Forest Service research social scientist, presents "Understanding Civic Environmental Stewardship Networks in New York City" at the MillionTreesNYC, Green Infrastructure, and Urban Ecology: A Research Symposium in New York City March 2010. (Photo provided by New School University)

Lindsay Campbell, U.S. Forest Service research social scientist, presents "Understanding Civic Environmental Stewardship Networks in New York City" at the MillionTreesNYC, Green Infrastructure, and Urban Ecology: A Research Symposium in New York City March 2010. (Photo provided by New School University)

Some people may not guess that Lindsay Campbell works for the U.S. Forest Service. After all, she does not work on a national forest. Rather, she loves her job in New York City and frequently travels the globe as a member of the U.S. National Team for fencing. Read more »

USDA 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum: Sessions Focusing on Disease Prevention and Response

USDA’s 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum, Feb. 23-24, will present 25 breakout sessions, including “Preventing Disease From Crossing the Border: SPS Initiatives for Global Food Security” and “Fighting Foodborne Illness.”  While the first session will focus on the contribution of animal health to global food security, I’ll be moderating the second session that looks at Salmonella and the most recent progress made in fighting its threat to public health.

Since a coordinated response to outbreaks is a vital component of protecting American animal agriculture, the “Preventing Disease From Crossing the Border” session includes cooperative perspectives.  Dr. Jose Diez, Associate Deputy Administrator of USDA’s Veterinary Services Emergency Management and Diagnostics Service will address “Global Emergency Response.”  Dr. Mo Salman, Colorado State University, will discuss “Enhancing International Capacity to Meet SPS Standards;” and Former Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Agriculture, Jason Hafemeister, addresses “SPS Issues and Free Trade Agreements.” Read more »

Then and Now, USDA Feeds the Nation

During the holiday season, food banks across America experience a spike in demand and this year is no different. Today that seasonal demand is also bolstered by a significant rise in client numbers because of the current U.S. economy.

One of those food distributors seeing an uptick in demand is the Capital Area Food Bank, a food hub with more than 700 partners that distribute commodities to locations in the District of Columbia, northern Virginia and parts of Maryland. Read more »

Strategic Partners Collaborate for Jobs and Healthy Communities in Southeast Alaska

“Heaven on Earth” – it’s the popular sentiment of residents living in Southeast Alaska.  If you’ve ever taken an Alaskan cruise no doubt it was through the Southeast Panhandle where miles of wild beauty delights the eye.

It’s no wonder Southeast Alaska is a premier destination for U.S. and international travelers.  With that in mind, it may come as a surprise this singularly picturesque region has endured an economic hardship that continues to loom over its residents.  Since the downturn of the once thriving timber industry the majority of rural communities in Southeast have experienced a downturn in their local economy along with declining populations, fewer job opportunities and increasing energy costs. Read more »