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Announcing the “Food, Fun and Sun” Contest Finalists! Now Open for Public Vote, You Decide the Winners!

Thank you to all of the USDA Summer Food Service Programs that submitted an entry into the “Food, Fun, and Sun” Summer Food Service Program Story and Photo Contest!  The competition was extremely tough as we had over 100 contest submissions representing programs in over 40 States!  The first round of judging is complete.  We are thrilled to present to you the four contest finalists in each of the four categories. Read more »

Rural Champions Utilize USDA Programs to Promote Sustainable Farmland Practices

Rick Huszagh and Crista Carrell, Down to Earth Energy, Georgia

Rick Huszagh and Crista Carrell, Down to Earth Energy, Georgia

Cross posted from the White House Rural Champions of Change website:

When Rick Huszagh and Crista Carrell purchased part of her family’s farm in 1995, their focus was on farmland preservation as much as the creation of a successful business enterprise. Read more »

Dr. Brian McCluskey Discusses Serving as an APHIS Veterinarian for Over 20 Years

I’m Brian McCluskey, Chief Epidemiologist for Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services.  I’ve been with APHIS for more than 20 years and served in many different capacities.

I decided to become a veterinarian during my junior year in college, as a way to combine my interests in science, medicine and dairy cows.  As soon as I graduated and went into practice working with dairy cows, I found my skills challenged right away!  In my first five calls for calving assistance, four of them involved uterine torsions.  Now, this is a rare condition with a twist in the uterus making it difficult for the calf to come out.  I was able to successfully handle the calls, but I was really questioning my career choice at the time. Read more »

Calling All Students: Enter the Ending Childhood Hunger Video Contest!

Two elementary school students enjoy a safe and nutritious meal through USDA’s National School Lunch Program.

Two elementary school students enjoy a safe and nutritious meal through USDA’s National School Lunch Program.

We often talk about how important it is for different groups including schools, nonprofits, corporations, faith communities, and others to work together end childhood hunger.  Many times children and youth are left off that list, but not today! This is your chance to get involved. We’re calling on all students, grades 1-12, to answer the question: How can you help to end childhood hunger in your community? Read more »

Restoring Wetlands and Protecting History at the Same Time

Great Blue Heron uses restored wetland habitat near a significant archeological site in Yell County, Arkansas

Great Blue Heron uses restored wetland habitat near a significant archeological site in Yell County, Arkansas

A USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) project designed to alleviate crop losses from flooding and restore wetlands along the Arkansas and Petit Jean Rivers is also protecting a significant archeological site in Yell County, Arkansas. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack Honors USDA Employees for Service in Iraq and Afghanistan

Patrick Broyles, a U.S. Department of Agriculture employee, cleans a locally grown potato Dec. 18, 2008, during a visit to a new irrigation project in Muehlah, Iraq. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Wendy Wyman/Released)

Patrick Broyles, a U.S. Department of Agriculture employee, cleans a locally grown potato Dec. 18, 2008, during a visit to a new irrigation project in Muehlah, Iraq. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Wendy Wyman/Released)

Since 2003, more than 200 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) employees have sacrificed months – sometimes years – away from loved ones to live and work in war zones, voluntarily lending their skills and knowledge toward the betterment of people halfway around the world.

On Monday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack honored nearly 70 of these men and women, all of whom have returned from serving as agricultural experts in Iraq or Afghanistan in the past year. These employees hail from across the United States and represent several different USDA offices and agencies. In their roles as agricultural advisors, they have worked side-by-side with everyone from top officials with Iraq and Afghanistan’s ministries of agriculture to the U.S. military, from farmers, ranchers and students to widows and children. Read more »