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

Deputy Secretary Merrigan Announces Availability of Funds to Create New Business Opportunities for Agricultural Producers

One of the most satisfying aspects of my job has been to hear the various ways USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant program is making a positive difference in our rural economy. I’m pleased to announce new funding efforts by the Obama Administration to create jobs and foster new business opportunities in rural America.

Rural Americans take pride in and depend on the farmers, ranchers, and locally-owned businesses that provide fresh foods for their communities.  Despite the important role of these rural businesses and cooperatives, it can be difficult for them to begin marketing or distributing their products without financial support. Read more »

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Announces New Director-General

27 June 2011, Rome - FAO's Director-General elect José Graziano Da Silva. A Dialogue on Women in Agriculture: Where to after SOFA? Side event sponsored by the Rome Women's Network co-hosted by the United States and Kenya. FAO Conference, 37th Session. FAO headquarters (Austria Room). Co-Hosted by Ambassador of the United States of America to the UN Agencies in Rome Ertharin Cousin Ambassador of the Republic of Kenya to Italy and Permanent Representative to FAO, IFAD, and WFP Josephine Wangari Gaita. Presentations by: Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues for the United States of America; Dr. Agnes Kalibata Minister of Agriculture of Rwanda; Ann Tutwiler Deputy Director General for Knowledge of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Copyright ©FAO. Editorial use only. Photo credit must be given: ©FAO/Alessandra Benedetti

FAO's Director-General elect José Graziano Da Silva. A Dialogue on Women in Agriculture: Where to after SOFA? Side event sponsored by the Rome Women's Network co-hosted by the United States and Kenya. FAO Conference, 37th Session. FAO headquarters (Austria Room). Co-Hosted by Ambassador of the United States of America to the UN Agencies in Rome Ertharin Cousin Ambassador of the Republic of Kenya to Italy and Permanent Representative to FAO, IFAD, and WFP Josephine Wangari Gaita. Copyright ©FAO. Editorial use only. Photo credit: ©FAO/Alessandra Benedetti

This week, I joined my colleagues from all over the world for the 37th Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome. This bi-annual conference brings together world leaders in food and agriculture to discuss important issues related to agriculture, forestry, and global food security. This year’s conference is of particular significance as delegates elected a new Director-General, Jose Graziano da Silva of Brazil, to replace Jacques Diouf of Senegal, who has served in the position since 1993. The United States thanks Dr. Diouf for his hard work and dedication during his time as the Director General.  We are confident that Dr. Graziano da Silva will continue the ongoing reform effort to ensure that FAO is a strong, vibrant organization capable of tackling the challenges before us. Read more »

Putting together June Acreage Report is no Small Feat

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Earlier this month, representatives of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) spent two weeks contacting farmers and ranchers around the nation to find out how much U.S. farmland is planted to specific crops and to determine the number of livestock on U.S. farms and ranches in 2011.  In all, more than 35,000 interviews were conducted, with Texas accounting for about 5,000 of them. Read more »

Thanks to a USDA Home Loan Program, a Single Dad in Minnesota Has a Home for His Son

Chris Olson learned firsthand that there is much more to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) than he thought. Now he wants to share his story with others.

Olson used USDA Rural Development’s direct home loan program to purchase a home in Cambridge, Minn. He learned about Rural Development’s home loan programs online.

“They really make sure you understand everything there is to know about owning a home,” Olson said. “Payments, budgets, expenses, home maintenance – the homeownership course covers all of that so you are fully prepared before buying the house.” Read more »

Food Safe Families: First-Ever National Multimedia Food Safety Campaign Launches to Reduce Food Poisoning in the U.S.

Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill: Food Safe Families simplifies and updates safe food handling recommendations to shift the way people think about food poisoning risk and prevention.

Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill: Food Safe Families simplifies and updates safe food handling recommendations to shift the way people think about food poisoning risk and prevention.

Today, USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services launched a true first for our departments and our nation’s public health system. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service partnered with the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Ad Council to debut a joint, national, multimedia public service campaign called Food Safe Families to help Americans prevent food-related illnesses in their homes. With this campaign, we’re trying to shift the way people think about food handling so they can take a more proactive, preventive approach at home to help reduce food-related illnesses. Read more »

NRCS Employee Volunteers to Protect South Dakotans from Flood

Finished 4 and 1/2 foot tall sandbag dike along bend in Suncoast Drive

Finished 4 and 1/2 foot tall sandbag dike along bend in Suncoast Drive

Two weeks ago, I received a call from my brother and sister-in-law. They had just found out that their home might be impacted by the Missouri River flooding. Read more »