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

FSA Administrator Reassures Drought-Stricken Producers in Texas

A burn scar from a recent rangeland wildfire is evident in Kleberg County Texas – more than 3 million acres of rangeland have been lost to wildfires in Texas this year.

A burn scar from a recent rangeland wildfire is evident in Kleberg County Texas – more than 3 million acres of rangeland have been lost to wildfires in Texas this year.

Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Bruce Nelson traveled to South Texas last week in the midst of the historic drought impacting most of Texas and the Southwest and adversely affecting thousands of agricultural producers. Nelson took the opportunity to visit with area farmers, ranchers and agribusiness representatives who are working hard to keep their operations going in the face of the natural disaster. He made a point to reassure everyone that Secretary Vilsack and the USDA are committed to helping affected producers. Read more »

U.S. Hosts International Meeting for the Protection of New Plant Varieties

U.S. officials and members of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants observe lettuce trials in California’s Salinas Valley.

U.S. officials and members of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants observe lettuce trials in California’s Salinas Valley.

Members of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) attended a weeklong meeting hosted by U.S. officials in Monterey, Calif.  The UPOV’s Technical Working Party for Vegetables, made up of delegates from 13 countries, was also able to observe a lettuce field-trial in the Salinas Valley. Read more »

After School Snacking

Cross posted from FoodSafety.gov:

More than 15 million school-aged children are home alone after school. That means they’ll be making their own afterschool snacks, without anyone supervising their creative concoctions. Will your kids be eating on their own during the week? If so, you might want to go over these guidelines with them—before they run straight to the refrigerator and snack mindlessly in front of the TV, with their feet on the table and the family dog in their lap. Read more »

APHIS Veterinarian Plays an Active Role in Safeguarding Animal Health

Hello, I’m Dr. Bill Huls, Facilities Manager with USDA APHIS’s Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB).  I have been with APHIS since 2002.  The CVB regulates the industry that manufacturers veterinary biological products including animal vaccines and diagnostic test kits.  I communicate with firms on a daily basis to help ensure they are maintaining compliance with federal regulations.   This includes managing documents and items that relate to those firms – things like policies and procedures used by the manufacturer to prepare their products, procedures for who enters and exits the facility, the organization and arrangement of the facilities they make their product in, etc.  I also conduct inspections of facilities that manufacture biological products.   The work performed by the CVB helps ensure both animal and human health is safeguarded.

I decided to become a veterinarian when I was 18 after spending time with a veterinary practitioner in my hometown.  Following completion of veterinary school I joined a small animal practice.  Eventually, I bought my own practice.  My practice years allowed me to have some pretty cool and challenging experiences. Read more »

Rare Puerto Rican Parrot Fights for Survival with Support from the US Forest Service

Puerto Rican Parrot, one of the 10 most endangered birds in the world.

Puerto Rican Parrot, one of the 10 most endangered birds in the world.

Deep amid the dense greenery of a rain forest, U.S. Forest Service scientists are nursing a special patient back to health.

The patient is on pain medication, but lucid enough to ruffle his emerald green feathers and fill the room with angry squawks when a biologist removes him from an incubator. It is a Puerto Rican parrot with a broken leg, a serious injury for one of the world’s most endangered bird species. Read more »

Investing in Rural America

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (center white shirt) listens to President Barack Obama speaking at the Northeast Iowa Community College for a White House Rural Economic Forum on August 16, 2011. Agriculture Secretary and chair of the White House Rural Council, Tom Vilsack, notes that the President’s visit will focus on agriculture’s contribution to the national economy, and how to create more jobs in rural America. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (center white shirt) listens to President Barack Obama speaking at the Northeast Iowa Community College for a White House Rural Economic Forum on August 16, 2011. Agriculture Secretary and chair of the White House Rural Council, Tom Vilsack, notes that the President’s visit will focus on agriculture’s contribution to the national economy, and how to create more jobs in rural America. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Earlier this week, President Obama along with Secretary Vilsack and members of the White House Rural Council hosted the White House Rural Economic Forum in Peosta, Iowa where the President announced new jobs initiatives focused on increasing access to capital, job training and health care services. The forum, part of President Obama’s three-day economic bus tour, brought together farmers, small business owners, private sector leaders, rural stakeholders and government officials to discuss ways to improve economic growth and create jobs in rural communities nationwide. The White House Rural Council, of which Secretary Vilsack is the chair, was created on June 9, 2011 by an executive order and is focused on finding ways to increase economic growth and infrastructure in rural communities. Read more »