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NEI Event in Delaware Highlights Regional Businesses, Exports

Last week, I was honored to travel home to Delaware to address the importance of the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI). As a proud former agriculture secretary for this great state, I know well that for thousands of Delawareans, agriculture is not only a livelihood, but also a way of life.

Delaware boasts nearly 2,500 farms covering almost a half-million acres of land. In 2009 those farms generated more than $1 billion in cash receipts and exported $240 million in agricultural goods. Approximately half of the export value came from poultry, making Delaware the United States’ 12th-largest poultry exporter. Read more »

Childhood Landscape Inspires a Conservation Career

Caryl Radatz with her parents, Charles and Coralyn Radatz, in front of John Deere tractor used to install contour strips in 1943.

Caryl Radatz with her parents, Charles and Coralyn Radatz, in front of John Deere tractor used to install contour strips in 1943.

The views are breathtaking in what’s known as the “driftless area” in the upper Midwest, which encompasses parts of southeast Minnesota, southwest Wisconsin, northeast Iowa and northwest Illinois. This unique area was bypassed by retreating glaciers during the end of the last Ice Age several thousand years ago, leaving a steep, rugged landscape in their wake. It also inspired at least one local, Caryl Radatz, to pursue a career in conservation. Read more »

Agencies Work Together to Offer Workshop on Generating Opportunities in South Dakota Under the Small Business Jobs Act

South Dakota banks, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) and others took part in a one day workshop held in Chamberlain, South Dakota on May 12, 2011.  Attendees were given the opportunity to learn more about the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and SBA and USDA programs and their benefit to the nation’s economy as well as local economics.

Hailed as a success, the workshop gave all those in attendance an opportunity to network and share a combined vision in increasing access to capital and creating jobs in South Dakota. Read more »

The Entire Team – Ready to Support Louisiana

Cross-posted from FEMA’s Blog

For weeks, we have been monitoring the potential for significant flooding in Louisiana, along with the other states currently being impacted by the Mississippi River flooding and historic water levels. And similar to their actions to mitigate the impacts of flooding in Missouri several weeks ago, today the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Morganza Spillway in Louisiana to help minimize damage to property, structures, and to protect millions of people from historic flood levels. Read more »

What’s for lunch? How about a Roasted Fish Crispy Slaw Wrap?

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

It was off to the Sunshine State for our team of judges in the First Lady’s Recipes for Healthy Kids contest where they joined students at Orlando’s Liberty Middle School. The competition to date has been intense as kids cooked up some delectable dishes. Liberty’s recipe, called Roasted Fish Crispy Slaw Wrap (Dark Green and Orange Vegetables), was among 15 recipes chosen to move forward in the competition from among the 340 entries submitted across five categories: whole grains, dark green and orange vegetables, and dry beans and peas.

Recipe team members at Liberty were school nutrition professional, Sharon Springer; Chef Ed Colleran, Executive Sous Chef at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla.; community member Ms. Sarah Thornquest; and students Joshua, Tyler, Kimberly, Shalima, and Priscilla. Read more »

Meet Your Future USDA Employees

Fresno State University students, from left, Caitlin Guest, Aki Dionisopoulos and Amanda Jo Bettencourt received scholarship assistance from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) on May 5 in Fresno, California.

“Since 2005 we have been proud to work with Fresno State to create a program that establishes a pipeline for future employees,” said Rayne Pegg, AMS Administrator. “In addition, we would like to see the program substantially increase the overall diversity of our agency’s programs.” Read more »