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Secretary Vilsack Meets Tennessee Stakeholders to Discuss USDA Supported Flex-Fuel Opportunities

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack touts the  benefits of Ethanol E-85 at a  gas station in Nashville, TN, on Monday, May 23, 2011.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack touts the benefits of Ethanol E-85 at a gas station in Nashville, TN, on Monday, May 23, 2011.

Secretary Tom Vilsack recently joined a Round Table of regional stakeholders in Nashville to discuss ways that USDA can help rural fuel station owners and cooperatives increase the availability and use of flex-fuels. About eight million cars and trucks on the road in the U.S. today can use E85 fuel, but finding a station that can dispense renewable fuels can be a challenge. Read more »

U.S. Meat Industry Making a Difference in Japan

More than 250 servings of U.S. steak were served on May 15 as part of USMEF’s relief efforts.

More than 250 servings of U.S. steak were served on May 15 as part of USMEF’s relief efforts.

The devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11 claimed the lives of over 13,000 people and left nearly 150,000 homeless. Read more »

Job Seekers to Have State-of-the Art Equipment at Pittston, Pennsylvania, Library

A large crowd of local officials, library patrons and staff filled the children’s section of the Pittston Memorial Library in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, on a hot May afternoon to hear good news from Senator Robert Casey.  Smiles abounded as Senator Casey announced that the library is receiving a $48,000 USDA Rural Development Community Facilities grant for library improvements.

According to Senator Casey, the funding will be used to purchase 14 new computers, a new selection of children’s, nonfiction, large print, local history and audio books, bookcases, furniture, carpeting and other improvements. With the Luzerne County unemployment rate at 9.5 percent, (higher than the state average), the library’s computers and internet connection are a valuable resource for job seekers. Senator Casey also heralded local libraries as the “beginning of job creation–the beginning of education” where families can come for “tranquility, safety and peace of mind.” Read more »

Thanks to USDA, a South Dakota Mom, Children and Grandmother have a Home of Their Own

Tonya Clyde, a single mother of two young children was in the process of a divorce and living in a home owned by her soon to be ex-husband.  She needed to find a home for herself, her children, and her 86-year old grandmother.  Since she had always been a stay at home mom and never held a job, she was desperate to find employment and a new home.

With the help of her grandmother to watch the children, Tonya obtained a full-time job as a sales associate.  Becoming employed was a huge accomplishment, and the possibility of owning her own home and providing a better life for her family convinced her to check into USDA’s housing program. Read more »

USDA Unveils New, Simple Tips to Stay Healthy, Active and Fit

Today was an exciting day at USDA as I was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama and Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin to unveil USDA’s new food icon, MyPlate. The icon is a departure from MyPyramid and serves as a quick, simple reminder to all consumers, built off of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for all Americans.

We all know that what we eat matters – MyPlate offers a visual reminder to make healthy food choices when you choose your next meal. MyPlate can help prioritize food choices by reminding us to make half of our plate fruits and vegetables and shows us the other important food groups for a well-balanced meal: whole grains, lean proteins, and low fat dairy. Read more »

First Person to Spot the Asian Longhorned Beetle in the U.S. Receives Recognition

APHIS recognizes Ingram Carner with a certificate of appreciation for being the first person in the United States to spot the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB).

ALB experts Joseph Gittleman of APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarrantine program and Joan Mahoney of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets recognized Carner in April. Read more »