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Vice President Biden Tours Everglades

Vice President Joe Biden visits with Carlos Suarez of NRCS during a tour of wetland projects in the Everglades.

Vice President Joe Biden visits with Carlos Suarez of NRCS during a tour of wetland projects in the Everglades.

Vice President Joe Biden was in Florida this week touring the Everglades and touting the benefits of federally funded restoration projects to restore the historical flow of water from the Northern Everglades Watershed to Everglades National Park. He brought his granddaughter along on the airboat tour of the Everglades area, where they were joined by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings. I was honored to be asked to represent the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) at the event. Read more »

Make Cinco de Mayo a “Citrus de Mayo” Celebration

This year I am encouraging everyone to make the Cinco de Mayo celebration a “Citrus de Mayo” affair by celebrating citrus’ role in the holiday’s food and culture.  My goal is to raise awareness of the serious threat that diseases like citrus greening pose to United States citrus.

From the limes and oranges we use to marinate the carne asada, and the lime we squeeze over our guacamole and tacos to bring out the flavor, to the delicious margaritas and the lime wedges with which we top an ice-cold beer, citrus is at the center of the festive Cinco de Mayo event.

Cinco de Mayo is just not the same without citrus.  With multiple diseases affecting our citrus and the recent confirmation of citrus greening disease in California, our access to U.S.-grown citrus is under serious threat, and with it, many of the foods and festivities we enjoy. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: A Hand Up for Homeowners

Today the American economy is continuing to heal from the great recession. Unemployment rates are falling, and we’ve added private sector jobs for two straight years. That means more than 4 million Americans are back on the job.

At the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we’re focused on growing the economy in rural America and I am proud of what we’ve accomplished.

One important part of our work has been supporting homeowners who are getting back on their feet – and just recently, USDA was able to take a new step to help. Read more »

Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin

The Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin (WWCB) began publication in 1872 as the Weekly Weather Chronicle and is jointly prepared by the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Agriculture.  The bulletin provides a vital source of information on weather, climate, and agricultural developments worldwide, along with detailed charts and tables of agro-meteorological information that are appropriate for the season.

The bulletin’s extensive array of products include a drought severity index, highlights of crop conditions and planting progress for key U.S. crops, state-by-state crop summaries, and a global overview of agricultural weather conditions.  The bulletin is posted every Wednesday by 12 p.m. eastern time.  For past reports or to receive reports by e-mail subscription, please visit the Albert A. Mann Library at Cornell University. Read more »

Bringing Nutrition Assistance to Hispanic Communities Across the Nation

A screen shot of the La Mesa Completa Tool Kit

A screen shot of the La Mesa Completa Tool Kit

This week, the Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships hosted a webinar in Spanish to launch our exciting new La Mesa Completa Tool Kit.  The e-tool was made for Spanish-speaking faith and community leaders to learn about the various ways in which they can partner with USDA to ensure that Latinos have access to federal nutrition programs.  More than one in four Latinos is food insecure, and Latinos access USDA nutrition assistance programs at the lowest rates of any demographic group. Read more »

How Far Has Food Safety Come in 150 years?

Throughout the year, and this month in particular, USDA celebrates 150 years of existence. The legislation that established USDA was signed on May 15, 1862, by President Abraham Lincoln. At that point, food safety wasn’t a major concern for the People’s Department.

The turning point for domestic meat inspection really came in 1905 and 1906, after Upton Sinclair published The Jungle. The details of the book described unsanitary working conditions in a Chicago meatpacking house, putting meat consumers at risk for disease. Read more »