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U.S. Wine Exports to Canada Increase Amid Strong Trade Relations

Maryanne Wedner, of Grgich Hills Estates, was one of many representatives showcasing their vintages at the California Wine Fair in Ottawa.

Maryanne Wedner, of Grgich Hills Estates, was one of many representatives showcasing their vintages at the California Wine Fair in Ottawa.

The United States and Canada have maintained a strong trade relationship over the years, sharing signature products from both countries. In 2010, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada were valued at $16.8 billion. Geographical proximity, similar business practices and eating habits make Canada an attractive export market for new-to-export and new-to-market U.S. companies. Canadians often travel to the United States, developing a taste for our regional flavors, including California wine. Read more »

Environmental Benefits Flow Downstream

Every year a low-oxygen, or hypoxic, area forms in the northern Gulf of Mexico, just below the mouth of the Mississippi River. Fish and other wildlife often avoid hypoxic zones, which can be deadly to marine organisms. Known contributors to the Gulf’s hypoxic zone include runoff from urban areas, land development and agriculture.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) works with farmers and ranchers to help reduce agricultural runoff that may contribute to the hypoxic zone, in part through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI). Read more »

Take Karen with You! Food Safety Tips Now Available 24/7 on Your Smartphone

USDA’s virtual food safety representative, Ask Karen, is now available in mobile format. That

As Under Secretary for Food Safety, one of my top priorities has been improving communications tools to get food safety information to more people, much faster. Today, it has been my pleasure to announce a new tool that has the potential to really reduce the number of foodborne illnesses, especially as we approach the summer grilling season. Read more »

NESC Breaks Ground on Recovery Act Broadband Project

Wednesday, April, 20, 2011 marked an important day for northeastern Minnesotans. Ground was broken to mark the beginning of a three-year project to supply high-speed broadband access across eight counties and surrounding of the Arrowhead region of Minnesota. The project was funded with $43.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in conjunction with USDA Rural Development. The Northeast Service Cooperative (NESC) in Mt. Iron, Minn. will oversee the project.

Senator Al Franken attended the groundbreaking and told the gathered media that creating rural broadband opportunities was a big part of the Recovery Act. Read more »

A Milestone Year for USDA’s Economic Research Service

This year, USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) celebrates its 50th anniversary. ERS was established on April 3, 1961 during the Kennedy Administration, when USDA combined the Department’s economic research functions into one agency. The functions of our predecessor agency, the Bureau of Agricultural Economics (BAE, dating from 1922), had been dispersed in 1953 to other USDA offices, and many former BAE economists found a home in the new ERS.

This week, ERS is marking the occasion with a day-long symposium in USDA’s Jefferson Auditorium, featuring speakers from government and the research community who will focus on the agency’s contributions to public policy and the social sciences. USDA employees and the public are invited to the symposium. Read more »

Recipes for Healthy Kids Judging Teams Begin School Visits

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

We’re entering the home stretch in the First Lady’s Recipes for Healthy Kids competition. Judges will be fanning out to schools across the country to watch them prepare the delicious recipes that have made it to the semi-finals. My colleague, Audrey Rowe, recently lead a team of judges to Harold S. Winograd School in Greeley, Colo., to kick off this phase of the competition, which is part of the First Lady’s effort to partner chefs with schools through her Let’s Move! initiative. Read more »