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Celebrating National Gardening Month with Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth Programs

Soon after moving into the White House, the First Lady along with local elementary school children planted The Kitchen Garden at the White House, the first garden of its kind on White House grounds since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden during World War II.

Weeks earlier, I celebrated the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln by starting the first People’s Garden at USDA Headquarters in Washington D.C. That day, I could only begin to imagine that a movement which began in our nation’s capital would spread to make an impact in communities across America and the world. Read more »

USDA Establishes Temporary Livestock Pens Along the U.S./Mexico Border

The importation of Mexican feeder cattle is a tradition, a way of life and important to the border economy in Mexico and the U.S.  The Mexican cattle producer is dependent on the U.S. cattle market, while U.S. feeders and packers need the Mexican feeder cattle for their operations.

However, due to the increased border violence in northern Mexico, we were not able to allow USDA personnel to travel into Reynosa, Nuevo Laredo and Pierdas Negras to inspect and dip Mexican cattle destined for export to the U.S. Read more »

A Celebration! Nebraska’s First USDA Direct Multi Family Housing Loan Paid in Full

Gibbon, Nebraska with a population under 2,000 is celebrating the final payment of the first direct loan in Nebraska for a multi-family housing project through USDA Rural Development (the former Farmers Home Administration).

Board members of Gibbon Centennial Manor and tenants of the 16 unit complex gathered on April 2nd for a plaque presentation by USDA Rural Development Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul, commemorating more than 40 years of providing rural rental housing to Gibbon. Read more »

U.S. Fresh Produce Industry Building Strong Trade Relationships in Indonesia

This is the second in a series of three blogs affiliated with USDA’s Agribusiness Trade and Investment Mission, which was led by Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse.

For years, it’s been my privilege to help bring U.S. fresh fruits and vegetables to the grocery stores, restaurant menus and dinner tables of Indonesian consumers.

I represent groups within the U.S. produce industry who export agricultural goods to Indonesia. They include the Washington Apple Commission, the California Table Grape Commission and the Pear Bureau Northwest, all of which have found success in the Indonesian market. Read more »

USDA’s Food for Education Program Continues to Benefit Health of World’s Citizens

Clemence, a teacher from Ogondougou School, displays the peanuts grown in the school garden to be used as a condiment in the meal provided by USDA.

Clemence, a teacher from Ogondougou School, displays the peanuts grown in the school garden to be used as a condiment in the meal provided by USDA (CRS/Carmen Matty-Cervantes).

A group of schoolchildren wait patiently in line to get their lunch. This ritual takes place in schools all over the world. But for the children in Mali, a country ranked 160 out of 169 of the poorest countries in the world, this may be their one nutritious meal for the day. With the number of chronically hungry people surpassing one billion, a sustainable approach is necessary to answer the call of those in need. USDA’s McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program answers that call and works to not only feed the world’s hungry, but also improve the nutrition and education of children around the world. Read more »

U.S. Agribusinesses Seek Trade, Investment Opportunities in Indonesia

This is the first in a series of three blogs affiliated with USDA’s Agribusiness Trade and Investment Mission, which was led by Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse.

This week, it’s been my privilege to lead an Agribusiness Trade and Investment Mission to Indonesia, the United States’ top agricultural market in Southeast Asia.

Eighteen U.S. companies joined me in Jakarta to meet with more than 100 Indonesian buyers, producers and investors. Their intent is to make sales, enter joint ventures and boost trade and investment in Indonesia. Read more »