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Ohio USDA Office Hosts an Alternative Aviation Fuels Forum

Air carriers, farmers, fuel refiners and government leaders met in Columbus, Ohio,  recently to explore the future of aviation fuels made from farm-grown energy crops. Hosted by USDA’s Ohio Rural Development office and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, representatives of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) and the Air Transport Association briefed Ohio stakeholder groups and state and federal officials on efforts underway in the airline industry to create a clean, reliable and cost-competitive supply of renewable jet biofuels to bring stability to petroleum-based aviation fuel market. Read more »

China Garden to be Established at National Arboretum

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (left)  and Ambassador Zhang Yesui, People’s Republic of China sign a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a National China Garden at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., Monday, January 24, 2011.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (left) and Ambassador Zhang Yesui, People’s Republic of China sign a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a National China Garden at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., Monday, January 24, 2011.

Today, I joined China’s Ambassador to the United States Zhang Yesui to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to construct a classical Chinese garden at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. This garden will illustrate the commitment our two countries have to horticulture, science and the arts and will serve as a testament to our countries’ celebrated cultural histories, delighting visitors for generations to come. I was pleased to join Ambassador Zhang and Madame Jiang Zehui to help turn this symbol of bilateral friendship into a reality. Madame Jiang Zehui is the executive director for the Chinese side for the China Garden. Read more »

USDA Webinar Spreads the Word about the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

The webinar talked about how the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program helps blueberries and other specialty crops remain competitive in the market.

The webinar talked about how the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program helps blueberries and other specialty crops remain competitive in the market.

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) recently hosted “Grant Opportunity: Enhancing the Competitiveness of Specialty Crops(use Playback option to hear webinar), the seventh in a series of webinars designed to educate the general public about federal fruit and vegetable programs. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack Builds Stronger Relationship with National FFA, Urges National Officer Team to Get Involved in the Farm Bill Process

As dozens of representatives from businesses and organizations that support the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) listened yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spent about 15 minutes in a Washington meeting room speaking directly to six college-age individuals.  The six, from across the country, are this year’s National FFA Officer Team.

The Secretary attended yesterday’s winter meeting of the FFA Sponsor Board to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) deepening USDA’s involvement with the FFA and its education mission. But before sitting down for the signing ceremony, the Secretary talked to the officers about their role in creating economic opportunity in rural America. Read more »

30 Years of Collaboration: U.S. – China Science & Technology Cooperation on Agriculture and Forestry

Recently, Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director John P. Holdren and the Minister of Science and Technology for the People’s Republic of China, Wan Gang, signed an historic extension to the U.S.-China Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology.  The newly extended agreement will foster a continuation of decades of cooperative endeavors that have encompassed such domains as agricultural science, high-energy physics, clean energy, and biomedical research. Read more »

1890 Student Makes a Big Contribution at the USDA Rural Development Kentucky State Office

College student Latrice Watkins began an internship at the Kentucky USDA Rural Development State Office last summer – but her dedication, positive attitude and incredible work ethic led to an extended stay, which came to an end last week after seven months.

Watkins will graduate this spring from Kentucky State University – an 1890 Land-Grant Institution – with a degree in elementary education. Much to the disappointment of the state office staff who wanted her to stay on even longer, Watkins is leaving to begin two semesters of student-teaching. Read more »