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Shared Challenges, Shared Solutions

It’s been a productive time here in Qingdao, China.  USDA and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), with support from the Gates Foundation, have gathered some of the top minds from around the world at the Mini-Summit on Agricultural Research to discuss challenges related to food security, food safety, and sustainable agriculture. China’s Vice Minister for Science and Technology, Zhang Laiwu and I led talks among experts from many nations and many sectors to focus on strengthening international research collaboration to benefit our nations and agriculture around the world.  Representatives of organizations like the Gates Foundation joined forces with African research leaders, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Bank to share information and discuss ways to leverage global resources to address global challenges affecting all nations.

The USDA and China’s MOST have a history of working together, with mutual respect, and with each meeting the relationship between our agencies grow stronger. USDA’s vision to address our shared challenges in the developed and developing world alike includes cooperative multilateral and international efforts.  Through these efforts, we hope to further establish global research collaboration platforms which provide the building blocks for the scientific community to confront many of our most pressing challenges. These platforms include: Read more »

With USDA Support, Navajo Nation’s Hardrock Chapter Opens New Multi-Purpose Building

The Navajo Nation’s Hardrock Chapter recently celebrated the opening of their new chapter house and multi-purpose center with a day of celebration, speeches, food and dance.

The building will serve as a safe and secure location for after school activities and also as a health center for seniors.

USDA Rural Development funded nearly $300,000 of the $1 million facility. The funds went to the Hardrock Council on Substance Abuse, Inc. who will also use the facility for wellness and counseling services. Read more »

No Laughing Matter

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research profile.

How many of us have said this–”Yeah, I could definitely stand to lose a few pounds”–usually with a self-deprecating chuckle?

In reality, obesity is no laughing matter in the United States.  Did you know that an obese person spends over $1,530 more per year on health care than a person with normal weight spends according a 2010 report by the Congressional Budget Office?  Rates of childhood obesity in the U.S. have more than tripled in the past 30 years, and rates of adult obesity have doubled in that time. Read more »

Seeking Your Input for USDA’s Digital Strategy

On May 23, 2012, the White House released the Federal Digital Strategy aimed at building a 21st century government provides open data and digital services to the American people and its employees.

As part of our Digital Strategy, USDA has identified several first-move candidates that can be improved to meet the call for web APIs and mobile optimized services by May 23, 2013.

We’d like your input in deciding which two candidates in each category we will commit to completing by OMB’s May 23, 2013 deadline. We’d love to hear your feedback – which of these candidates would be most useful to you? What should we consider when creating web APIs and optimizing for mobile? Did we miss anything? Read more »

Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 8/21/12

U.S. Pasture and Range Conditions, August 19, 2012.

U.S. Pasture and Range Conditions, August 19, 2012. Click to enlarge image.

Visit for the latest information regarding USDA’s Drought Disaster response and assistance.

During the last week, the heat that has been affecting much of the nation’s heartland all summer has shifted into the western United States.  As a result, wildfires have flourished in parts of the West, particularly in Idaho and northern California.  By August 20, the area burned by year-to-date U.S. wildfires reached 6.9 million acres, well above the 10-year average of 5.3 million acres. Read more »

North Carolina Rivercane Studies get a boost from Oconaluftee Job Corps

In the early morning light, 15 students look for the first time at a traditional Cherokee rivercane basket and marvel at the colors and detail.

Western Carolina University’s Adam Griffith of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines passes the basket around as he explains the cultural and ecological significance of rivercane.

“Since we started the Rivercane Restoration Project in 2006, I have just gotten more and more impressed with this native plant. It knows how deep it is in the soil- how cool is that?!” he says with a grin. Read more »