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Secretary Vilsack Addresses Nebraska Students and Ag Industry Leaders-Says Rural America is Leading the Way in Biofuels Research

In an address last month to students of the Peter Kiewit Institute and members of Nebraska’s agriculture industry, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack cited numerous examples of how USDA is meeting President Obama’s challenge to Americans to “out innovate, out educate and out build the competition.”

The Peter Kiewit Institute offers academic programs from both the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Engineering and the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s College of Information Science and Technology. Although the correlation between the Institute and the Department of Agriculture may not be immediately evident, Vilsack’s remarks quickly painted a picture of two entities with a common goal — success through innovation and technology. Read more »

U.S. Agribusinesses on Trade Mission to Peru-Ecuador Look Forward to Making Sales, Forming Partnerships

Last week in his State of the Union address, President Obama talked about re-inventing our country “to make America the best place on Earth to do business.” He talked about creating new jobs and industries to re-energize our economy. He talked about the goal of doubling exports by the close of 2014 because the more we export the more jobs we create here at home.

Here at USDA, we are working every day to answer the President’s call. That is why I arrived in Lima, Peru, over the weekend to lead 20 U.S. agribusinesses on a trade and investment mission to develop business ties and explore opportunities for joint ventures with some 150 Peruvian and Ecuadorian companies. These U.S. companies represent the full range of food and agricultural products from bulk commodities to consumer-ready food products. Read more »

USDA Rural Development Administrator Discusses Renewable Energy Opportunities in Tennessee

USDA Business and Cooperative Programs Administrator Judith Canales convened a roundtable of renewable energy experts from the southeast in Nashville on January 26, to discuss development and marketing of bioenergy technologies and advanced biofuels. Read more »

USDA Assesses Freeze Damage of Florida Oranges

A Florida orange showing evidence of freeze damage at the center cut. Cell walls have weakened and separated, leaving a hole from which juice can seep out and evaporate.

A Florida orange showing evidence of freeze damage at the center cut. Cell walls have weakened and separated, leaving a hole from which juice can seep out and evaporate.

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 portfolio.

This year’s weather has presented some challenges for Florida’s citrus growers. In December, sub-freezing temperatures hit the citrus-growing region in the state, threatening this year’s citrus crops, which account for more than half of all citrus production in the United States. Read more »

New Dietary Guidelines Urge Consumers to Enjoy Food, but watch Calories In, Calories Out

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (seated right) announced the release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans in the George Washington University Jack Morton Auditorium, Monday, January 31 in Washington, DC. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is the federal governments evidence-based nutritional guidance to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (seated right) announced the release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans in the George Washington University Jack Morton Auditorium, Monday, January 31 in Washington, DC. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is the federal governments evidence-based nutritional guidance to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity.

Today I had the honor to join the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius to release the 2010 Dietary Guidelines – a science-based roadmap to give busy individuals, moms and dads the information to make thoughtful choices for themselves and their families. It was inspiring to see so many young people in the audience, followed by important health and nutrition questions from George Washington University students. Read more »

FSA Administrator Stresses Importance of New CRP Sign-Up to Preserve Habitat and Protect Soil from Runoff

Speaking to a packed house at Pheasant Fest in Omaha last week, Farm Service Administrator Jonathan Coppess praised the accomplishments of a lengthy and highly successful partnership between Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Pheasants Forever organization — a partnership that revolves around the success of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

How successful is CRP? According to Coppess, since its inception 25 years ago, CRP acres have resulted in an 8 billion ton reduction in soil erosion, restoration of 2 million acres of wetlands and adjacent buffers, vegetative protection of more than 200,000 stream bank buffers, significant increases in upland wildlife numbers which translates to recreational dollars for many rural economies. Read more »