Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Foreign Officials Witness Diversity of U.S. Agriculture

The 2010 annual orientation tour group stops for a picture at ORIgen beef genetics facility in Huntley, Mont.”

The 2010 annual orientation tour group stops for a picture at ORIgen beef genetics facility in Huntley, Mont.”

Want to know how the U.S. does agriculture? Go straight to the source. That’s what I’m doing in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho this week with 24 international officials from 23 countries.

Members of our group, who serve at their countries’ embassies and consulates here in the U.S., hail from Angola, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Egypt, Delegation of the European Union (UK), France, Germany, Hungary, India, Iraq, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, and Vietnam. All participants pay their own travel, lodging and tour expenses. Read more »

The Food Safety Discovery Zone Hits the Bluegrass State!

Eastern Kentucky school children react enthusiastically to the hero, Thermy™ and BAC!® the villain at the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone.

Eastern Kentucky school children react enthusiastically to the hero, Thermy™ and BAC!® the villain at the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone.

The kids of eastern Kentucky have been getting a mega dose of food safety awareness this month. The USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone, a 40-foot long interactive exhibit on wheels, has been traveling throughout Rowan and Fayette Counties, teaching kids from seven schools how to keep them safe from foodborne illness. Additionally, the Food Safety Discovery Zone stopped at the Midway Fall Festival in Midway, Kentucky for an extra opportunity to blend education with fun while increasing food safety awareness. Read more »

West Virginia Farms Feeding Families

Audrey Rowe, USDA Deputy Administrator of Special Nutrition Programs, visits with Alicia Cowell and son Shawn at a West Virginia farmers’ market where the family is using WIC vouchers to help purchase fruits and vegetables.

Audrey Rowe, USDA Deputy Administrator of Special Nutrition Programs, visits with Alicia Powell and son Shawn at a West Virginia farmers’ market where the family is using WIC vouchers to help purchase fruits and vegetables.

I recently took a drive out to Martinsburg, West Virginia to visit Orr’s Farm Market .  The Orr’s market, like dozens in the area, stock fresh fruits and vegetables just harvested from the nearby fields and fertile orchards.  In fact, more than 95 percent of Orr’s produce is grown just feet from where I strolled: an impressive display of berries, sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, and a wide assortment of peach varieties of every imaginable type.  But fresh and local produce isn’t all I found at Orr’s.  You see, this market, along with many more around the country, welcomes participants in USDA food and nutrition programs–and that is very good news. Read more »

USDA Promotes Breastfeeding

Audrey Rowe, USDA Deputy Administrator of Special Nutrition Programs, chats with the Shenandoah Valley Community Breastfeeding support group August 6 in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Audrey Rowe, USDA Deputy Administrator of Special Nutrition Programs, chats with the Shenandoah Valley Community Breastfeeding support group August 6 in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

I recently had the pleasure to spend a little time with some expecting and nursing mothers in Martinsburg, West Virginia.  It was the first meeting of a newly formed community breastfeeding support group planned to coincide with World Breastfeeding Week.  My friend Mitch Greenbaum, Director of Shenandoah Valley WIC and Nutrition Services, and his team of trained WIC nutritionists, board-certified lactation consultants and breastfeeding peer counselors, hosted nearly two dozen pregnant and nursing mothers to talk about how important breastfeeding is for both mother and child and how to have a satisfying and healthy breastfeeding experience. Read more »

USDA Officials in the Midwest Look at Novel Ways to Create New Energy from Waste Material

An ethanol plant in Bairstown, Iowa, may soon begin producing fuel from waste materials.

An ethanol plant in Bairstown, Iowa, may soon begin producing fuel from waste materials.

After visiting a cutting-edge biofuels facility in rural Iowa recently, a group of USDA Rural Development state directors are thinking about the tremendous global implications of that plant. Read more »

Know Your Sooner, Know Your Food

Glynis Coleman and her son sell peppers and berries at a KYF2 Conference at the Kerr Center in Oklahoma.

Larry Wright leaned to his right and said, “I just realized that when I was up there introducing the conference, I forgot to tell everyone who I was.”Larry is the Oklahoma area coordinator for the Great Plains Resource Conservation and Development’s (RC&D) and worked tirelessly for five months planning a conference that would help build the rural communities his council serves.  After his first Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Conference and Gala more than 250 attendees know exactly what Larry does, and will be telling their friends about him, too. Read more »