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President Obama Visits Wisconsin Manufacturers Revitalized with USDA Loan Guarantee Support

President Barack Obama watches as an operator demonstrates the final stage of light fixture assembly during a tour of Orion Energy Systems, Inc in Manitowoc, Wisc., Jan. 26, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

President Barack Obama watches as an operator demonstrates the final stage of light fixture assembly during a tour of Orion Energy Systems, Inc in Manitowoc, Wisc., Jan. 26, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

President Barack Obama visited three businesses in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, this week on the heels of the State of the Union address. The main event was his address to the employees of Orion Energy Systems Inc.

Orion designs and produces energy management systems consisting primarily of high-performance, energy efficient lighting systems and controls. Their core line is a high intensity fluorescent lighting system that produces twice the quantity of lighting at one-half the electricity usage compared to standard lighting systems. The company also manufactures solar day-lighting products and distributes solar light tubes. Read more »

USDA-Ready to Assist America’s Rural Communities With State-of-the-Art Broadband Services

During his State of the Union address earlier this week, President Obama outlined a vision for the future that calls on America to “Out innovate, out educate, and out build the rest of the world.”  A crucial contributor to this effort, as the President recognized, is rural broadband.  USDA is funding the deployment of broadband systems across the country, and we want to help your community as well. Read more »

Know Your Farmer, Help a Refugee, Meet a Neighbor

Somali Bantu farmers at Intervale Center in Vermont. The Refugee Agriculture Partnership Program (RAPP) helps refugee farmers earn viable incomes through agriculture, by providing grants to support organizations and training in topics like business practices, pest control, land financing, and selling to restaurants and farmers markets.

Somali Bantu farmers at Intervale Center in Vermont. The Refugee Agriculture Partnership Program (RAPP) helps refugee farmers earn viable incomes through agriculture, by providing grants to support organizations and training in topics like business practices, pest control, land financing, and selling to restaurants and farmers markets.

What does USDA have to do with supporting refugees? What do refugees contribute to our food systems here in the United States? The answers become clear when you look at a unique partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program (RAPP), USDA, and Agricultural Extension agents. Read more »

USDA Funds Workshops on Best Practices for Selling U.S. Products to Malaysian Consumers

The Washington Apple Commission, together with the Pear Bureau Northwest, Northwest Cherries and the Washington Potato Commission conducted a series of workshops in January 2011 for major modern retailers in Malaysia, offering the latest insights on how to increase the sale of U.S. produce. Read more »

Celebrating the Western Regional Office Summer Sunshine Award Winners!

A participant enjoys an apple fresh from the tree during a Boys and Girls Club field trip to a local farm.

A participant enjoys an apple fresh from the tree during a Boys and Girls Club field trip to a local farm.

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

Summer Food Service Program – in the middle of winter?

That question is a common one when we talk about the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). During the school year, many children receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch through the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs. What happens when school lets out? Hunger is one of the most severe roadblocks to the learning process. The Summer Food Service Program is designed to fill that nutrition gap and make sure children can get the nutritious meals they need. Read more »

Score a Food Safety Touchdown at Your Super Bowl Party

In the middle of winter, Americans love having a reason to get together and celebrate a very American tradition—the Super Bowl. Every year, groups gather into cozy houses, crowd around buffet tables and television sets, and watch to see what NFL team will be deemed “best.” All of this crowding and sharing, while fun, presents an easy opportunity for foodborne illness to strike.

Super Bowl parties are often potlucks, with guests traveling with food in their car, or they may be the first time a 20-something hosts a meal at his house. Also, people may not want to miss the next big play to head to restroom to wash their hands. All of these scenarios are good reason to really pay attention to the food safety playbook: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. Read more »