Attendees at the recent “Building a Sustainable Renewable Energy Program for the 21st Century” conference in Denver, Colorado, participated in discussions about how renewable energy opportunities could create new jobs and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. Among those in attendance was USDA Rural Development Business Programs Administrator Judy Canales.
The event began with a luncheon presentation from Greg Krissek, ICM, Director of Government Affairs and Jim Imbler, ZeaChem, Chief Executive Officer. Krissek’s presentation to the group focused on the ethanol and biofuels industry. Krissek has been in the business for 11 years and currently oversees 102 plants with 6.5 billion gallons of ethanol production per year. He noted that America needs to take what we have learned from first generation biofuels and build on it through adding cellulosic changes to the process. Imbler focused his discussion on new technology in biorefinery development and in particular a cellulose-based biorefinery platform that could be capable of producing advanced ethanol, fuels and chemicals. The company is headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado. They currently operate a research and development laboratory facility in Menlo Park, California and have a 250,000 gallon per year cellulosic biorefinery under construction in Boardman, Oregon. Read more »
Maryanne Wedner, of Grgich Hills Estates, was one of many representatives showcasing their vintages at the California Wine Fair in Ottawa.
The United States and Canada have maintained a strong trade relationship over the years, sharing signature products from both countries. In 2010, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada were valued at $16.8 billion. Geographical proximity, similar business practices and eating habits make Canada an attractive export market for new-to-export and new-to-market U.S. companies. Canadians often travel to the United States, developing a taste for our regional flavors, including California wine. Read more »
Every year a low-oxygen, or hypoxic, area forms in the northern Gulf of Mexico, just below the mouth of the Mississippi River. Fish and other wildlife often avoid hypoxic zones, which can be deadly to marine organisms. Known contributors to the Gulf’s hypoxic zone include runoff from urban areas, land development and agriculture.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) works with farmers and ranchers to help reduce agricultural runoff that may contribute to the hypoxic zone, in part through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI). Read more »
As Under Secretary for Food Safety, one of my top priorities has been improving communications tools to get food safety information to more people, much faster. Today, it has been my pleasure to announce a new tool that has the potential to really reduce the number of foodborne illnesses, especially as we approach the summer grilling season. Read more »
Wednesday, April, 20, 2011 marked an important day for northeastern Minnesotans. Ground was broken to mark the beginning of a three-year project to supply high-speed broadband access across eight counties and surrounding of the Arrowhead region of Minnesota. The project was funded with $43.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in conjunction with USDA Rural Development. The Northeast Service Cooperative (NESC) in Mt. Iron, Minn. will oversee the project.
Senator Al Franken attended the groundbreaking and told the gathered media that creating rural broadband opportunities was a big part of the Recovery Act. Read more »
This year, USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) celebrates its 50th anniversary. ERS was established on April 3, 1961 during the Kennedy Administration, when USDA combined the Department’s economic research functions into one agency. The functions of our predecessor agency, the Bureau of Agricultural Economics (BAE, dating from 1922), had been dispersed in 1953 to other USDA offices, and many former BAE economists found a home in the new ERS.
This week, ERS is marking the occasion with a day-long symposium in USDA’s Jefferson Auditorium, featuring speakers from government and the research community who will focus on the agency’s contributions to public policy and the social sciences. USDA employees and the public are invited to the symposium. Read more »