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FAS Names Western U.S. Companies Mexico Exporters of the Year

“Ana Luisa Suarez, Daniel Berman and Mauricio Lamadrid, marketing representatives for the Wagner Family of Wine company, attend a California Wine Institute Grand Tasting event in February 2012. The California winery’s Mexico operation, Vinos Wagner, was recently named a 2011 Mexico Exporter of the Year. The company overcame international trade barriers and market competition to successfully export their wine throughout Mexico. Their success is just one example of the surge in popularity for the American brand of agriculture.”

Exporting U.S. agricultural commodities to foreign markets is not always a seamless process, and sometimes uncertainty is the rule. However, two companies recently received honors for their ability to overcome international trade barriers with USDA assistance and successfully export their products throughout Mexico. Read more »

Four Food Safety Tips for the Fourth! How to Protect Your Family from a Surprising July 4th Danger

This infographic featuring food safety tips from the Founding Fathers was created as part of the Food Safe Families consumer food safety education campaign.

Across the country, the Fourth of July celebration always centers on close friends and family and great food, usually from a barbeque.  My family and I will be enjoying sun, sand, and a cookout at the beach this year. As parents, my husband and I take great care near the ocean — carefully explaining the risks to our children and watching to make sure that their fun doesn’t end in injury. Read more »

USDA Undersecretary Sees Economic Engines at work in Michigan

State Director for Michigan James J. Turner, Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager, homeowner Sherion Jones and Area Specialist Lori Grover.

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager made two visits to Michigan in the last few days and joining him in his travels was Rural Development State Director for Michigan James J. Turner and several of our staff as he crossed the state. Read more »

Effective Partnering with USDA Brings a Family from Renting to Homeownership

Dr. Joe Leonard presents Clarissa Hoffman and Marcel Picotte Sr. with a housewarming plant personally provided by Maxine Moul, Nebraska State Director.

Now is the Time…and the Marcel Picotte Sr. family saw the opportunity and went for homeownership!  Dr. Joe Leonard, USDA Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, and Janie Hipp, Senior Advisor to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for Tribal Relations at USDA, joined Nebraska USDA Rural Development State Director Maxine Moul and South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks and staff for a National Homeownership Month event at the Picottes’ family of five home in Winnebago, Nebraska.  Read more »

USDA and Land grant Universities Engage Communities through Gardening at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The People’s Garden exhibit at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in the Reinventing Agriculture area of Campus and Community. The People’s Garden exhibit at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in the Reinventing Agriculture area of Campus and Community.

The People’s Garden exhibit at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in the Reinventing Agriculture area of Campus and Community.

Wednesday was opening day of the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall.  The Festival features three great themes.  One of the themes entitled “Campus and Community” is a program that commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Land grant universities and the USDA. The People’s Garden Initiative is thrilled to have an exhibition in the Reinventing Agriculture area of Campus and Community. Please stop by to see it and talk gardening with USDA’s Executive Master Gardeners! Like us, universities from across the country are demonstrating how they engage communities through gardening. The Festival runs June 27 to July 1 and July 4-8 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: National Homeownership Month

June is National Homeownership Month, and at the U.S. Department of Agriculture we’ve spent the past few weeks highlighting the role housing plays in our small towns and rural communities.

With 50 million Americans living in rural America, access to quality, safe housing is an important factor to a high quality of life – and as homeownership in a community increases, there are also significant economic benefits.

By some estimates, the sale of an existing median-price home creates nearly $60,000 in economic activity; and that’s not including the extra job-creating potential of a newly-built home.   Read more »