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On Cinco de Mayo Somos Uno: We’re One USDA

Welcoming visitors to our Somos Uno: We’re One USDA booth

Welcoming visitors to our Somos Uno: We’re One USDA booth

This past Saturday, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) participated in the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the National Cinco de Mayo Festival® ¡Salud en Cinco de Mayo!, sponsored by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Maru Montero Dance Company.  USDA partnered with LULAC, with whom we work on the recruitment of Hispanic professionals, promoting nutrition in the community, and on the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative.

Along with other representatives of the federal government, our Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Ed Avalos, gave welcoming remarks and emphasized a message of cultural heritage and health during this celebration.  Sam Kass, White House Chef and Senior Advisor Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives for the First Lady, was also present. Read more »

Energy Stakeholders Comment on USDA Energy Roadmap

During the previous 18 months, a team of USDA multidisciplinary experts reviewed, analyzed, and synthesized almost 1,000 responses from stakeholders about its June 2010 report that put forth a roadmap for the United States to produce advanced biofuels.  The roadmap report provided a basis for continued conversations about moving forward with producing more domestically grown fuels and reducing our dependence on foreign fossil fuels, improving the environment, and revitalizing rural communities.

Following the roadmap report, USDA held 57 stakeholder workshops in 41 States and Puerto Rico.   The workshops succeeded in gathering numerous and helpful comments from farmers, industry groups, biorefinery executives, and academia.   Stakeholder comments, as a whole, successfully broadened the view of the roadmap by providing additional information and insights.  The majority of comments echoed USDA’s conclusion that this nation has the natural resources to produce enough domestically grown biofuels.  The key to success, according to the comments, lies in a few critical areas that include: consistent policy support from the public sector, greater consumer awareness, utilization of a wide variety of feedstocks, sustainable conservation and cropping practices, and more recognition and use of forestry and wood products. Read more »

Appreciating Rural Teachers

Today, on Teacher Appreciation Day, we have an opportunity to say “thank you” to America’s educators.   In particular, I’d like to send a brief message of thanks to our teachers working in small towns and rural communities across the United States.

A quality education is imperative to the lives of children in every corner of our country, no matter where they live. This can be more challenging in smaller rural schools that face unique geographical challenges, tight budgets and barriers to technology in the classroom. Read more »

A Healthy Future for Kids in the Hispanic Community

On my recent trip to Miami, Florida, I had the opportunity to hold a White House Business Council roundtable, hosted by the South Florida Hispanic chamber of Commerce.  The roundtable discussion focused on challenges and accomplishments within the Hispanic community, including access to credit, broadband, small business, agricultural markets, plant pests, and community outreach.

While in Miami I was also invited to speak at the Latino Health and Wellness Expo in Miami.  “La Exposicion de Salud” was well attended with over 800 participants. Read more »

A Paradox: Cooling Streams in a Warming Climate?

A recent study by the USDA Forest Service, Oregon State University, and the U.S. Geological Survey identified trends in stream temperatures at sites like Mack Creek near the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon.

A recent study by the USDA Forest Service, Oregon State University, and the U.S. Geological Survey identified trends in stream temperatures at sites like Mack Creek near the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon.

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.

Recent warming of terrestrial climates combined with decreased stream flows has raised concerns about possible increases in stream temperatures in the Pacific continental United States. Loss of cold, clean water in the region has major implications for human use and for sensitive coldwater fishes, such as salmon and trout. In a joint project, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research (PNW) Station, and Oregon State University (OSU) researchers assessed the climate effects on cold water in low and high human-influenced sites using long-term stream temperature data from the USGS and the Forest Service. Read more »

Connecting Farmers Markets to a New World of Opportunities

A young boy looks over the fresh fruits and veggies with his mother at a farmers market in Mississippi.  By listing their market in the National Farmers Market Directory, market managers open their market up new customers. Photo courtesy Natalie Maynor

A young boy looks over the fresh fruits and veggies with his mother at a farmers market in Mississippi. By listing their market in the National Farmers Market Directory, market managers open their market up new customers. Photo courtesy Natalie Maynor

Spring is in the air and it’s time to gear up for the outdoor market season. People are looking for fresh fruits, veggies and other goodies from their local farmers markets, and with a couple clicks of the mouse, the USDA National Farmers Market Directory makes the search easy. Read more »