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An Introduction to Mobile Slaughter Units

In the United States the slaughter and processing of meat sold in the marketplace must take place at a state or federally-inspected facility.  The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, or FSIS, is responsible for this important task.  While these requirements are important for protecting the public’s health, they can create challenges for farmers, ranchers, and processors looking to do business.

For example, small livestock producers are finding it hard (and at times, cost prohibitive) to transport their livestock the long distances necessary to the closest FSIS-inspected slaughter facility.  This is especially troubling to producers at a time when markets for locally grown and specialty products are becoming more and more profitable.  FSIS-inspected “mobile slaughter units” provide a feasible option for small red meat and poultry producers wanting to provide safe, wholesome product to local and interstate markets. Read more »

The Recovery Act in Your Community: Aiding Agricultural Independence & Improving Environmental Health

Northern Kagman Peninsula and Lau Lau Bay—part of the Kagman Watershed on Saipan. Saipan, an island between the Pacific and Philippine Seas, is part of the U.S.

Northern Kagman Peninsula and Lau Lau Bay—part of the Kagman Watershed on Saipan. Saipan, an island between the Pacific and Philippine Seas, is part of the U.S.

Islands often have to import many basic necessities and Saipan, in the Northern Mariana Islands, is no exception. That’s why the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Kagman Watershed Project is so important to the island. Read more »

USDA Seeks Tribal Input on Farm Bill Rules

 Rural Development Native American Coordinator Tedd Buelow addresses participants at the Tribal Consultation held in Billings, Mont.

Rural Development Native American Coordinator Tedd Buelow addresses participants at the Tribal Consultation held in Billings, Mont.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have made a renewed commitment to investment and outreach in Indian reservations. As the USDA works to implement legislation within the 2008 Farm Bill, department officials have met with tribal nations across the country to gather feedback on ways to implement certain sections of the Farm Bill specifically relevant to Indian country. Read more »

USDA Rural Development and Recovery Act Funding Finance Industrial Park Improvements and Create Jobs in Southeast Kansas

Ribbon Cutting:  Left to right: Robert O’Kelly, Mayor of Parsons, Kansas; Deb Miller, Kansas Secretary of Transportation; Patty Clark, State Director, USDA Rural Development; Carolyn Kennett, Economic Development Director for City Parsons; Fred Gress, Parsons City Manager

Ribbon Cutting: Left to right: Robert O’Kelly, Mayor of Parsons, Kansas; Deb Miller, Kansas Secretary of Transportation; Patty Clark, State Director, USDA Rural Development; Carolyn Kennett, Economic Development Director for City Parsons; Fred Gress, Parsons City Manager

Earlier this week, USDA Rural Development staff  joined the Kansas Department of Transportation and the City of Parsons, to celebrate the official opening of Giefer Drive and Tolen Creek Industrial Park as well as the completion of the US 59 Recovery Act Highway Project. Read more »

Just What the Doctor Ordered

The launch of a Fruit and Veggie Rx program in Portland, Maine is a promising health initiative led by the nonprofit Wholesome Wave. The program focuses on Somali refugee women at extremely high risk for diabetes as they transition to healthful diets.

The launch of a Fruit and Veggie Rx program in Portland, Maine is a promising health initiative led by the nonprofit Wholesome Wave. The program focuses on Somali refugee women at extremely high risk for diabetes as they transition to healthful diets.

Cross-Posted from the Know Your Farmer Know Your Food Blog

I recently participated in the launch of a Fruit and Veggie Rx program in Portland, Maine.  It is a promising health initiative, led by the nonprofit Wholesome Wave, that allows physicians to track the overall well-being of at-risk patients after prescribing more fruits and vegetables to family diets.  In Portland, the pilot will focus on Somali refugee women at extremely high risk for diabetes as they transition to healthful diets. The initiative is a good example of partners working together to encourage and support efforts to address both hunger and obesity in our communities.  Farmers markets can and are playing a key role in this effort. Read more »

Reflecciones Sobre los Derechos Civiles en el USDA

Antes de juramentar como Secretario de Agricultura, tuve la oportunidad de reunirme con algunos individuos que sirvieron en la posición en el pasado.  A estos les pedí consejo y dos de los más recientes Secretarios mencionaron que era importante que me enfocara en los derechos civiles.  Aprendí rapidamente por mi cuenta que el USDA tiene un historial de derechos civiles desafortunado y de altibajos, un historial de discriminación contra clientes y empleados que se extiende por varias decadas. Read more »