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FAS Market Development Programs Help Bring the U.S. Livestock Industry Closer to Russia

Cattle ranchers and their herds tough it out during the cold winter. (Photo Credit: Ryan T. Bell)

Cattle ranchers and their herds tough it out during the cold winter. (Photo Credit: Ryan T. Bell)

U.S. cattle ranching has evolved over time to bring together the cultural traditions of the West with new technology to produce quality U.S. livestock products. But did you ever think that these ways of the west could benefit a new frontier halfway around the world?

In 2007, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) worked with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to negotiate health certificates for the export of U.S. livestock and genetic material to Russia. The protocol was signed in 2008, allowing first-time U.S. exports of live cattle, semen, embryos, horses and swine. U.S exports of cattle, bull semen and cattle embryos to Russia were valued at nearly $12 million in 2010.  From January to May 2011, trade increased nearly fivefold compared to the same period last year. Read more »

APHIS Veterinarian Turns a Childhood Dream into Reality

Hi, I’m Dr. Shanna Siegel, a Veterinary Medical Officer with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).  I have been working for APHIS for the past 3 years on import and export matters here in Georgia.  After finishing vet school I worked as a small animal practitioner in a semi-rural practice while earning my Master’s of Public Health (MPH) degree. Upon completion of my MPH, I worked as a laboratory researcher. My current job allows me to follow my passion for helping both animals and people.

When I was young, I wanted to spend time with animals but my mother was allergic to them.  When I turned 12, I began volunteering at a local vet clinic.  I continued to work in clinics through college with the intention of going to vet school.  A specific class I took during my undergraduate years, entitled “People, Plagues and Parasites,” refocused my career ambitions on working with animal diseases and public health. Read more »

Food Donation Drive Finishes Strong

The USDA Scottsbluff Service Center, local Agri-businesses and local producers delivered on September 2nd,  more than 6,150 pounds of food to the Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska (CAPWN) in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.  The food was collected through the “Feds Feed Families”.  CAPWN’s local programs provide a natural partnership for the “Feds Feed Families” campaign because they have an established avenue to distribute to people who are in need.

While Nebraska is known as the “Cornhusker State”, agricultural production in western Nebraska also includes dry edible beans and sugar beets.  Kelley Bean, New Alliance Bean and Grain, Stateline Bean Producers Cooperative, Trinidad Benham Corporation and individual producer Leo Hoehn combined to donate 5,700 pounds of navy, pinto and mixed dry edible beans.  Western Sugar, a grower owned cooperative, donated 160 pounds of granulated sugar.

When Phillip Mitchell heard about the effort, he brought in 15 dozen ears of locally grown, organic sweet corn from his one and one-half acre plot.  Phillip also participates in the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) available through the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Read more »

What Can Outdoor Enthusiasts Do To Fight Invasive Species?

One of my favorite camping activities is reading a good book while listening to the sounds of nature.

One of my favorite camping activities is reading a good book while listening to the sounds of nature.

I’m an avid camper.  There’s nothing better than spending a week in the woods enjoying the calm and quiet beauty of nature.  Food tastes best to me when it’s cooked over a campfire.  And I want to make sure that I’ll always be able to go camping when I want to relax. Read more »

USDA Forest Service Research Center’s Tree-Planting Technique Takes Root in South

USDA Forest Service research is transforming exhausted farmland in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee into thousands of acres of hardwood forests that will provide revenue to landowners, remove carbon from the air and serve as habitats for wildlife.

In 1998, scientists with the Forest Service’s Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research, in Stoneville, Miss., began testing methods of afforestation – growing trees on barren farmland. The result was a tree-planting technique that mixed cottonwoods trees (poplars) with hardwood yearlings to produce strong, straight-stemmed hardwood trees.

Read more »

The Importance of Feeding the Hungry

Ever wonder exactly how many Americans struggle to put food on table?  It’s a question pondered more and more during a tough economy.  Today, the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) has shed some light on these conditions with their annual analysis of Americans’ success in feeding themselves and their families.

The report, Household Food Security in the United States in 2010, provides an important analysis of how well people are faring on this front during difficult economic times.

In 2010, just over 85 percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year.  However, about 17.2 million households were unable, at some point in the year, to provide either enough food or adequate food for at least one member due to a lack of resources.  That equates to nearly 49 million people in the United States – roughly one in six – who lived in a food insecure household in 2010. Read more »