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USDA Keeps Pests Out at Miami Port

The busiest plant inspection station in the country is about to become busier in this brand new, state-of-the-art plant inspection station open today in Miami, Florida.

The busiest plant inspection station in the country is about to become busier in this brand new, state-of-the-art plant inspection station open today in Miami, Florida.

A trip to your local plant nursery or florist is a lot like taking a trip around the world. You can find anything from boxwood from England, to roses from Colombia, to tulip bulbs from the Netherlands—the list goes on and on!  

Just as a myriad of plants, seeds and cut flowers come to us from around the world, so can plant pests and diseases. Non-native pests and diseases can hitchhike into the United States on shipments of plants and escape into the natural environment.  If these pests are introduced here, they can devastate home gardens and landscapes, nurseries, farms, and natural areas. Read more »

USDA education grant opens door to agriculture career opportunities

Former Montana State University student Ashley Williams meets with residents of Sanambele, Mali, to discuss water quality issues affecting the community.

Former Montana State University student Ashley Williams meets with residents of Sanambele, Mali, to discuss water quality issues affecting the community.

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 the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio. 

In 2004, as a junior at Montana State University (MSU), Ashley Williams knew she wanted to use her geography degree to make a difference internationally. She had no idea that agriculture would ever play a role in making that dream come true.

But that’s what happened when Williams found herself in a small farming village of 1,000 people in Sanambele, Mali, after a chance encounter with MSU entomology professor Florence Dunkel. Read more »

Obama Administration Officials Continue to Visit State Fairs

Building on the President’s commitment to address issues important to rural Americans, Cabinet Secretaries and other top Administration officials are visiting state fairs this summer and fall to discuss ongoing efforts to: Read more »

Secretary Calls on University Community to Encourage Employees to Serve as Agricultural Experts in Afghanistan and Iraq

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack hosted a conference call with leaders from more than 70 of the country’s land-grant institutions on Thursday afternoon, Aug. 14, to request assistance in helping to rebuild the agricultural economies of Afghanistan and Iraq. The Secretary asked all of those on the line to “reach out to your respective university communities – the academic side, the research side and the extension side,” to encourage experienced and eligible employees to apply to serve as Agriculture Experts with USDA in Afghanistan and Iraq. Read more »

New Mexico Broadband & Smart Grid Summit Working to Overcome Digital Divide and Harness Broadband Technologies

Earlier today at the New Mexico Broadband and Smart Grid Summit in Moriarty, I had the opportunity to tell policymakers, issue experts and industry leaders about Rural Utilities programs (RUS) that are contributing to creating economic opportunity and increasing energy independence through broadband and smart grid deployment.  

Others speaking at the event included: National Telecommunications and Information Administration Deputy Administrator Anna Gomez, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, and Federal Smart Grid Task Force Director Eric Lightner.   Together and with participants at the event, we opened a dialogue to help inform on future policy decisions regarding these important issues and the challenges we face in meeting them. Read more »

Food Safety Discovery Zone Visits Iowa State Fair

A school group poses in front of the Food Safety Discovery Zone after learning to Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.

A school group poses in front of the Food Safety Discovery Zone after learning to Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.

This weekend, USDA’s Food Safety Discovery Zone is stopped at the Iowa State Fair, and the Discovery Zone’s staff of U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Officers, is relishing the opportunities for food safety lessons that the fair environment provides. Daytime temperatures are exceeding the 90-degree mark, sparking discussions about how to keep food safe in hot weather, and the intense crowd means the Discovery Zone’s message is reaching tons of people. Read more »