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Deputy Secretary Outlines USDA BioPreferred Program During an Ohio Visit

USDA employees and members of the public in Columbus, Ohio had the chance to hear Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan speak recently at the Columbus Federal Building as part of her one-day tour of the Buckeye state.

Merrigan’s first stop in the morning was at the Hoover plant in Glenwillow where she announced the USDA BioPreferred certifications bestowed on eleven new bio-based product initiatives. The products, which range from hand soaps to engine oils, are composed of agricultural ingredients and are certified to meet the standards for biobased content set by USDA. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack Announces Proposed Colorado Roadless Rule

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today the publication and start of a 90-day comment period for the proposed Colorado Roadless Rule, developed collaboratively to address the needs of Colorado’s unique and precious roadless areas.

This proposed rule, in development since 2005, is the product of extensive public involvement that included more than 200,000 written comments and reflects local and national and concerns. Read more »

Chicago Hosts Kickoff for Minority Health Month

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

On April 4th I had the opportunity to join Illinois’ Senator Dick Durbin, the President and First Lady’s personal trainer and member of President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Cornell McClellan and staff from USDA, the Department of Health and Human Services, Chicago Public Schools and Healthy Schools Campaign to kick off Minority Health Month.

Since schools offer an opportunity—and obligation—to promote and model good nutrition and physical fitness, Chicago’s McAuliffe Elementary was selected as the setting for the event. Read more »

Deadline Approaches for Producers to Sign Up for the Conservation Reserve Program

Photo of a steam bank enrolled in CCRP in Crook County, Wyoming.

Photo of a steam bank enrolled in CCRP in Crook County, Wyoming.

Producers interested in offering land in an effort to protect millions of acres of topsoil from erosion and improve the nation’s natural resources, have until Friday, April 15, to do so. This is the second consecutive year that USDA has offered a general Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) sign-up. Read more »

USDA Rural Development Programs Making a Big Impact in Western Iowa

On Friday, April 8th I had the opportunity to see first-hand the many ways USDA Rural Development programs are improving the lives of rural Americans when I visited a variety of USDA-funded projects in Anita, Logan and Woodbine in western Iowa.

In Anita, I met Duane Murphy, the local fire chief and all-around community champion.  He told me how the grant we are giving his community to assist with the purchase of a new fire truck will help keep the local residents safe. He also mentioned how his department will now be better equipped to provide rescue services to travelers along Interstate 80 and visitors to Lake Anita State Park. Read more »

Tick Riders: The Cornerstone of USDA’s Cattle Fever Tick Program

Recently I had the opportunity to travel to south Texas to learn first-hand about our Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program.

USDA has successfully eradicated cattle fever in the U.S.  Only a permanent quarantine buffer zone remains in south Texas, which spans 500 miles from Del Rio to Brownsville.  The ticks and disease remain well-established in Mexico, so the buffer zone is necessary to keep U.S. cattle free of cattle fever by preventing the re-establishment of the ticks. Read more »