Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

A Blue Ribbon in the Fight to Feed the Hungry

2010 Wisconsin State Fair – The WI Maple Syrup producers booth, in the WI Products Pavilion - Kevin Concannonm, USDA - Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, Brad Pfaff, USDA, Wisconsin , State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency, Randy Romanski, Deputy Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and Perry Brown, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

2010 Wisconsin State Fair – The WI Maple Syrup producers booth, in the WI Products Pavilion - Kevin Concannonm, USDA - Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, Brad Pfaff, USDA, Wisconsin , State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency, Randy Romanski, Deputy Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and Perry Brown, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

August 5th marked the opening of the Wisconsin State Fair, an event that brings in over 800,000 visitors, and perhaps more impressively, donates 180,000 pounds of food to the Hunger Task Force, a community supported organization that has fed hungry Milwaukeeans for over thirty years.

I had the pleasure of attending the opening ceremonies to celebrate Hunger Task Force Day alongside Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle. After the ceremonies, I enjoyed a tour of the fairgrounds with Farm Service Agency State Director Brad Pfaff, where we saw educational exhibits, cooking demonstrations using healthy foods you can buy on a budget, and vast displays of Wisconsin agriculture. Everywhere we turned, the fair was abuzz with hunger and nutrition education. Read more »

Illinois Feds Feed Families

USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Callahan presents food (on cart, foreground) donated by the state office in Champaign, Ill., to staff at Eastern Illinois Foodbank:  (from left) Cheryl Precious, director of marketing and development; Jim Hires, executive director; State Director  Callahan  and Matt Pieper, transportation supervisor.

USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Callahan presents food (on cart, foreground) donated by the state office in Champaign, Ill., to staff at Eastern Illinois Foodbank: (from left) Cheryl Precious, director of marketing and development; Jim Hires, executive director; State Director Callahan and Matt Pieper, transportation supervisor.

Would you leave corporate America to work for a non-profit?  Jim Hires did when he became the Executive Director of the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.  How did I meet him?  We met when I accompanied Illinois Rural Development State Director Colleen Callahan to drop off the state office’s donation to the food bank.  And why were we there?  To support the Feds, Farmers and Friends Feed Families food drive, of course! Read more »

A Taste of the States with our Neighbors to the North

Secretary Vilsack talks with U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson and Chef Dino Ovcaric about the U.S. foods featured during the tasteUS! culinary showcase in Ottawa.

Secretary Vilsack talks with U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson and Chef Dino Ovcaric about the U.S. foods featured during the tasteUS! culinary showcase in Ottawa.

This week, I traveled to Ottawa to meet with Canadian trade group leaders as well as Gerry Ritz, the minister of agriculture in Canada. As part of these meetings, we discussed agricultural trade issues that both of our countries face and opportunities for collaboration. In between meetings, I had the opportunity to participate in the tasteUS! Culinary Showcase. This event took place at Ambassador Jacobson’s residence and guests included Canadian media, buyers from Canadian grocery chains and food establishments, and U.S. cooperator representatives in Canada. Read more »

Ambassador Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative, visits Maine to Highlight Job Creation through Agricultural Exports

 

USDA Rural Development State Director for Maine Virginia Manuel and Farm Services Agency State Director Donovan Todd (center) give Ambassador Ron Kirk a tour of the Bangor State Fair.

USDA Rural Development State Director for Maine Virginia Manuel and Farm Services Agency State Director Donovan Todd (center) give Ambassador Ron Kirk a tour of the Bangor State Fair.

Ambassador Ron Kirk, the US Trade Representative, who is traveling across the country to meet with local business leaders, workers and farmers, visited Maine earlier this month. The Ambassador spoke at several venues, including a Maine International Trade Center roundtable with Maine business leaders involved in international trade, about how fair trade can support well-paying jobs right here at home. He addressed a second roundtable with union representatives, fair trade activists, and agriculture associations, hosted by Rep. Michael Michaud of Maine’s Second District. He finished his visit by meeting Rural Development and Farm Service Agency staff in the Bangor State Office, a wonderful treat for our teams in Maine.

Read more »

ARRA Funds Help Keep Washington Farmers Afloat

A bad year forced Klickitat County farmer Kelly Kreps to choose between fertilizing his fields or paying taxes and insurance. Even though his operation suffered freeze-related losses, Kreps’s ranch didn’t qualify for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) disaster payments program. That was until last year’s stimulus legislation.

“The stimulus funds allowed us to pay our fuel bills so we could fertilize,” said Kreps, co-owner of Kreps Ranch LLC. “This money helped shore up our losses on the ag side of our business and kept us from having to sell a piece of property.” Read more »

The Essence of the Jamboree – It’s not about the numbers

Denny Mattison, US Forest Service, tells scouts how water from sudden rains can damage ecosystems (USDA Forest Service photo by Jerry Snyder.

Denny Mattison, US Forest Service, tells scouts how water from sudden rains can damage ecosystems (USDA Forest Service photo by Jerry Snyder.

For the USDA Forest Service, looking back at this landmark Centennial Boy Scout Jamboree is not about the numbers: it is about the heart of future generations and how they will see, understand, care for, and respect the natural resources. The agency has a longstanding history and partnership with Scouts, dating back decades. Scout troops, Districts and national groups like Arrow 5, a special Eagle Scout organization, donate thousands of volunteer hours in recreation and natural resource work on national forests and grasslands. Read more »