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From Art Student to APHIS Veterinarian, Dr. Karen James-Preston on World Vet Year

Hello, I’m Dr. Karen James-Preston. I’m work for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS, as Director of the Veterinary Services’ National Center for Import and Export, Animal Products. My staff and I work every day to make sure animal products are safely imported into the United States. We also work to facilitate the export of animal products to other countries. My job is fulfilling because I’m part of the team that’s protecting the domestic livestock and poultry population from disease, as well as helping our agriculture industry move products abroad.

My path to becoming a veterinarian was non-traditional, to say the least. My undergraduate degree is actually in Art Education. Even though my plan for college was math, I somehow ended up in the art department. While I was at Howard University, I got my first pet, a toy poodle named Oatmeal. After a while, my friends asked why I didn’t want to become a veterinarian… and I didn’t have a good answer. Now I wasn’t a great artist, so I decided to pursue a veterinary career. I needed additional science courses to get into vet school, but luckily I was able to take those classes at University of Maryland and get into the vet school at Tuskegee, Alabama. Read more »

Urban Fruit for Urban Communities

Thanks to the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act, USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program (UCF) is supporting urban tree planting, including urban orchard and urban agroforestry projects, and promoting the economic, environmental, social, and health benefits of tree cover.

Who says you have to travel outside the city to enjoy the beauty (and deliciousness) of fresh fruit orchards? Cities all across America are transforming the urban landscape by harvesting trees in public spaces. Together with growing community gardens, planting urban orchards is bringing local groups and residents together to improve their neighborhoods. Read more »

Chief Economist Joseph Glauber on “Agriculture: Tomorrow’s Power”

For more than 65 years, the Oxford Farming Conference has built up a reputation as the most important of its kind in the UK and Europe. And this year, USDA Chief Economist Dr. Joseph Glauber will speak on the outlook for agriculture in light of the major global, climate and resource challenges facing agricultural producers over the next 40 years.

His presentation will occur during the meeting’s first session titled “Farming’s Place in an Uncertain World” on Wednesday January 4th. The 2012 conference will be held on the January 3-4-5 at the Examination Schools at Oxford University, Oxford, England. Read more »

“We Can’t Wait” to Improve Infrastructure

Today, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced critical investments in our nation’s infrastructure. Specifically, 46 transportation projects in 33 states and Puerto Rico will receive funding that will help support local communities and drive a nation-wide economic recovery.  These grants are steps this Administration is taking now to create jobs, repair our crumbling transportation systems, and make sure our economy continues to grow.

At USDA we are particularly excited about the announcement because $150 million will go to critical projects in rural areas. These investments will help boost economic development and make rural communities more attractive for businesses. Especially in rural areas, our transportation systems have gone too long without repair.  By improving our bridges, transit, freight, and ports, we’ll support agriculture jobs and make trucking of goods faster and more efficient for our farmers and ranchers. Read more »

Winter …The Perfect Time to Visit a Farmers Market

A winter market in Rochester, NY.  There are more than 1,200 operating winter farmers markets across the nation. You can find a market near you by using the USDA National Farmers Market Directory.

A winter market in Rochester, NY. There are more than 1,200 operating winter farmers markets across the nation. You can find a market near you by using the USDA National Farmers Market Directory.

Traditionally, the onset of winter meant the end of farmers market season. However, in recent years, winter farmers markets have become increasingly popular. According to the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), there are over 1,200 of these farmers markets operating across the country. This is almost a 38 percent increase from last year. Read more »

Expanding Wildlife Habitat on Private Lands

Forest undercover where invasive species have been removed.

Forest undercover where invasive species have been removed.

Joe and Jon Higgins are brothers who are working with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to improve the environmental quality of the 36 acres of land they share in Pomfret, Connecticut. Read more »