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Farming Critical to Michigan Recovery

Originally published in The Detroit News:

Today, 306 million Americans have food on their table thanks to a small and noble group of professional gamblers: America’s farmers and ranchers.

Only about 1 percent of Americans operate a farm or ranch and these hardworking few not only help provide the rest of us with three meals every day, but they also form the foundation of the agricultural sector of our economy that generates one in every 12 jobs and a $20 billion trade surplus.

They do so in the face of enormous business and personal risk. Read more »

Helping Feds Feed Families

Holly Pashnik of Cumberland, RI., and her brother, Ryan, delivered 100 pounds of food to the USDA Service Center.

Holly Pashnik of Cumberland, RI., and her brother, Ryan, delivered 100 pounds of food to the USDA Service Center.

The Warwick USDA Service Center is 100 pound closer to their goal of donating 250 pounds of food to local food banks this summer thanks to a generous donation by Holly Pashnik of Cumberland, RI.  In celebration of her ninth birthday, Holly asked her guests to bring non-perishable food items to help hungry families instead of gifts to her party.  This week, Holly and her brother Ryan delivered 100 pounds of food to the USDA Service Center as part of the Feds, Farmers, and Friends Feed Families Program.  “I wanted to help children who don’t have enough food in the summer because they are missing the hot lunch and breakfast they get at school,” said Holly. “My aunt told me about Feds, Farmers, and Friends Feed Families Program and I took the food my friends donated and bought some more food so that we could bring 100 pounds to donate.” Donations are being collected at USDA offices across the country through August 31st and are given to local area food banks.

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 »