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Know Your Farmer, Know the Facts

In September of 2009, the Department of Agriculture launched the ‘Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food’ initiative. The initiative has been applauded by farmers and ranchers across the country as a key resource in helping to break down barriers to agriculture and economic development. Every day we get questions from farmers, ranchers, consumers and communities wanting to know how ‘Know Your Farmer’ applies to them. So we sat down with Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan to help answer some of those questions: Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Helping Americans Through Natural Disasters

These past months have brought tough times for folks across the nation.  Unusual weather patterns – too much water in some places, not enough elsewhere – have driven thousands of Americans from their homes, and threatened their livelihoods.

Other families have seen their lives turned upside down by tornados or threatened by historic wildfires.

In these difficult times, my heart goes out to all of those who have been touched by these disasters.  And I want folks to know that at USDA – and across the federal government – we are we are doing our best to serve all those who have been affected. Read more »

How to Keep Produce Safe Down on the Farm

I just came back from Orlando, Florida where I attended a meeting of the Produce Safety Alliance, a joint project by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Cornell University to provide farmers who grow and market fruits and vegetables with training and education about on-farm food safety practices.

At that meeting I talked about how America’s farmers and ranchers are one of our nation’s greatest assets.  We rely on them for our food, to preserve our environment and to help strengthen our nation’s economy.  I talked about the importance of the USDA and FDA working together to address on- farm food safety practices in a way that grows and strengthens America’s farms and rural communities. Read more »

USDA Official Participates in Mexican Potato Trade Mission in Colorado

Under Secretary Ed Avalos at the Colorado State University potato research facility in Center, CO with Mexico producer buyers, CSU researchers and Commissioner John Salazar, Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Under Secretary Ed Avalos at the Colorado State University potato research facility in Center, CO with Mexico produce buyers, CSU researchers and Commissioner John Salazar, Colorado Department of Agriculture.

I was recently invited to participate in a Mexican Potato Trade Mission hosted by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, and the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee. Read more »

Kansas High School Student Meets with Mozambique Ambassador to Discuss Food Aid

It isn’t every day that a student from Sabetha, Kansas gets a chance to meet an international diplomat, but last Wednesday wasn’t just any other day. That’s when students representing Grains for Hope, a non-profit organization committed to providing populations in need with fortified grain product, attended the International Food Aid and Development Conference in Kansas City, Mo. On Wednesday, one of those students met with Mozambique Ambassador to the United States Amelia Matos Sumbana who was also in Kansas City for the conference. The Ambassador’s participation in the conference provided a unique opportunity for the student and her teacher Carol Spangler to talk directly with the Ambassador about Grains for Hope. Read more »

Dr. Jose Lozada on World Veterinary Year 2011

Hello, I’m Dr. Jose Lozada. I joined the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in 2005 as a field veterinarian in Puerto Rico and, after a year and a half with the agency, I took my current position with the Veterinary Regulatory Support.

My job here is providing risk advice to our Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance officers, to help them prioritize activities and justify seizures and recalls to prevent foreign animal diseases from entering the United States. I also participate in the Military Agricultural Preclearance Program, ran jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense. Read more »