There is good news! Earlier this week Ambassador Ertharin Cousin was appointed as Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme. The WFP, based in Rome, is the world’s largest humanitarian agency. Its objective is to provide food aid to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people with the intent of ultimately ending the need for food aid by eradicating hunger and poverty.
Ambassador Cousin is uniquely qualified to assume this prominent position. I have had the opportunity to spend time with her in one of the grandest cities in the world. For more than two years, she has been living in Rome, where she has served as our country’s Representative to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome. In this role, Ambassador Cousin has provided critical leadership in helping to carry out President Obama’s global food security policies. She is full of energy, ideas, and optimism. Secretary Vilsack and I greatly appreciate Ambassador Cousin’s support in fulfilling the United States’ strategic objectives with the three Rome-based U.N. agencies. We know she will bring the same level of dedication to her new role. Read more »
Loyal Doers 4-H Club members get produce ready for their community farmers market. The market was started by the club as a response to the needs of the community, and helps teach members the fundamentals of agriculture and community involvement. Photo by Bradley D. James
This summer, the Loyal Doers 4-H Club in Hooker, Oklahoma, successfully held the state’s first 4-H-sponsored farmers market. The market was a huge success, and the youth gained firsthand knowledge about growing produce and getting involved in the community. It also helped the community connect with the farmers that produce their food while offering them a wonderful selection of fresh, wholesome products. Read more »
Fire brigades in the Brazilian Amazon listen to Scott Dehnisch, a U.S. Forest Service employee. Photo courtesy of Forrest Behm.
Since 1991, the U.S. Forest Service has worked to develop a program focusing on improving sustainable forest management and administration, fire management and prevention and special uses in protected areas in Brazil. The emphasis has been on exchanging experiences with a focus on critical issues such as curbing illegal logging and preserving public forests. Read more »
A gray wolf (not OR7)
For the first time in almost 90 years, the state of California has become home to a wolf.
A few days shy of the new year, OR7 meandered alone into the Golden State after crossing the state border shared by Oregon. The 2-year-old gray wolf is the first and only documented wolf in California since 1924, and is protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Read more »
When USDA Rural Development funds a water system (as it did 800 times last year across the Nation), work doesn’t stop when the system is activated. It has to be maintained. The South Dakota Association of Rural Water Systems annually holds a training event where operators, managers, and board members can gain tangible knowledge ranging from energy audits to infrastructure rehabilitation. Staff from South Dakota USDA Rural Development (RD) contributes to the training to make it an annual success.
Recently, Community Program Director Doug Roehl was a speaker at the training covering the opportunities for funding. Area Directors from across the State networked with the water districts in their area; learning about future needs in infrastructure and the changing needs of water users. On the final day of the event, an awards event was held where USDA RD Community Program Specialist, Pat Hemen, received the “Friend of Rural Water” award. The distinguished Friend of Rural Water title is awarded to agencies, organizations, or individuals who have supported rural water improvements. Hemen was acknowledged for his guidance and technical assistance before and after the funding process. Hemen as well as other staff acted as judges for the annual SD Water Taste Test Award as well. Read more »
Members of the specialty coffee cooperative “Los Maronchos” work in the field at the coffee farm located in Las Vegas, Santa Bárbara, Honduras. Coffees grown by farmers who are members of this cooperative won Honduras’ 2011 Cup of Excellence and had received assistance through USDA’s Food for Progress Program. Photo credit: TechnoServe
If you can name it, there’s probably a competitive event for it. For instance, coffee has its own competition called the Cup of Excellence. In the coffee world, no honor is more sought after. It is given each year to only top coffees from participating coffee-producing countries. Read more »