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Helping with the Deepwater Response

Last week I completed three weeks working at the Deepwater Horizon Unified Area Command (UAC) in New Orleans. The UAC is a command center made up of Coast Guard, BP, Federal and State employees working together to address the environmental-, public health- and wildlife-related concerns associated with the massive Deepwater clean-up effort in the Gulf of Mexico. At the UAC, hundreds of staff members work nearly 12 hours each day, seven days a week. Read more »

Feds Feed Families in Massachusetts

The Gloucester food pantry is set up like a grocery store for the convenience of recipients.

The Gloucester food pantry is set up like a grocery store for the convenience of recipients.

Earlier this month, USDA Rural Development Area Director Lyndon Nichols, Helen Rush-Lloyd, Constituent Services Director from U.S. Rep. John F. Tierney’s office, and I delivered 80lbs of donations to a local Gloucester, Mass. food pantry named “The Open Door.” This food pantry has a slogan “Feeding People. Changing Lives.” Read more »

Recovery Summer in Iowa-USDA Business Administrator Highlights an Economic Success Story

Left to right, Bill Menner, State Director in Iowa; Congressman Leonard Boswell and Administrator Canales. Canales was in Iowa to discuss business development issues.

Left to right, Bill Menner, State Director in Iowa; Congressman Leonard Boswell and Administrator Canales. Canales was in Iowa to discuss business development issues.

“Today the conversations I have with my business colleagues, family and friends are focused around the best ways to rebuilding the U.S. economy,” said Jerry Lorenzen, President of World Food Processing, in his opening remarks at a public event at his company’s headquarters in Oskaloosa, Iowa, last week. Read more »

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 »