This week I traveled to North Carolina and Virginia to view the damage from Hurricane Irene, survey the response efforts, and meet with local residents. This trip was my fourth in as many months to make sure that the USDA is helping families rebuild and recover from natural disasters including tornados, wild fires, floods and drought.
So I’ve seen how tough times are affecting folks across the nation, and particularly our farmers and ranchers. Unusual weather patterns have driven thousands of Americans from their homes, and threatened their livelihoods. And my heart goes out to all of those who have been touched by these disasters. Read more »
Grill Masters FNCS Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, MRP Under Secretary Edward Avalos, and FSIS Deputy Under Secretary Brian Ronholm grill hot dogs for the event.)
Last Friday, with the sun shining down and the DJ playing “Givin’ Up Food for Funk”, national office USDA employees celebrated the end of a successful Feds Feed Families campaign at the USDA Summer Bash. Given the level of fun that was had, I think it’s safe to say that it was the first annual USDA Summer Bash. Read more »
On August 30, 2011 USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel joined Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Curt Spalding and Maine DEP Acting Commissioner Pattie Aho in highlighting one of the most affordable and advanced wastewater facilities in the country. This was an excellent opportunity to highlight the unique project as well as the important partnership between USDA Rural Development and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Greater Limestone Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility is impressive for many reasons. The $21 million total project brought together federal, state and local partners to regionalize two aging rural wastewater treatment facilities in northern Maine (Loring and Limestone) into one state-of-the-art facility. Read more »
Mac Curtis (left), owner of Windview Farm in Port Treverton, explains to Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager how his farm has benefited from the promising technology of a poultry litter incinerator that reduces his energy costs and the amount of nutrients flowing into the Chesapeake Bay.
On a crisp, fall-like day in August, Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager travelled to Pennsylvania to tour two USDA funded facilities that are helping to reduce the amount of nutrients flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. The first stop on the tour was Windview Farm where owner Mac Curtis has revolutionized his poultry farm with a $100,000 Conservation Innovation Grant from Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The project demonstrates the promising technology of a poultry litter incinerator to produce energy and nutrient management benefits. Last year, in addition to reducing 400 tons of poultry litter to 30 tons of ash, the farm saved 90% of their propane costs. Read more »
This week I joined Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on a tour of North Carolina and Virginia to assess areas damaged by Hurricane Irene and to discuss ways USDA can help residents recover.
Secretary Napolitano and I had the opportunity to see farmland devastated by the hurricane as well as speak with first responders, local officials, and residents about recovery efforts. It was encouraging to see communities pulling together to recover from these devastating circumstances. Read more »
This month, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is taking part in a “Cook It Safe” campaign to raise awareness about the need to follow package instructions in order to fully cook pre-prepared foods and prevent foodborne illness. Due to illnesses in recent years resulting from undercooked pre-prepared meals, the “Cook It Safe!” campaign urges consumers to follow four key food safety tips to be sure food is fully and safely prepared at home:
1. Read and Follow Package Cooking Instructions
Frozen or refrigerated convenience foods may appear ready-to-eat and simply in need of being reheated, but many contain raw products that must be fully cooked before eating. The product’s label should tell whether reheating or thorough cooking is needed. Don’t ignore steps like covering, stirring halfway through cooking, or allowing food to rest before eating—these steps contribute to even cooking. Read more »