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Distance Learning and Telehealth-Providing 21st Century Education and Health Care in Rural America

Yesterday, I joined local and state leaders at an event in North Carolina highlighting the Obama Administration’s drive to provide top-quality educational and health care opportunities to rural residents. I went to James Sprunt Community College in Kenansville, N.C., to highlight USDA funding that will enable the faculty to provide college-level and advanced placement courses to students in five high schools.  It’s one of 100 Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grants awarded by USDA Rural Development nationwide.

These grants, administered through the Rural Utilities Service, are in keeping with the spirit of remarks President Obama made in a State of the Union Address.  If we want this country to succeed in the 21st century, we must harness the potential of every young person in this country.  It’s an economic imperative that we have a highly educated, highly trained – and healthy – workforce. Distance learning and telemedicine technology can effectively eliminate the barriers of time and distance that often challenge rural areas – bridging great distances to provide quality educational and health care opportunities to individuals that are hundreds, even thousands of miles away. Read more »

Growth of the Chinese Swine Industry Contributes to U.S. Soybean Exports

Scientists conduct a soy hull trial in China.

Scientists conduct a soy hull trial in China.

The U.S. soy industry, represented by the American Soybean Association, the U.S. Soybean Export Council, and the United Soybean Board, recently used USDA Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program funding to provide valuable technical training to the Chinese swine sector. The gradual shift of Chinese swine production from traditional backyard farming towards more commercial-scale production has increased consumption of commercial feed, particularly soybean meal.   Read more »

Dr. Terry Morris on World Veterinary Year

Hello, I’m Dr. Terry Morris, a veterinarian with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Regulatory Support (VRS) staff, where I’m currently the acting Assistant Director.  I’m responsible for managing VRS’ 17 Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Veterinary Medical Officers that are strategically located throughout the United States, including ensuring that they have all of the necessary knowledge, equipment, supplies, and regulatory support necessary to effectively safeguard the U.S. from foreign plant and animal diseases at the local level.  I’ve been with USDA APHIS since 2001.  I started out in USDA’s Veterinary Services National Center for Import and Export program and then came over to the VRS staff in 2007.

How did I choose to become a veterinarian?  When I was in sixth grade, my dog died and my family was unable to afford any expenses associated with determining the cause of death.  I wanted to know why my dog died.  I took it upon myself to become a veterinarian, both to learn why and so that I could prevent other people’s pets from dying. Read more »

Christmas Tree Cutters: Make Sure Safety is on your List this Year

Young child assists with carrying a cut Christmas tree. The Forest Service  would like to remind those tree cutters to put safety first on their lists this year.

Young child assists with carrying a cut Christmas tree. The Forest Service would like to remind those tree cutters to put safety first on their lists this year.

During this holiday season, tree cutters are looking for the perfect, pristine Christmas tree as they trek through our national forests as part of their holiday tradition.

However, the Forest Service would like to remind those tree cutters to put safety first on their lists this year. Read more »

Forging the Future for Diversity and Inclusion

On Monday, USDA hosted a Hispanic Roundtable on recruiting, hiring and retaining Latino employees. The goal of this meeting was to further our partnerships with Hispanic-serving organization in order to better meet the needs of the populations we serve and to solicit best practices, ideas, and strategies to increase employment of Hispanics at USDA.

If someone had told me when I was younger that I would end up working at USDA—I would have never believed them. My parents were farmers and the reason that I ended up where I am today is because I was given an opportunity. Read more »

Oregon Forest Home for World’s Tallest Living Pine Tree

Tim Lovitt, a seasonal forester, stands next to the base of a 240-foot ponderosa pine, which has a smaller diameter than the ponderosa “Phalanx.” USFS photo.

Tim Lovitt, a seasonal forester, stands next to the base of a 240-foot ponderosa pine, which has a smaller diameter than the ponderosa “Phalanx.” USFS photo.

The ponderosa pine is fairly easy to identify. The orange-hued checked bark is well known to westerners.

What might not be as well known though is that these native trees can grow to sizes rivaling giant redwoods. Read more »