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USDA Signs Agreement to Provide Network of Opportunity for Hispanic Institutions

USDA isn’t just talking, but taking action to help Hispanic Americans. The department stepped forward today as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Sandra V. Serrano of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will build programs and other activities to help further the education of Hispanic Americans and contribute to the commitment of preparing America’s young people to pursue careers in agriculture.

The agreement highlights USDA’s dedication to helping Hispanic Americans achieve educational excellence by collaborating with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) to develop a USDA and Hispanic-Serving Institutions agenda. Read more »

Agricultural Science – from the Classroom to the Laboratory to the Plate

Last week, I was in South Carolina to see some of the work being done by USDA’s scientists at the U. S. Vegetable Laboratory, where researchers strive to improve vegetable yields and quality. Any chef will tell you great meals begin with high quality ingredients, and nutritionists will add that a colorful meal is a nutrient-dense meal.  On my way to the lab, I stopped at a place that is focused on that good food equation, especially using locally sourced produce: The Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College. Read more »

USDA Sets New Standards for Reducing Foodborne Pathogens in Chickens and Turkeys, Preventing Up To 25,000 Illnesses

Secretary Vilsack believes there is no more fundamental function of government than protecting consumers, and there is no mission more important to USDA than ensuring the safety of our food. Prevention is our single greatest priority here, so this week the Department announced new performance standards aimed at reducing the occurrence of Salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria in chickens and turkeys.  Within two years of implementing these standards, approximately 5,000 cases of Campylobacter illnesses and 20,000 cases of Salmonella illnesses will be prevented annually.

While the poultry industry has made significant strides in recent years, far too many Americans continue to fall victim to these foodborne illnesses – FSIS estimates nearly 350,000 from Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry annually, combined. These improved standards will drive the industry to do better.  They are tough but achievable.  And when fully implemented, they can help us lower the danger of foodborne illness.

¿Tienes Hambre? Los programas de USDA sirven a la comunidad Latina en Miami.

Junto con nuestros colegas del Servicio de Alimentos y Nutrición de USDA, el Centro de Organizaciones de Fe y Comunitarias de USDA ha estado trabajando de cerca con los pastores en Miami, Florida para ampliar las oportunidades de proporcionar alimentos a aquellos con necesidad.  El 24 de marzo, uno de nuestros socios, la Coalición de Fe de Familias y Niños en el sur de Florida, tendrá una sesión de entrenamiento sobre el Programa de Servicio de Alimentos de Verano para proporcionar comidas gratuitas a las congregaciones que sirvan como sitios de alimentación de verano. Read more »

¿Tienes Hambre? USDA Programs Serve the Latino Community in Miami.

Together with our colleagues at USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, USDA’s Partnership Center has been working closely with pastors in Miami, Florida to expand opportunities to provide food to hungry people.  On March 24, one of our partners, the Family and Children Faith Coalition in South Florida, is hosting a training session on the Summer Food Service Program to provide free meals for congregations that host summer feeding sites. Read more »

On the Waterfront, Ag Trade Is Booming

With a container ship docked in the background, Secretary Vilsack speaks at the Port of Long Beach yesterday about the importance of farm exports to our economy.

With a container ship docked in the background, Secretary Vilsack speaks at the Port of Long Beach yesterday about the importance of farm exports to our economy.

I visited Long Beach, Calif., yesterday to talk about the importance of trade. It’s clear to me that if we are to build an economy that works for future generations, we must help our businesses continue to grow, innovate and out-compete the rest of the world. Continuing to see farm export growth will be a key indication that our nation’s economy is moving in the right direction. Read more »