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New Center Provides Animal Health Assistance in Armenia

A man moves his family’s sheep herd down from the mountains for the winter. These sheep are one of many herds of sheep and cattle that will pass by the FVSC on their seasonal herd movements around Armenia and benefit from the center.  Photo credit: Elizabeth Leonardi (USDA/FAS) and Gocha Shainidze (USDA/FAS Georgia)

A man moves his family’s sheep herd down from the mountains for the winter. These sheep are one of many herds of sheep and cattle that will pass by the FVSC on their seasonal herd movements around Armenia and benefit from the center. Photo credit: Elizabeth Leonardi (USDA/FAS) and Gocha Shainidze (USDA/FAS Georgia)

In November, I joined other representatives from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) for a dedication ceremony for the Farm and Veterinary Service Center (FVSC) in Armenia. The opening ceremony was attended by more than 70 community members, farmers, veterinarians and government officials from throughout the Syunik Marz region. Prior to the ceremony, Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan visited the center to tour the facility and witness firsthand the products and services that will be readily available to local farmers. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Enhancing American Agriculture

This week reminded us that American agriculture continues to be a bright spot in our nation’s economy.  Following strong numbers last year, we learned that farm income is up again in 2011 – with a 28 percent increase in net income.  Our farm exports this year hit a new record high of $137 billion.

This is making a real difference for America’s farm families, whose household income was up 3 percent in 2010 and is forecast to grow again this year. Read more »

At COP-17 in Durban, Agriculture is Playing a Starring Role

Ashley Allen, from USAID, moderated the USDA sponsored agriculture events.

Ashley Allen, from USAID, moderated the USDA sponsored agriculture events.

Each year, high level government officials from the world’s nations gather together under the banner of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to confront the growing challenge of climate change.   This year, the conference COP-17, so named because it is the 17th such conference to take place since the UNFCCC entered into force, is taking place in Durban, South Africa. Read more »

USDA a Leader in Aerial Photography, Mapping for U.S. Agriculture

Roads and Rails dataset layer place on top of NAIP 2006 imagery dataset located in Salt Lake County, UT.  (Photo courtesty of NAIP)

Photo courtesy of the National Agriculture Imagery Program.

Farm Service Agency (FSA) employees from communities across Montana met in the state capitol this month to participate in the first annual Geographic Information System (GIS) Day in Helena. More than 20 FSA employees joined dozens of other GIS professionals from private, state and federal government to learn more about GIS technology and real-world mapping applications that are making a difference in our society. Read more »

NRCS Reduces Waste for Mississippi Chicken Farmer

NRCS Supervisory District Conservationist Joe Addy worked with Diem Nguyen, her husband, John Pham, and daughter, Angela, to make their Newton, Miss. chicken farm more environmental friendly.

NRCS Supervisory District Conservationist Joe Addy worked with Diem Nguyen, her husband, John Pham, and daughter, Angela, to make their Newton, Miss. chicken farm more environmental friendly.

Diem Nguyen moved to the U.S. in the 1970s to pursue the American dream. She worked first as a restaurateur and then an accountant. But the career she cherishes the most is her current one—operating a chicken farm in rural Mississippi. Read more »

Where Should Local Foods be Served? At a Local Foods Conference of Course!

South Dakota held its first state-wide Local Foods Conference on November 11-12th in Huron, S.D.  In conjunction with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA), South Dakota USDA Rural Development sponsored the two day event meant to continue the dialogue on local foods among producers, consumers, school nutrition programs, grocers, restaurants and resource providers.

Topics covered at the Local Foods Conference on the first day included high tunnels, community gardening, food safety, Farm-to-School, community-supported agriculture, value-added agriculture products, organics and farmers’ markets.  The South Dakota State University Extension Service hosted a Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) training on the second day. Other sponsors included the South Dakota Value Added Ag Development Center, Buy Fresh Buy Local and Dakota Rural Action. Read more »