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USDA education grant opens door to agriculture career opportunities

Former Montana State University student Ashley Williams meets with residents of Sanambele, Mali, to discuss water quality issues affecting the community.

Former Montana State University student Ashley Williams meets with residents of Sanambele, Mali, to discuss water quality issues affecting the community.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio. 

In 2004, as a junior at Montana State University (MSU), Ashley Williams knew she wanted to use her geography degree to make a difference internationally. She had no idea that agriculture would ever play a role in making that dream come true.

But that’s what happened when Williams found herself in a small farming village of 1,000 people in Sanambele, Mali, after a chance encounter with MSU entomology professor Florence Dunkel. Read more »

Obama Administration Officials Continue to Visit State Fairs

Building on the President’s commitment to address issues important to rural Americans, Cabinet Secretaries and other top Administration officials are visiting state fairs this summer and fall to discuss ongoing efforts to: Read more »

Secretary Calls on University Community to Encourage Employees to Serve as Agricultural Experts in Afghanistan and Iraq

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack hosted a conference call with leaders from more than 70 of the country’s land-grant institutions on Thursday afternoon, Aug. 14, to request assistance in helping to rebuild the agricultural economies of Afghanistan and Iraq. The Secretary asked all of those on the line to “reach out to your respective university communities – the academic side, the research side and the extension side,” to encourage experienced and eligible employees to apply to serve as Agriculture Experts with USDA in Afghanistan and Iraq. Read more »

New Mexico Broadband & Smart Grid Summit Working to Overcome Digital Divide and Harness Broadband Technologies

Earlier today at the New Mexico Broadband and Smart Grid Summit in Moriarty, I had the opportunity to tell policymakers, issue experts and industry leaders about Rural Utilities programs (RUS) that are contributing to creating economic opportunity and increasing energy independence through broadband and smart grid deployment.  

Others speaking at the event included: National Telecommunications and Information Administration Deputy Administrator Anna Gomez, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, and Federal Smart Grid Task Force Director Eric Lightner.   Together and with participants at the event, we opened a dialogue to help inform on future policy decisions regarding these important issues and the challenges we face in meeting them. Read more »

Food Safety Discovery Zone Visits Iowa State Fair

A school group poses in front of the Food Safety Discovery Zone after learning to Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.

A school group poses in front of the Food Safety Discovery Zone after learning to Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.

This weekend, USDA’s Food Safety Discovery Zone is stopped at the Iowa State Fair, and the Discovery Zone’s staff of U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Officers, is relishing the opportunities for food safety lessons that the fair environment provides. Daytime temperatures are exceeding the 90-degree mark, sparking discussions about how to keep food safe in hot weather, and the intense crowd means the Discovery Zone’s message is reaching tons of people. Read more »

Recovery Act Funding Improves Water Quality in Caruthers, California

Hi, my name is Jerry Mendoza, I am 15 years old and I go to Caruthers High School in California.  I am going to inform you about the wastewater treatment plant in Caruthers.  The Caruthers Community Service District is in charge of wastewater and water, and they applied for funding from USDA Rural Development to expand the wastewater treatment plant and upgrade the plant’s treatment process.  The reason they need this project is because the facility needs to be able to exceed the government’s levels for a wastewater treatment plant, also they wouldn’t be able to add additional housing in the town. Read more »