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USDA Self Help Housing Puts Families in Homes in South Texas

Written by Ana Placencia, Area Specialist, Uvalde Sub-Area Office;  and Gayle Cargo, Texas USDA Public Information Coordinator

Last month in the south Texas community of Uvalde, Texas State Director Paco Valentin witnessed how USDA Rural Development and the Self Help Housing Program can touch the lives of families in rural Texas.  Family, friends and collaborating Agencies gathered for the ribbon cutting ceremony and tours of three homes that will forever change the lives of these new homeowners. Read more »

Food for Progress Initiatives Produce Real Results- And Strawberries

By John Brewer, Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator

As our group sat near the strawberry fields, in Jutiapa, Honduras, it was hard not to be impressed with the positive outcomes stemming from a USDA grant in 2006. On Tuesday, June 29, I inaugurated the “Biotechnology and Food Security” Conference and later that day I found myself in the strawberry fields—I’ll get to those in a minute. Read more »

Fire Adapted Communities Help Reduce Wildfire Spread, Damage

When it comes to natural disasters and tragedies, most people opt for complete avoidance. But what should you do when it is not a matter of avoidance, but minimizing risk? Most experts will agree that being prepared to adapt to the expected conditions is the best plan: Read more »

USDA Funding Support Helps a Native Learning Center in Rural Alaska to Grow

Yuut Elitnaurviat – People’s Learning Center (YE) is a non-profit vocational training center created by regional leaders to address the unique training and vocational education needs of the primarily Native residents of the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta Region of southwestern Alaska. YE has been carefully designed and is community driven. Read more »

New Jersey Mom, 89, and her 70 Year Old Daughter Buy a House Thanks to a USDA Direct Home Loan

Elizabeth and Doris Jones are a mother and daughter living in Penns Grove, New Jersey.  Elizabeth is 89 and Doris is 70.  They both lived in separate one bedroom apartment units for almost 30 years.   Now, thanks to USDA’s Direct Home Loan Program, they have their own house with a yard. Read more »

Don’t Miss Meat and Poultry Hotline Manager Diane Van’s Live Facebook Chat, Thursday at 1:00 p.m. EDT

The mercury is rising as we near the 4th of July weekend, and so are opportunities for foodborne illness. To ward off the potential food disasters that large gatherings, sweltering heat, and high humidity can combine to create, FSIS is taking a new approach to getting its Be Food Safe message to consumers before the summer’s hottest holiday begins.

On Thursday, July 1 at 1:00 p.m. ET, FSIS Meat and Poultry Hotline Manager Diane Van will host a live “Summer Food Safety Chat” on USDA’s Facebook page. With over 8,000 fans and popularity among consumers of all ages and backgrounds, the USDA’s Facebook page will serve as our platform to let consumers ask our expert what they want to know about shopping, preparing and grilling for the 4th of July.

We hope this chat will be succesful in engaging consumers in our food safety education efforts, and we hope it will be successful in reducing instances of foodborne illness this Independence Day. To join, simply log in to your own Facebook account, become a fan of the US Department of Agriculture, and ask away! Invite your friends—Facebook ones and real ones alike—and make sure they know to join as well.  Until then, we suggest following our Twitter feed, where you can’t ask us questions, but you can get short, timely notices of FSIS recalls, other news, and seasonal food safety tips.