It is my pleasure to be in China, leading USDA’s largest-ever agricultural trade mission in the cities of Chengdu and Shanghai from March 23-28.
Left to right: Former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for China Mr. Zhang Zhi Gang, Former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for China He Ji Hai, Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, Former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for China He Hua Zhangand at the opening of Tang Jiu Hui Trade Show in Chengdu. Scuse is currently leading USDA’s largest-ever trade mission delegation in China. Photo Credit: Kirsten Allen
I am joined by 39 U.S. businesses representing a wide variety of products, including fresh and frozen produce, dairy, wine, consumer-oriented products, forestry products, and more. Representatives from six state departments of agriculture are also participating, including Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, Oklahoma Agriculture Secretary Jim Reese, and representatives from North Carolina, Illinois, Kansas, and South Dakota. Read more »
In honor of Arbor Day, I helped plant a tree at USDA’s National Arboretum on Friday morning, April 29. What made this unique from the thousands of similar tree plantings taking place nationwide today is that I was joined by a visiting delegation of Afghan agricultural experts.
The delegation included agricultural leaders from Afghanistan’s Ghazni Province who are part of an agricultural exchange program hosted by the National Guard Bureau’s Texas Agribusiness Development Team (ADT) IV. Washington, D.C., is the first stop on a nearly two-week trip to the United States, which will include training and presentations by some of this country’s premier agricultural experts. Read more »
This week, seven Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) employees were sworn in as Foreign Service Officers during a ceremony at USDA in Washington, D.C. This group of newly minted Foreign Service Officers will be posted in locales around the world, from Moscow to Brasilia, in their first positions in USDA’s overseas offices. FAS officers begin their Foreign Service careers as attachés.
FAS Administrator John Brewer officiated the ceremony and was joined by Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Deputy Under Secretary Darci Vetter. In what is their first step in a long and successful career in the Foreign Service, Brewer and Vetter presented each new officer with a flag representing the country in which they will be posted. Read more »
I recently returned from Nairobi, where I got a firsthand look at USDA’s food aid programs. Due to volcanic ash in Europe, my arrival was delayed by 36 hours. I tried to outmaneuver the cloud by taking the scenic route — Washington to Boston to Amsterdam to Paris to Nairobi. While I enjoyed my multi-airport tour, Mother Nature still got the best of me. She added further insult by holding my luggage in a city other than Nairobi.
During my time in Africa, I gained an appreciation for the excellent results that the World Food Program (WFP) and private voluntary organizations are producing with resources provided by the U.S. food aid programs.
Senator George McGovern and I visited programs that are helping adults and children with HIV and AIDS. While it was heartbreaking to see so many infants, children, and adults with this disease, U.S. Government programs are providing relief and hope to these children and families. Read more »
In Washington, DC today, Farm and Foreign Agricultural Deputy Under Secretary Darci Vetter accepted an American flag that flew above the U. S. Regional Embassy Office at Al Hillah, Iraq in recognition of USDA employees’ contributions on Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Iraq. Read more »