Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Posts tagged: Kathleen Merrigan

Game On! USDA Launches Feds Feed Families 2012

On Monday I accepted the challenge for USDA to donate more than 1.8 million pounds of food this summer through the 4th annual Feds Feed Families Food Drive (FFF).  Game on!

If each USDA employee donates just two pounds of food per week, we will contribute more than 2 million pounds and help our hardworking neighbors put food on the table during these tough economic times.  FFF began four years ago to help fill a gap during the summer months, when food banks and pantries struggle with an increase in demand from families and individuals, but a decrease in donations.  Each year of the food drive, USDA employees have stepped up to the plate: in 2011, USDA employees organized over 2,000 food drives across the country and collected 1.79 million pounds of fresh and shelf-stable food.

Read more »

Dairy Farmers: Stewards of a Healthy Planet

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Dr. Kathleen Merrigan with Victor Orlowski President of Professional Engineers for the Dairy Industry as he demonstrates new equipment on the Zimmerman Dairy in Queen Creek, Arizona, on Tuesday,  March 27, 2012. USDA Photo by Aaron Lavallee.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Dr. Kathleen Merrigan with Victor Orlowski President of Professional Engineers for the Dairy Industry as he demonstrates new equipment on the Zimmerman Dairy in Queen Creek, Arizona, on Tuesday, March 27, 2012. USDA Photo by Aaron Lavallee.

Cross posted from the DairyGood.org blog:

This month we celebrate National Dairy Month and honor dairy producers across the nation who work day and night to make sure that we have a safe, affordable and healthy dairy supply. Read more »

Strawberry Fields Forever

Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan tours Driscoll’s Cassin Ranch in Watsonville, Calif on May 18.

Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan tours Driscoll’s Cassin Ranch in Watsonville, Calif on May 18.

Last Friday I visited Watsonville, California.  As people know, I like to get outside the Beltway and visit with people to see how USDA programs are working.  My first stop was Driscoll’s Cassin Ranch, the site of the company’s plant breeding program.  We had a roundtable discussion about the many water management challenges faced in the Pajaro Valley watershed.  The Pajaro Valley aquifer, like too many others, is over-drafted and saltwater is intruding into the groundwater.  But action is being taken.  The Pajaro Valley Community Water Dialogue, a multi-stakeholder forum, is engaged in a series of managed aquifer recharge projects.  Not only does Driscoll’s participate in the Dialogue, but on its own, the company is also creating a new water monitoring process that is sure to improve irrigation efficiency amongst its growers.  Following our roundtable, I joined Carmela Beck (to my left) and others on a tour of the Bokariza recharge project.  Carmela is a member of the USDA National Organic Standards Board and is the manager of Driscoll’s national organic program. Read more »

Contracting with Federal Departments? USDA is Here to Help.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced that small business owners will have an opportunity in June to learn how to grow and support their businesses by partnering with USDA and other Federal Agencies.  The North Carolina event supports the White House Initiative on Small Business Contracting.

Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan invited small businesses to participate in educational workshops and networking sessions in Durham, North Carolina on how to do business with USDA and other Federal agencies.  Topics include acquisition needs and opportunities, prime contracting and subcontracting opportunities, and business development resources.  Included in the sessions is an opportunity to meet one-on-one with USDA small business contracting specialists. Read more »

Introducing the Regional Food Hub Guide: An Innovative Tool for Growing Local Food Systems

Regional Food Hub Resource Guide.  The guide is a collection of information, resources and background on everything needed to develop or participate in a regional food hub.

Regional Food Hub Resource Guide. The guide is a collection of information, resources and background on everything needed to develop or participate in a regional food hub.

What can farmers and ranchers do if they’re interested in selling locally but don’t have the resources to run their own trucks, processing plants or marketing strategies?  What can institutional buyers, –like schools, hospital and retailers — do to offer more local food to their customers? A regional food hub is one possible answer.

Read more »

USDA Announces New Farm to School Program to Improve the Health and Nutrition of Kids Receiving School Meals

USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan discovers “Abe Lincoln tomatoes” during her visit to Southern High School in Anne Arundel county, MD.

USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan discovers “Abe Lincoln tomatoes” during her visit to Southern High School in Anne Arundel county, MD.

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

Last week USDA released a new farm to school grant program designed to help give children a sense of where their food comes from and increase the availability of local foods in schools. Joined by students at Southern High School in Harwood, MD, as well as school and elected officials, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan made the announcement in an on-campus greenhouse. Read more »