In June, President Obama established the Rural Council, which is chaired by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. As a result, numerous rural roundtables have been held and will continue to be held throughout the country.
Revitalizing rural America is a priority to this Administration. The rural roundtables are an opportunity for stakeholders to provide input, identify challenges and make recommendations.
On my recent trip to the great state of Alabama, my USDA colleagues from Rural Development, Farm Services Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and National Institute of Food and Agriculture supported me at a rural roundtable held in the community of Dothan. We had excellent attendance and constructive input from community leaders attending. Read more »
I just came back from Orlando, Florida where I attended a meeting of the Produce Safety Alliance, a joint project by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Cornell University to provide farmers who grow and market fruits and vegetables with training and education about on-farm food safety practices.
At that meeting I talked about how America’s farmers and ranchers are one of our nation’s greatest assets. We rely on them for our food, to preserve our environment and to help strengthen our nation’s economy. I talked about the importance of the USDA and FDA working together to address on- farm food safety practices in a way that grows and strengthens America’s farms and rural communities. Read more »
Under Secretary Ed Avalos at the Colorado State University potato research facility in Center, CO with Mexico produce buyers, CSU researchers and Commissioner John Salazar, Colorado Department of Agriculture.
I was recently invited to participate in a Mexican Potato Trade Mission hosted by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, and the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee. Read more »
I was honored to accompany Governor Lincoln Chafee at the Rhode Island Agriculture Day held at the Statehouse in Providence. In my remarks to farmers, agriculture organizations, legislators, and government officials, I emphasized the Obama Administration’s commitment to Rural America, and complimented producers for being a model for the nation in direct marketing of agricultural products.
Ten percent of Rhode Island’s agricultural sales move through direct marketing channels such as farmers markets, roadside stands and CSA’s. In addition, Rhode Island has developed a successful Farm-to-School program and a Farm-to-Plate program with local restaurants. Read more »
As part of my recent trip to Arizona, I had the opportunity to meet with Arizona cotton producers, Arizona Department of Agriculture Director Don Butler, and APHIS personnel at the Pink Bollworm Rearing Facility in Phoenix.
I was absolutely impressed with the importance and quality of the work being done, and with the partnership between APHIS, Arizona Department of Agriculture, Arizona Cotton Research and Protection Council, and cotton growers.
The pink bollworm is a serious cotton pest, and APHIS is working cooperatively with producers in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, as well as cotton growing areas in Mexico, to eradicate the pest. Read more »
On April 27, I was honored to accompany President Shelley of the Navajo Nation for the National Veterinary Stockpile (NVS) exercise held in Window Rock. The NVS exercise provides countermeasures – supplies, equipment, medicine, vaccines and response support services – that states and Tribes need to respond to foreign animal disease outbreaks.
This exercise with the Navajo Nation marks the first Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)-sponsored full-scale exercise on Tribal lands. I want to acknowledge the enthusiasm and commitment of Tribal personnel to gain experience and identify gaps, shortfalls, limitations that could impair the Navajo Nation’s ability to receive, store and distribute NVS countermeasures in a real emergency. Read more »