It’s been a productive time here in Qingdao, China. USDA and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), with support from the Gates Foundation, have gathered some of the top minds from around the world at the Mini-Summit on Agricultural Research to discuss challenges related to food security, food safety, and sustainable agriculture. China’s Vice Minister for Science and Technology, Zhang Laiwu and I led talks among experts from many nations and many sectors to focus on strengthening international research collaboration to benefit our nations and agriculture around the world. Representatives of organizations like the Gates Foundation joined forces with African research leaders, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Bank to share information and discuss ways to leverage global resources to address global challenges affecting all nations.
The USDA and China’s MOST have a history of working together, with mutual respect, and with each meeting the relationship between our agencies grow stronger. USDA’s vision to address our shared challenges in the developed and developing world alike includes cooperative multilateral and international efforts. Through these efforts, we hope to further establish global research collaboration platforms which provide the building blocks for the scientific community to confront many of our most pressing challenges. These platforms include: Read more »
Mississippi staff recently commemorated the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its work on behalf of agriculture, rural America and people throughout the country and world who benefit from the work of the agency. Mississippi agencies USDA Rural Development (RD), National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), and Forest Service celebrated on May 15. In addition to an event at the RD state office, all the agencies area offices across the state hosted events. The event included watching the national observance from USDA headquarters in Washington, a slideshow presentation detailing history about all the agencies, agency information on display, and comments from agency heads and staff.
When President Abraham Lincoln founded the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1862, he called it “the People’s Department,” a sentiment that still rings true today as the Department’s diverse portfolio boasts strong support for American agriculture and local and regional food systems, as well as critical nutrition assistance, food safety, conservation, rural development, and research programs, among many other programs and initiatives. “USDA still continues as ‘the People’s Department’ by investing in rural America and the rural communities that millions call home and investing in community facilities and helping to ensure communities have access to critical infrastructure. Additionally through grant and loan programs for rural businesses, USDA helps to drive job growth in rural America and build thriving economies for the long term,” said Trina George, Mississippi State Director USDA Rural Development. Read more »
Just because a producer works at a smaller operation doesn’t mean he or she can’t sell on a bigger scale. And the size of a farm shouldn’t limit a producer’s ability to feed local foods to local people. But how can such an operation connect the dots to successfully market its products?
One answer lies in a new kind of business model known as food hubs, which are emerging as critical pillars for building stronger regional and local food systems. A food hub centralizes the business management structure to facilitate the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced food products. Read more »
This morning I had the opportunity to start my day in Big Sky Country where I was invited by Senator Jon Tester to participate in the Small Business Opportunity Workshop hosted at Montana State University.
We have a full house here having reached capacity at 150 attendees with another 80 RSVPs still arriving. Clearly the word is out on our workshop and the farmers and ranchers of Montana are eager to hear about job creation and economic development opportunities here in the state. Read more »
In 2010, the USDA National Farmers Market Directory counted over 6,200 operational farmers markets in the country. That’s more than a 16 percent growth in farmers markets from 2009. In every state and season, shoppers flock to nearby farmers markets in search of healthy, fresh foods. Farmers markets can offer it all: from seasonal, fresh produce to local meats, dairy products to locally baked bread and fragrant cut flowers. Read more »
This week I had the opportunity to meet with representatives from the 1890 land-grant institutions from across the country to begin a new dialogue and chart a new course together to help ensure that American agriculture remains productive, prosperous, and sustainable. These institutions, historically black universities that were established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890, are critical to USDA research and to the vitality of U.S. agriculture. Read more »