Today, President Obama and I continue doing all we can to help farmers and ranchers impacted by the drought. As Congress comes back to Washington in September we will continue to encourage passage of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible – to give USDA tools to help those who have been impacted by drought, while giving more certainty for farmers and ranchers.
While the drought has taken a toll on agriculture this year, we also know that America’s history of agricultural innovation and research advancement means farmers and ranchers are better-prepared than ever before to mitigate its effects.
USDA scientists and research partners have helped to provide these important new tools for decades – and their work continues today. Read more »
USDA’s Economic Research Service estimates the availability of hundreds of commodities for human consumption. The Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System includes historical as well as recent data. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)
True or false?
- Since 1985, the amount of rice available for Americans to eat has nearly doubled, from 11.6 to 21.2 pounds per person in 2010.
- In 2010, pineapples were America’s favorite canned fruit, and tomatoes were our favorite canned vegetable.
- U.S. milk availability, which peaked at 44.7 gallons per person in 1945, was 20.1 gallons per person in 2010.
Answers (all true) can be found in the Economic Research Service’s Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System—a unique data set revealing the types and amounts of food commodities available for U.S. consumers to eat. Read more »
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 »