JC Griffin on the scene at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
After a rather interesting C-130 tactical landing to avoid enemy fire, my first sight of Iraq was at night. My first thought was how far I was from home, but a gaze upward revealed familiar stars and constellations. I felt relieved knowing that I was still indeed on planet Earth–even after traveling for 50 hours. Read more »
Agricultural exports were at the forefront during yesterday’s National Export Initiative (NEI) session at USDA’s 2011 Agricultural Outlook Forum. Earlier that day, USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber announced the latest agricultural export forecast for fiscal year 2011 (Oct. 1, 2010-Sept. 30, 2011), which set the stage for a lot of interest in NEI and a packed afternoon session. President Obama and USDA view exports as one of the key drivers of sustainable economic growth and job creation. That’s why, under NEI, President Obama set a goal of doubling all U.S. exports by the end of 2014. Read more »
I recently began the Know your Farmer, Know Your Food College tour, and one of the locations I visited was a farmer’s market in North Carolina. Many of the regionally and locally produced products we see at farmer’s markets have a helping hand from USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant program.
Sometimes it’s tough for a small or beginning rural business or cooperative to come up with the money for a feasibility study, marketing or packaging. That’s where USDA’s Value Added Producer Grant program can help. Read more »
What do dairy farmers, NFL stars, and the Secretary of Agriculture have in common? They all braved the winter weather and traveled to the site of Super Bowl XLV to support the Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60) program. FUTP60 conducted a kids’ football clinic at the NFL Experience, an interactive theme park at the Dallas Convention Center. The clinic, aimed at kids, focused on the fundamentals to improve nutrition and physical activity in their schools and personal lives. Read more »
Small businesses are the backbone of this country. They employ nearly half of the workers in rural America and are an integral part of the American economy.
Today, Congress will vote on whether or not to repeal this new law, just as its benefits are beginning to reach rural Americans. Repeal of the health care law would result in higher health insurance costs for thousands of small businesses. We cannot afford to let that happen. Read more »
USDA Forest Service Smokejumpers are trained to climb trees in case they, or their supplies, land in them. When Smokejumpers aren’t fighting wildfires, the USDA Forest Service calls on them to use their tree climbing skills to complete a variety of natural resource management projects, such as harvesting pine cones and constructing owl nesting boxes.
While many USDA Forest Service employees spend their summers working as Smokejumpers fighting wildfires in the west, they in turn spend their falls in the east working as Beetle Busters, helping the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) combat the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). Read more »