Blog

Last Modified: 03/21/2012
  • This week, President Obama laid out a vision for America’s economic future.   Since day one, the Obama Administration has been focused on our nation’s economic recovery, and over recent years we’ve seen positive signs of growth. Businesses have created more than 7 million new jobs over the past 40 months. The housing market is coming back. Led by the tremendous productivity of America’s farmers and ranchers, our nation’s exports are growing. But we also know that much remains to be done, and there’s no excuse for letting up. The President is squarely focused on building a strong middle class...
  • Our children are our most prized possessions and we must do whatever it takes to help them excel in the future. Leading them on the path to becoming part of a healthier generation, USDA revised the standards for meals and snacks served in their schools. Recently, I had the pleasure of traveling to a New York City high school to see first-hand how students were adjusting to the new standards. The changes to the meal and snack standards are in response to the passing of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Implemented in the 2012 school year, the new meal standards made several changes....
  • Joe Fillaus and sons, Cole and Carter, standing in front of their June 2013 corn crop after restoration was made to their field. USDA photo. Two years after the Missouri River flooding of 2011, several Charles Mix County, S.D. producers are still working to get their flooded crop land back to full production. When the flood waters receded in the fall of 2011 portions of the river bottom crop land were covered with one to six feet of sand debris. The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) for debris removal was one tool that was utilized in this restoration...
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at a meeting of the White House Rural Council to an audience of the National State President’s Conference of the FFA on Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Secretary Vilsack took questions from the audience and discussed international, national and agricultural production topics with the FFA State President’s. USDA photo by Bob Nichols. Editor’s Note: Yesterday, Secretary Vilsack had the opportunity to speak with some of our nation’s brightest young leaders at the National FFA Organization’s State Presidents’ Conference. He discussed USDA...
  • In June, Tammye Treviño, Administrator for Rural Housing and Community Facilities, traveled to Sitka and Ketchikan, Alaska for National Homeownership Month and discussions with community leaders on the intent of the USDA StrikeForce initiative in Southeast Alaska. Ms. Treviño also took time in Sitka to visit the historic Sheldon Jackson College campus, a private Christian liberal arts college that was an historic Alaska Native trade school in its inception in the 1800’s. The college stopped operating several years ago.  On the campus are two facilities, a student center and a day care center...
  • Bob Goodwin, a former California Highway Patrol officer, now works for the U.S. Forest Service as a Tribal relations advisor. (U.S. Forest Service photo) During his 21 years as a California Highway Patrol officer, Bob Goodwin eased tensions during traffic accidents, issued verbal warnings and made arrests—all in a calm and cool way. Now, as Tribal relations advisor for the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region, Goodwin is again relying on those valuable people and negotiating skills to build relations between Tribal entities and the federal government. Goodwin’s easy-going demeanor...
  • Before kids sit down to eat a nutritious summer food service meal, adults have to do important work behind the scenes. As a public affairs specialist, promoting and publishing information about federal nutrition assistance programs to partners, media and the public is a key part of the job. But I don’t often get to see the real day-to-day operation of these programs. I have attended summer program kick-off events and visited other program sites for special events. But, I recently got another perspective. I accepted an offer from our regional Special Nutrition Programs branch to participate...
  • This 12-acre constructed wetland provides wildlife habitat for migrating waterfowl and a nesting area for animals. Editor’s Note: As USDA shares stories of program accomplishments from across the country, Secretary Vilsack continues to remind Americans of the importance of the Farm Bill to many of these efforts. The success of the Wetlands Reserve Program in Iowa and across the nation is another reminder of the importance of Farm Bill programs for rural America. A comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy – and Secretary Vilsack continues to urge...
  • Recently I traveled to New Mexico to meet with APHIS-Wildlife Services’ personnel for a firsthand view of their Feral Swine Removal Demonstration Project that aims to eliminate feral swine from the state.  Feral swine are an invasive species with a population that has grown from approximately 1 million in 17 states in the 1980s to more than 5 million across 38 states today.  If left unchecked, their numbers could exceed 10 million by 2018.  Feral swine carry more than 30 diseases that pose a potential threat to humans, livestock, and wildlife, and the total cost of feral swine damage to U.S....
  • Earlier today, Secretary Vilsack announced the results of the Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) , a pilot project designed to test the impact of incentivizing fruit and vegetable purchases among SNAP recipients. The pilot showed that an ongoing investment of less than 15 cents per person per day may result in a 25 percent increase in fruit and vegetable consumption among adults. Adults receiving the HIP incentive consumed, on average, an ounce more fruits and vegetables per day than non-participants. These are promising and exciting results. But we know that there is no silver bullet that can...

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