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Reflections from the Road: USDA Journeys to Texas for its Second Regional Equity Convening

The USDA, in collaboration with USDA Equity Commission (EC) members, embarked on a significant journey to the heart of Texas, where the vibrant spirit of agriculture intertwines with the pursuit of equity. The occasion? The Texas Hispanic Farmer and Rancher Conference (THFRC) and Food Summit 2024 in McAllen, Texas, held from April 24-27, 2024. This gathering marked the second Regional Equity Convening, following the Inaugural Regional Convening in Michigan, where USDA leadership stood shoulder to shoulder with stakeholders to champion equity and engage with the transformative recommendations outlined in the USDA Equity Commission’s final report.

Mentally and Physically, Trees Make a Difference

Studies have shown that trees benefit our mental and physical health. Spending time around trees reduces stress and anxiety, lowers blood pressure, and improves mood. Simply viewing nature from a hospital window can speed recovery time.  A study by the University of Michigan also revealed that exposure to nature can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety in young people.

2501 Program Funding Supports Aquaculture and Resilience in Hawaii and Micronesia

“Aquaculture is agriculture,” said Simon Ellis, executive director of The Marine and Environmental Research Institute of Pohnpei (MERIP) based in Kolonia, a city on the island of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. For the last 20 years, this humanitarian, not-for-profit organization has provided less advantaged Micronesian communities with environmentally sustainable and economically viable skills to produce agricultural products for international markets. The underlying objective of teaching Micronesian and Hawaiian farmers effective techniques and business practices is to allow for self-sustenance as a primary goal, with aspirations of economic advancement as a small business. MERIP also helps farmers in securing start-up financing, small business development, marketing training, and access to international buyers.

Preserving Tradition: APHIS’ Role in Safeguarding Cherry Trees

In a symbolic gesture of friendship, Japan ceremoniously gifted the United States with two live cherry trees at an event held on the D.C mall last month. The trees represent a future gift of 250 trees that will replace the historic cherry trees to be removed in a project to repair the Tidal Basin seawall that will begin this month. Cherry trees hold deep cultural significance in Japanese tradition and have become beloved symbols in Washington, D.C., celebrated annually during the Cherry Blossom Festival. However, the journey of these trees from Japan to the United States is not without challenges.

USDA Supports Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders with Site Visit

Guam is often called “where America’s day begins” as the sun rises 14 hours earlier than the nation’s capital. USDA Program Coordinator Lihan Wei recently traveled to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to visit these underserved communities and engage in outreach and partnerships.

Shining a Spotlight on USDA Research, Education, and Economics Mission Area Employees

The first full week of May is Public Service Recognition Week—a time to honor the dedicated people who serve our country every day. USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area is home to more than 8,500 public servants, who are some of the best and brightest mind in agriculture science.

Discover Agriculture in the Northwest Region

Natural beauty, vibrant cities and diverse ecosystems make up USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Northwest Region, which includes Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. With its temperate northern climate, it’s no surprise that the region is diverse in crops and livestock. With the 2022 Census of Agriculture, we discovered more about these agricultural treasures in the Northwest Region.

Agriculture is a Way of Life for This 1890 Scholar

Leigh Adams grew up in Houston, Texas, where agriculture and the outdoors were a way of life for her. “When I wasn’t at school, I was in the country tending to the ranch, fishing, baling hay or hunting,” she said. “Doing these activities brought nothing but happiness.”