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February 2010

Diversity Program Students Share Their Views From the USDA Outlook Forum

Last week, 22 college students were given the opportunity to attend the USDA Outlook Forum to learn about agribusiness, the latest research, future trends, and policy in contemporary agriculture. The students were part of USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum Diversity Program, which was launched by the Office of the Chief Economist and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture in 2007 to help provide students with a unique insight into their agricultural studies.

Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan Tours Community Center, Meets with Workers

A warm winter day greeted USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan as she visited the high desert community of Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico.

Chandler Sanchez the Governor of Acoma Pueblo gave the Deputy Secretary a personal tour of the new $12-million dollar community center which is currently under construction.

Donning a hard hat Deputy Secretary Merrigan saw firsthand the progress of the construction.  The facility is scheduled to be completed later this summer.

Recovery Act, Helping Put Food on The Table

Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan visited Road Runner Food Bank in Albuquerque, New Mexico today, where she took a tour of the facility and helped distribute USDA foods.  Merrigan highlighted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and the ARRA funding that Road Runner received in 2009.

The Recovery Act supported the nation’s food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens, by increasing funding to USDA’s Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).

A “New Dynamic” for Rural America Highlighted at the 2010 Agricultural Outlook Forum

Yesterday was a landmark day for USDA.  The 2010 Agricultural Outlook Forum kicked off near Washington with a top-flight list of speakers, including Secretary Tom Vilsack; Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan;  Ambassador Ronald Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative; USDA Chief Economist Joseph Glauber and Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Jim Miller.

Healthier Families and a Healthier Nation

USDA -  Ready to Move for a Healthier Generation

By Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

A call to action, a challenge for a generation, no matter what we call it, First Lady Michelle Obama's announcement of the Let's Move! initiative is an ambitious goal of solving the challenge of childhood obesity. It is a goal that we take seriously here at USDA and we are prepared to dedicate our time, energy, and resources to achieving this goal.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Announces Selection of a Pellet Plant Project to Bring New Jobs to Northern Vermont Funded with Recovery Act Support

At a Town Hall meeting in Burlington, Vermont, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the selection of Vermont Renewable Energy Company for a USDA Rural Development Business and Industry Loan Guarantee for a $10 million loan given by Community National Bank. The funds will be used to provide essential capital to establish a new pellet processing plant at the former furniture manufacturing facility in Island Pond, Vermont.