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2010

‘Tis the Season for Cut Christmas Trees

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

With the holiday season upon us, many people across the United States are out and about shopping for the perfect Christmas tree to deck their halls with holiday cheer. Sales of cut Christmas trees remain a large part of the U.S. horticulture industry as Americans continue to uphold the holiday tradition of fresh, cut trees – from the White House to state capitals across the United States, the smell of pine is vibrant this time of year.

A Regional Collaboration in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom

Earlier this month I joined USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Conservation, (NRCS) Ann Mills, and Deputy Director of the Executive Secretariat, David Aten, in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont for a “Great Regions” convening.

Federal, state and local officials joined members of the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative and we shared some of the great progress Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG)  recipients have made and spoke about the challenges the communities of the three-county Kingdom face in securing a healthy, culturally robust and economically successful future.

The President and First Lady on Child Nutrition Bill: "The Basic Nutrition They Need to Learn and Grow and to Pursue Their Dreams"

Cross posted from the White House blog:

As one of her chief responsibilities and greatest passions, the First lady has dedicated herself to helping our children grow up healthy and reversing the alarming childhood obesity trend -- so the President's signing of the the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act this morning at a local DC school was particularly meaningful for her:

New Online Resource Links Retired Landowners to Beginning Farmers, Ranchers

A new online resource is available to farmers with expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts and beginning farmers interested in obtaining land.

TIP Net is a website sponsored by the USDA Farm Service Agency designed to assist those who are interested in the Transition Incentives Program (TIP). The site serves as a matchmaker to link farmers with expiring CRP contracts to beginning farmers and ranchers who are interested in bringing the land into production.

An Update on Consultation with Tribes on SUTA from USDA

Throughout this year, USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) consulted with Tribes on the Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA) provision of the 2008 Farm Bill.  This provision directed RUS to develop a strategy to deliver infrastructure program funding tailored and more affordable to the circumstances and challenges facing trust lands in high need of RUS’s electric, telecommunications and water and waste program funding. Second, the provision directed RUS to consult with local governments and Federal agencies in implementing this effort.

A Healthier and Brighter Future for Our Children and Nation

The health of our Nation has always been a top priority for the President, First Lady, Secretary Vilsack and everyone in the administration. That is why I am thrilled President Obama today signed into law the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The historic bill ensures our children have  the nutritional foundation to reach their greatest potential.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service Employees Overcome Risks to Contribute to Stability and Development in Iraq and Afghanistan

When you hear about two employees dedicating their time to an important issue such as this one, the least one can do is acknowledge the level of commitment and importance of the roles they play for the agency and USDA.

Dr. Jaroslaw Fabis, a Supervisory Veterinary Medical Officer in Raleigh, North Carolina, volunteered in Maysan, a town near the Iranian border, from February to October 2009. Dr. Fabis joined the American Embassy in Iraq as an agriculture advisor for the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) to contribute to the goal of stability and development of the Iraqi agricultural community. Part of the U.S. mission in Iraq is to strengthen this particular sector of the community to facilitate their economic autonomy and Dr. Fabis took time out of his regular duties to accomplish just that. As the first veterinarian to visit Maysan, Dr. Fabis worked closely with the Maysan Veterinary Hospital to improve livestock health and productivity.  He also trained 125 veterinarians and veterinary technicians and renovated the Amara City slaughterhouse. For his efforts, Dr. Fabis received letters of appreciation from the U.S. Embassy Agriculture Counselor, the Provincial Directory of Veterinary Hospital and Congressman Joseph Courtney of the Armed Services Committee. FSIS is extremely proud of his dedication, commitment and sacrifice in support of our country, the military and civilian operations in Iraq.

FSA Provides Help to Kewa Pueblo Destroyed by New Mexico Storms

Farmers and ranchers from Kewa Pueblo affected by three major storms this past summer received much needed information on Farm Service Agency programs from the staff of New Mexico’s FSA.  A workshop was held last month to provide information and answer questions from producers who lost their crops and cattle as a result of these storms.

The workshop was in response to the Pueblo’s request for assistance.  A team of state and county employees provided information and signed up about 40 producers for programs such as Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program, Livestock Indemnity Program, Emergency Conservation Program and Non-Insured Assistance Program.