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Dr. Terry Morris on World Veterinary Year

Hello, I’m Dr. Terry Morris, a veterinarian with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Regulatory Support (VRS) staff, where I’m currently the acting Assistant Director.  I’m responsible for managing VRS’ 17 Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Veterinary Medical Officers that are strategically located throughout the United States, including ensuring that they have all of the necessary knowledge, equipment, supplies, and regulatory support necessary to effectively safeguard the U.S. from foreign plant and animal diseases at the local level.  I’ve been with USDA APHIS since 2001.  I started out in USDA’s Veterinary Services National Center for Import and Export program and then came over to the VRS staff in 2007.

How did I choose to become a veterinarian?  When I was in sixth grade, my dog died and my family was unable to afford any expenses associated with determining the cause of death.  I wanted to know why my dog died.  I took it upon myself to become a veterinarian, both to learn why and so that I could prevent other people’s pets from dying.

Forging the Future for Diversity and Inclusion

On Monday, USDA hosted a Hispanic Roundtable on recruiting, hiring and retaining Latino employees. The goal of this meeting was to further our partnerships with Hispanic-serving organization in order to better meet the needs of the populations we serve and to solicit best practices, ideas, and strategies to increase employment of Hispanics at USDA.

If someone had told me when I was younger that I would end up working at USDA—I would have never believed them. My parents were farmers and the reason that I ended up where I am today is because I was given an opportunity.

Making the Right Connections in New Mexico

The No Kid Hungry New Mexico Campaign, an initiative of the New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger, is gaining partners and momentum.  The campaign is less than a year old, but already progress has been made on the 2011 goals: Increasing participation in the summer meals program, school breakfast, and SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  It’s so important to connect eligible people with the federal nutrition safety net.  And that is exactly what Share Our Strength and its partners are doing in New Mexico and across the nation to end childhood hunger.

Part of the No Kid Hungry New Mexico campaign centers on school breakfast, an area of special interest to me. I can see the potential to reach more children just by changing the way breakfast is offered to students. A healthy breakfast makes a big impact on a child’s well being – physically and mentally.  That translates to better attentiveness, performance and behavior in school, too.   This method also eliminates the stigma for low-income children of coming to school early for a free breakfast in the cafeteria. And many children simply can’t get to school before the first bell.

Scientists Saving Our World

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 the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

In the 1920s, U.S. Navy recruiting posters exhorted young men to “Join the Navy and see the world!”  If USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) chose a similar slogan, it would probably be, “Join ARS and change the world!”

Preventing Hunger and Protecting Taxpayers: Our Renewed Efforts to Combat SNAP Fraud

In recent years, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly known as food stamps – has demonstrated an exceptional record in program integrity and stewardship of taxpayer dollars.  The program currently serves as a bridge to success for over 46 million Americans who are at risk of being hungry when they face challenging economic times. More than half of those who rely on the program are children, elderly or the disabled, and many participants are newly unemployed and never thought they would be living in poverty. The program has never been more important and neither has the need to be a good steward of its dollars.  In this vein, President Obama and Vice President Biden launched the Administration’s new Campaign to Cut Waste in government spending in June to eliminate misspent tax dollars and USDA strongly supports this effort.

Challenge Builds Positive Relationship between Louisiana Black Farming Community and FSA

When Mike Sullivan met a 30-year-old beginning farmer, he never thought it would launch a relationship that would influence an entire African-American farming community in the Cane River region of Louisiana.

“Sometimes good things can come out of a not-so-good situation,” said Sullivan, farm loan manager in the Natchitoches Farm Service Agency (FSA).

That’s what happened the day Thomas Roque, Jr., walked into the Natchitoches FSA County Office. Roque was hoping to get a loan to purchase calves to raise and sell for profit on his family’s 800-acre farm, purchased by his great-great grandparents in 1916. But things didn’t work out as easily as he hoped.