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Earth Team Volunteer Loves 'Dream Job' with NRCS

U.S. Army Capt. Mike P. McAdaragh II is looking for a job that blends indoor and outdoor work. This led him to volunteering with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency that works with private landowners to improve farms and forestlands across the U.S.

McAdaragh’s volunteer work with NRCS gives him the opportunity to work side-by-side with agency biologists and engineers, providing him with valuable work experience and new skills as he transitions from his 13 years in the military to a new career.

USDA’s SuperTracker Receives Award for Outstanding IT Achievement in Government

In addition to reaching over 1.4 million users, USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion now has something else to be proud of regarding its state-of-the-art SuperTracker.  On October 24, 2012, the SuperTracker Team received the 2012 Government Computer News (GCN) Award for Outstanding IT Achievement in Government, along with nine other awardees from local, state, and Federal governments.  The awards were presented to these government teams for their extraordinary accomplishments and significant contributions to the performance of their agencies.

With Some Help from USDA, a Small Oregon Town Brings Shoppers Back to Main Street

Like so many small towns these past few decades, downtown Cottage Grove, Oregon has seen its vitality as the community’s economic and social center fade as retail, building occupancy and overall traffic on Main Street have declined. The historic city center was laid out and constructed as the community’s small, but bustling hub near the turn of the last century. Over the years, changes in lifestyle, business models, traffic patterns, and overall growth diverted activity away. In addition, the small town of under 10,000 is conveniently located on an interstate just 20 miles from a major population center. As such, Cottage Gove today is home to many who prefer a quiet, small-town residential environment, but who work, shop and do business in the nearby Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area.

Why I Became an Inspector in APHIS’ Animal Care Program

USDA/APHIS’ Animal Care program enforces the federal Animal Welfare Act, which sets standards for humane care and treatment that must be provided for certain animals that are exhibited to the public, bred for commercial sale, used in biomedical research, or transported commercially. Individuals/entities that operate facilities using animals in these ways must provide their animals with proper veterinary care, adequate housing, appropriate nutrition, etc.

Secretary's Column: A Thank You to America’s Veterans

Americans will soon come together on Veterans Day to honor our nation’s returned service members, including more than 22 million living American veterans.

For generations, American service members across every branch of our military have made tremendous sacrifices to defend our freedom and liberty.   This weekend, it’s important that all of us take time to remember their service.

In particular, earlier this year, President Obama honored our Vietnam-era veterans when he proclaimed a 13-year period – May 28, 2012, through Nov. 11, 2025 – as the “Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.”  This gives all of us a special opportunity to recognize these veterans, who too often were not properly thanked when they came home.

Celebrating Years of Service - at USDA and as Military Veterans

Each Veteran’s Day, the country takes a moment to recognize our troops for their commitment and dedication to the nation. The experiences of our veterans show how military service intersects with the mission of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) in unexpected ways. As we prepare for the holiday, AMS would like to thank all of our veterans for their service and their sacrifice and also highlight a few members of our staff willing to share their stories.

Collaboration Key to Aiding Hurricane Sandy Victims

Tough times and dire circumstances have a longstanding history of bringing America’s communities and organizations together.  The recent storms that descended on much of the nation’s Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions have underscored these important partnerships.

For many of the stricken areas, including the urban centers in the Northeast, natural disasters of this scale are relatively rare.  And households containing the very young, elderly and those with special needs are of particular concern to USDA and our many partners engaged in these emergencies.

To aid those in Hurricane Sandy’s crosshairs, USDA swiftly coordinated with FEMA, States, and partner organizations to provide disaster nutrition assistance in 13 states.  By issuing automatic, mass replacement of SNAP benefits to certain households hit by the storm – for instance – SNAP individuals and families currently participating in SNAP will be able to replace their food purchased with SNAP benefits that spoiled due to flooding and power outages.  In the severely affected areas of New Jersey and New York SNAP recipients will be granted a waiver to purchase hot foods with their benefits.  In addition, USDA has worked with retailer trade associations to ensure SNAP authorized stores are aware of this waiver and eligibility for the purchase of hot foods through the month of November.  Meanwhile, several other States have been granted extensions to report loss of food purchased with their SNAP benefits and to request replacement benefits.

In Working with Tribes USDA Rural Development Opens Electronic Doors

Webinars and Teleconferences are not the raw materials that Tribes use to build the infrastructure that they need.  However, at USDA Rural Development we believe that these tools are crucial building blocks that help our Agencies and staff build a foundation for consultation, cooperation and mutual understanding with Federally Recognized Tribes.

Over the last few months, Rural Development co-hosted an Indian Housing Webinar Discussion Series with the National American Indian Housing Council.  The goals of that series were clear and simple: 1) Educate USDA Rural Development personnel on the unique issues in providing affordable housing in Indian Country; 2) Educate Tribes and Tribal housing program staff on USDA Rural Development’s programs and services; and, 3) Examine and discuss strategies to improve the partnership between Tribal housing programs and USDA Rural Development.  The final webinar was hosted on November 7th and in preparation for the National American Indian Housing Council’s Legal Symposium in December 2012, we are putting together a joint white paper on the Webinar Series and recommendations to consider moving forward.