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USDA Provides Nutritious U.S. Peanuts in Humanitarian Effort for Haiti

“Working for peanuts” is a phrase typically used when someone is toiling for little reward. But when describing the activities of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a far better phrase is “working with peanuts,” especially when referring to the agreement recently reached by USDA to provide this nutritional commodity to a neighboring nation in great need, the Republic of Haiti.

USDA crafted a deal that will result in 500 metric tons of packaged, dry-roasted peanuts grown in the United States to be shipped later this year to school children in Haiti who have little access to food.  This effort stems from the “Stocks for Food” program that first started in late 2007, a joint project between the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) and Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) that transfers surplus farm commodities in government inventory to feeding programs and food banks both domestically and overseas.

Celebrating 90-Plus Years of USDA's International Activities

The modern Foreign Service is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, as is the American Foreign Service Association. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge signed the Foreign Service Act into law, combining the United States diplomatic and consular services to create the United States Foreign Service. By that time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had already been posting employees overseas for 42 years.

Thanks to President Coolidge’s curiosity, we possess a rare snapshot of USDA international activities in 1924. On December 22 of that year, Coolidge, in his characteristically laconic style, sent a one-line letter to Secretary of Agriculture Howard Gore: “I shall appreciate it if you will send me as soon as possible a list of the representatives the Department may have abroad, their posts and just what they are doing.”  Surviving copies of urgent correspondence in the National Archives in College Park testify to the flurry of activity that ensued over the next two weeks as a data call went out to all USDA field offices.

USDA Helps Haiti Measure Agricultural Production

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.

During the month of April we will take a closer look at USDA’s Groundbreaking Research for a Revitalized Rural America, highlighting ways USDA researchers are improving the lives of Americans in ways you might never imagine, and helping improve the world.

Following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture saw the need for market information and reliable and timely agricultural data. With the help from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the government surveyed farmers across Haiti and will publish the responses in its first-ever Statistical Agricultural Production Report, scheduled to be released tomorrow, April 16.

USDA and USAID jointly assisted the Haitian government in an effort to improve the quality and quantity of agricultural information available to Haitian decision makers with funding managed by the Foreign Agricultural Service.

Helping Haiti Recover Three Years Later

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with Haiti’s Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, Thomas Jacques, today to emphasize USDA’s ongoing commitment to help the Haitian agricultural sector recover from the devastating impact of the 2010 earthquake.

Looking Back on USDA’s Recovery Efforts in Haiti

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti. The earthquake devastated the already fragile and poor country, killing more than 300,000 people, and brought economic activities to a standstill leaving the capital of Port au Prince in a condition that is almost unfathomable to most Americans. In the aftermath of the disaster, the focus on the U.S. government gradually switched from response to recovery.