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New Media

Domestic Energy in 140 Characters or Less

In the fast paced technology world there are a lot of firsts coming at us all the time. But if you had told me that I’d be present for the first ever USDA Virtual Office Hours on April 5, 2012, in our 150th year, I assure you I never would have believed you. The event allowed USDA, a department  President Lincoln referred to as the People’s Department –– to reach hundreds of thousands of people, 140 characters at a time.  What really struck me was how many insightful questions came in about energy and USDA, and, in particular, one that was asked on our Facebook page shortly before the hour long chat.

Energy Questions? Ask Secretary Vilsack using #AskUSDA!

Do you have an interest in U.S. energy policy? Are you in the ag sector looking for options in renewable energy?  Here’s your chance to ask USDA!

On Thursday, April 5 at 1:30pm ET, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack himself will sit down for 45 minutes to answer YOUR questions on the Department’s renewable energy programs, and how USDA is helping build a secure energy future for America.  Just submit them to the @USDA Twitter account using the hashtag #AskUSDA.

Interested in Local and Regional Food Systems? Jump into the Twitter Conversation Using #KYF2!

Earlier this week we launched the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass, a digital narrative with stories, pictures and video about USDA’s support for local and regional food systems, and interactive map with datasets displaying the various ways and places where the initiative has made an impact.

The 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree Checks-In at Number 6

Every year, the Christmas tree that graces the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol originates from one of our country’s National Forests. It may not be widely known that the USDA’s Forest Service is instrumental in facilitating the Capitol Christmas Tree’s transport from the forest to the Washington, DC, yet it’s a proud tradition that has steadily gained attention each year with the growing popularity of social media tools. The 2011 annual trek is our number 6 favorite social media moment.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Our Favorite Social Media Moments from 2011

As 2011 draws to an end, this is a time where we begin to look back on things we learned or achieved, and to make resolutions for the year ahead.  We wanted to take the end of 2011 to look back on the wide range of social media activities that we had the pleasure of planning, executing and watching unfold across the Department in an effort to better serve you, our most important audience. From Twitter chats, to video challenges, to new ways to share valuable data, we think USDA really upped the ante on the social media front this year.

Hola! USDA’s Farm Service Agency Tweeting en Español

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA)—the agency responsible for equitably serving all farmers, ranchers, and agricultural partners in the United States with effective agricultural programs—recently launched a Spanish-language Twitter account. We hope it helps to reach Hispanic farmers and ranchers in a new way. We’ll “tweet” the latest information on farm programs, loan announcements and emergency designations. We’ll also issue updates via Twitter on the Hispanic and women farmers claims process.

“We are excited to offer a tool that reaches folks for whom English is not their first language,” said FSA Administrator Bruce Nelson. “As the population of Hispanic farmers and ranchers continues to grow, we need to grow with them and provide resources to help educate and inform all of our customers.”