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USDA Announces Winners of 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum Student Diversity Program

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the selection of 30 university students who
will attend USDA’s 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum. The students—who attend land-grant,
Hispanic-serving, and American Association of State Colleges of Agriculture and Renewable
Resources Institutions—have received assistance from USDA and corporate sponsors in order to
attend the Forum. The 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum will be held Feb. 21- 22, 2013, at the
Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va.

“The Outlook Forum will give these students the chance to hear from leading government and
industry voices on a broad range of topics, opening and expanding their opportunities to excel in
agriculture-related fields,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

USDA 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum Presentations Available Online

After 6 p.m. February 24, USDA’s 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum speaker presentations will be available online.  The Forum, which occurs annually, was a celebration of USDA’s 150th anniversary, featuring eight former Secretaries of Agriculture discussing the future of agriculture with Secretary Vilsack.

USDA 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum's Twenty-Five Breakout Sessions Begin February 23

Following a morning plenary session featuring eight former Secretaries of Agriculture and Secretary Vilsack’s keynote speech, the USDA’s annual Outlook Forum will begin the programs breakout sessions featuring more than 80 speakers.  The sessions will focus on a broad range of topical issues related to agriculture and global food security; foreign trade, financial markets, and economic development; conservation; energy; climate change; food safety; food hubs; extension programs; and next generation farmers.

Iowa State Fair: America's Heartland at its Best

Cross-posted from the White House Blog

I’ve spent the last few days here in Iowa, a state that I was honored to serve as Governor for eight years. Yesterday, I walked the grounds of the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. The fair is refreshingly the same each year, but also a snapshot of changing rural America. The food stands, midway and cattle barns are in the same place that they’ve been for years. We’ve sculpted a "Butter Cow" since the early 1900s, but now the young people all have iPods and Blackberry phones. Their parents have cell phones.

A Taste of the States with our Neighbors to the North

This week, I traveled to Ottawa to meet with Canadian trade group leaders as well as Gerry Ritz, the minister of agriculture in Canada. As part of these meetings, we discussed agricultural trade issues that both of our countries face and opportunities for collaboration. In between meetings, I had the opportunity to participate in the tasteUS! Culinary Showcase. This event took place at Ambassador Jacobson’s residence and guests included Canadian media, buyers from Canadian grocery chains and food establishments, and U.S. cooperator representatives in Canada.

From Sisters’ Generosity Grows a Garden to Benefit Carthage, Texas Community

Jane Ray was ironing clothes and watching the news when a story inspired her to action. The news story showed First Lady Michelle Obama speaking to employees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., telling them about the agency’s People’s Garden initiative. Ray, who grew up in Carthage, Texas, realized she had just heard how she and her sister, Jill Burkindine of Manhattan, Kan., could honor their parents and benefit their hometown community.

USDA/DOJ Workshop on Competition Issues - Important Step in the Right Direction

Today over 600 people packed the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny, Iowa to participate in the first ever USDA/DOJ workshop on competition issues in agriculture.

With FFA purple jackets helping direct the attendees (and selling boxed lunches), the hall was full nearly an hour before U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack and U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder began speaking to lead off the day.