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  • USDA Announces Intent to Establish an Equity Commission, Solicits Nominations for Membership

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Intent to Establish an Equity Commission, Solicits Nominations for Membership | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture press release dated: September 24, 2021)

    Washington, September 24, 2021 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced it will establish an Equity Commission and is requesting nominations for membership on the Equity Commission Advisory Committee and Equity Commission Subcommittee on Agriculture. The Notice represents an important step towards implementing President Biden’s commitment to create an Equity Commission and the American Rescue Plan Act provision that directs USDA to "address historical discrimination and disparities in the agriculture sector… [through] one or more equity commissions to address racial equity issues within USDA and its programs." “USDA is committed to advancing equity throughout our Departm...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: August 10, 2021)

    Washington, August 10, 2021 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the names of individuals who will hold key staff positions in Washington, D.C.

    John Rapp was named Director of the Office of Budget and Program Analysis. Previously, he held the role in an acting capacity while simultaneously serving as the Budget Officer, Chief Risk Officer, Chief Evaluation Office, and Performance Improvement Officer. Prior to being named in the acting role, Rapp served as the director of Strategic Planning, Budget and Accountability for the Forest Service. He also served as the Assistant Director for Formulation, Performance, and Strategic Planning and, before that, as the Performance Management Branch Chief. Prior to his career with the Forest Service,
    ...
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  • Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Final Rule

    Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Final Rule | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: June 17, 2021) Washington, June 17, 2021 - - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released the following statement today in regard to the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) final rule: “We intend to reconsider the prior Administration’s interpretation that the Organic Foods Production Act does not authorize USDA to regulate the practices that were the subject of the 2017 Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) final rule. I have directed the National Organic Program to begin a rulemaking to address this statutory interpretation and to include a proposal to disallow the use of porches as outdoor space in organic production over time and on other topics that were the subject of the OLPP final rule. We anticipate sen...
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  • Statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Intent to Nominate Representative Xochitl Torres Small to Serve as Under Secretary for Rural Development

    Statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Intent to Nominate Representative Xochitl Torres Small to Serve as Under Secretary for Rural Development | site |


    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: June 18, 2021)

    Statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Intent to Nominate Representative Xochitl Torres Small to Serve as Under Secretary for Rural Development

    Washington, June 18, 2021 – “Representative Xochitl Torres Small’s nomination to serve as Under Secretary for Rural Development reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advancing rural prosperity. Her nomination is responsive to rural stakeholders and Congress; both have emphasized the importance of having a dedicated advocate for rural communities among the Department’s Subcabinet. As the daughter of migrant farm workers and a native of rural New Mexico, Torres Small represents the heart...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Selects 2021 Class of E. Kika De La Garza Fellows

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Selects 2021 Class of E. Kika De La Garza Fellows

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Selects 2021 Class of E. Kika De La Garza Fellows | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: June 17, 2021) Washington, June 17, 2021 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the selection of 25 faculty and staff from Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) across the nation as 2021 E. Kika De La Garza Fellows. This summer fellowship program offers experiences in policymaking and research through direct interaction with every USDA agency. “These fellowships have multiple benefits for minority-serving higher education institutions,” said Lisa Ramirez, director of USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. “The fellows get valuable professional development, they meet federal staff for long-term collaboration opportunities, and then they share what they learned with students and colleagues at their home institutions.” The f...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Expands Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program for Meat Processors to 9 States with Addition of South Dakota

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Expands Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program for Meat Processors to 9 States with Addition of South Dakota | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture press release dated: June 10, 2021) Washington, June 10, 2021 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the State of South Dakota have finalized a Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) agreement, which provides an opportunity for selected state-inspected meat and poultry processors to ship their products across state lines. Under the CIS agreement, the State of South Dakota may inspect meat in selected establishments for shipment throughout the United States. The CIS program was launched in 2012 under Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack after being authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. Currently, 9 states participate in the program to promote the expansion of business opportunities for state...
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  • USDA to Invest 1 Billion Dollars to Purchase Healthy Food for Food Insecure Americans and Build Food Bank Capacity

    U.S. Department of Agriculture to Invest $1 Billion to Purchase Healthy Food for Food Insecure Americans and Build Food Bank Capacity | site |



    First Investment of the New ‘Build Back Better’ Initiative Will Serve as a Bridge from Pandemic Assistance to Food System Transformation


    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture press release dated: June 4, 2021) Washington, June 4, 2021 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced an investment of up to $1 billion, including $500 million in American Rescue Plan funding, in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to support and expand the emergency food network so states, food banks and local organizations can reliably serve their communities. Building on lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, USDA will enter into cooperative agreements with state, Tribal and local entities to more efficiently purchase food from local producers and invest ...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: June 7, 2021)

    Washington, June 7, 2021 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the names of individuals who will hold senior staff positions in Washington, D.C.

    Sanah Baig was named Chief of Staff for Research, Education, and Economics. Baig most recently served as Chief of Staff at the Good Food Institute, a global non-profit, and also served as program director at the National Association of Counties. During the Obama-Biden Administration, she served for nearly six years in a variety of capacities at USDA including serving as an advisor in the Office of the Secretary, special advisor in Rural Development, and confidential assistant in the Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP) mission area. Baig is a proud graduate of the University of Virginia
    ...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Launches 2021 Feds Feed Families Nationwide Food Drive

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Launches 2021 Feds Feed Families Nationwide Food Drive | site |



    Website makes it easy to participate, measure donations, and share success stories


    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture press release dated: June 1, 2021) Washington, June 1, 2021 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today kicked off the 12th annual government-wide Feds Feed Families (FFF) campaign, which encourages employees from all federal departments and agencies to give in-kind contributions -- food, services, and time -- to food banks and pantries. This year’s campaign highlights a summer of giving in June through August, along with seasonal reminders to donate throughout the year. “Feeding the hungry is perhaps the most critical job we have,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “As the lead agency for this federal-wide food drive, I encourage all federal employees across the country to participate ...
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  • USDA Releases 90-Day Progress Report on Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry

    USDA Releases 90-Day Progress Report on Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Releases 90-Day Progress Report on Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture press release dated: May 20, 2021)

    Washington, May 20, 2021 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today published the 90-Day Progress Report on Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry. The report represents an important step toward in President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad and shift towards a whole-of-department approach to climate solutions. The Order, signed January 27, states that, “America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners have an important role to play in combating the climate crisis and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, by sequestering carbon in soils, grasses, trees, and other vegetation and sourcing sustainable bioproducts and fuels.” “With the right tools and partnerships, American agriculture an
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Leadership in Natural Resources and Conservation Areas

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Leadership in Natural Resources and Conservation Areas | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: May 19, 2021)

    Washington, May 19, 2021 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today the appointment of Meryl Harrell as Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) and the appointment of Terry Cosby as Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). They will begin their positions on Monday, May 24. Meryl Harrell most recently served as the Executive Director of the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards. She has also served as a consultant, advising non-profits, foundations, and government agencies working to conserve America's public and private working lands. During the Obama-Biden Administration, Harrell spent eight years in the Office of Natural Resources and Environment at USDA, including serving as Chief of...
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  • USDA says Interior and Agriculture Departments Outline Wildland Fire Preparedness, Climate Resiliency Plans

    USDA says Interior and Agriculture Departments Outline Wildland Fire Preparedness, Climate Resiliency Plans | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: May 13, 2021)

    Washington, May 13, 2021 - - Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today shared their vision for the Biden-Harris administration’s wildland fire preparedness and response, including supporting science and research into the effects of climate change on wildland fire.

    Secretaries Haaland and Vilsack outlined their goals for wildland fire management in a joint memo to wildland fire leadership. Paramount to this issue is promoting climate resiliency across landscapes and communities, modernizing the firefighter workforce while creating good jobs, and protecting the safety and long-term wellbeing of our wildland firefighters and incident responders. “With so little r
    ...
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  • USDA to Purchase 159.4 Million Dollars in Nutritious Consumer-Ready Seafood and More for Food Assistance Programs

    U.S. Department of Agriculture to Purchase $159.4 Million in Nutritious Consumer-Ready Seafood and More for Food Assistance Programs | site |


    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture press release dated: May 13, 2021) Washington, May 13, 2021 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced it will purchase up to $159.4 million in domestically produced seafood, fruits, legumes, and nuts for distribution to a variety of domestic food assistance programs, including charitable institutions. These purchases are being made utilizing funds under the authority of Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act (Pub. L. 74-320), as amended (Section 32). This is one of many actions USDA is taking to address the disruptions in the food system supply chain and worsened food insecurity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. “The impacts of COVID-19 reverberated from our farms to our oceans,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “U.S. fisher...
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  • Statement from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Confirmation of Dr. Jewel Bronaugh as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture

    Statement from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Confirmation of Dr. Jewel Bronaugh as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: May 13, 2021) Washington, May 13, 2021 - - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued the following statement on the confirmation of Dr. Jewel Bronaugh as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture: “I am grateful for today's confirmation of Jewel Bronaugh as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dr. Bronaugh’s confirmation is historic, as she will serve as the first Black woman and woman of color to serve as Deputy Secretary. Dr. Bronaugh has a long, distinguished career as an educator and champion for farmers and rural communities. Most recently as the 16th Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services she worked to expand opportunities...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments | site |


    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: May 11, 2021)

    Washington, May 11, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the names of individuals who will hold key staff positions in Washington, D.C.

    Kate Waters was named Press Secretary in the Office of Communications. Recently, Waters served as the Communications Director on the re-election campaign of Senator Mark Warner. She previously served as the traveling Press Secretary for Kamala Harris for the People and as Digital Director and Deputy Press Secretary in the office of Senator Kamala Harris. Additionally, she has held roles with Abby Finkenauer for Congress, Hillary for America, and in the office of Senator Tom Harkin. Waters is a graduate of James Madison University.

    Eddie Shimkus was named Legislative Advisor in the Office of
    ...
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  • USDA Awards 15 Million Dollars in Grants to Expand Wood Products, Wood Energy Markets and Community Forests

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Awards $15 Million in Grants to Expand Wood Products, Wood Energy Markets and Community Forests | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture press release dated: May 7, 2021) Washington, May 7, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today awarded more than $15 million to fund grant proposals to develop and expand the use of wood products, strengthen emerging wood energy markets and protect community forests. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement in Colorado today while visiting prescribed fire and wildfire recovery areas adjacent to the Roosevelt National Forest Northern Colorado Front Range landscape. The grant funding, delivered through USDA Forest Service programs, will support 60 projects that cover a diverse range of activities from the development of affordable housing to expanding markets for mass timber, biochar, wood energy and other emerging wood products....
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  • USDA Announces Dr. Dewayne Goldmon as Senior Advisor, Racial Equity, and Andy Green as Senior Advisor, Fair and Competitive Markets

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Dr. Dewayne Goldmon as Senior Advisor, Racial Equity, and Andy Green as Senior Advisor, Fair and Competitive Markets | site |


    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: March 1, 2021)

    Washington, March 1, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced two senior appointments today.

    USDA announced the appointment of Dr. Dewayne Goldmon as Senior Advisor for Racial Equity to the Secretary of Agriculture. Goldmon has served for the past year as Executive Director of the National Black Growers Council (NBGC), a Washington, D.C. based organization that advocates to improve the efficiency, productivity, and sustainability of Black row crop farmers. He has more than 30 years of experience in the agricultural sector and is also a farmer in southeast Arkansas. Before joining the NGBC, he helped to form the organization and served as its initial advisor.
    ...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture press released dated: February 22, 2021)

    Washington, Feb. 22, 2021 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the names of individuals who will hold senior staff positions in Washington, D.C.

    Maribel Duran was named Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations in the Office of the Secretary. Duran recently served as Managing Director for Equity and Inclusion for the Aspen Institute, as well as Chief of Staff for its Leadership Division. From 2018-2019, she was co-chair of the Institute’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. Previously, Duran served eight years in the Obama Administration, first as Special Assistant to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, then as Chief of Staff for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, and ultimately as Chief of Staff
    ...
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  • Statement on Change to Definition of ‘Agricultural Products’ in Reporting Trade Data

    Statement on Change to Definition of ‘Agricultural Products’ in Reporting Trade Data | site |




    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: February 19, 2021)


    Washington, Feb. 19, 2021 - - USDA and the Department of Commerce decided in December 2020 to change the way they define “agricultural products” when reporting international trade data.

    Beginning with the release of the January 2021 monthly trade data on March 5, USDA will adopt the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) internationally recognized definition of “agricultural products,” which includes ethanol, distilled spirits and manufactured tobacco products, three product groups not included in the current USDA definition.

    The change was first announced by Commerce in the Monthly U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report released on Feb. 5th. The change is meant to harmonize U.S. trade reporting practices with those
    ...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Leadership in Farm Production and Conservation Mission Area

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Leadership in Farm Production and Conservation Mission Area | site |


    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: February 19, 2021) Washington, Feb. 19, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today the appointment of Gloria Montaño Greene as Deputy Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) and the appointment of Zach Ducheneaux as Administrator of the Farm Service Agency (FSA). They will begin their positions on Monday, Feb. 22. Montaño Greene is a former State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency in Arizona from 2014-2017, a position she was appointed to by President Obama. With FSA in Arizona, Montaño Greene led implementation of the 2013 Farm Bill programs across the state. Currently, she serves as Deputy Director for Chispa Arizona, a program of the League of Conservation Voters focused on the empowerment of Latino voices in Ari...
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  • FACT SHEET - - - Update on USDA Activities to Contain the COVID-19 Pandemic

    FACT SHEET - - - Update on USDA Activities to Contain the COVID-19 Pandemic

    FACT SHEET: Update on USDA Activities to Contain the COVID-19 Pandemic | site |




    USDA Deploys 127 Disaster, Public Health Specialists to Assist with Federal Response


    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: February 10, 2021)


    Washington, Feb. 10, 2021 — In January 2021, President Biden released the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness. The plan is driven by science, data, and public health to improve the effectiveness of our nation’s fight against COVID-19 and to restore trust, accountability and a sense of common purpose in our response to the pandemic.

    The National Strategy provides a roadmap to guide America out of the worst public health crisis in a century. It is organized around seven goals:
    1. Restore trust with the American people.
    2. Mount a safe, effective, and comprehensive vaccination campaign.
    3. Mitigate spread through
    ...
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  • Statement by Katharine Ferguson, USDA Chief of Staff, on the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act

    Statement by Katharine Ferguson, USDA Chief of Staff, on the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act | site | (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: February 9, 2021) Washington, Feb. 9, 2021 — “We are pleased to see the introduction of the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act yesterday in the Senate, a bill that will bring much-needed economic assistance during the pandemic and begin to advance equity for farmers of color. The bill is the culmination of hard work and collaboration among members of the Senate and House and new leadership at USDA who share a common purpose to end inequity in our food and agricultural systems. It’s a bill crafted to address the immediate need for debt relief among those who have been marginalized and are hurting while also advancing long-term issues such as Heirs’ Property, tackling the root causes of discrimination via an Equity Commission, and investing in building back a new ge...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture extends General Signup for Conservation Reserve Program

    U.S. Department of Agriculture extends General Signup for Conservation Reserve Program | site |



    Biden Administration Considers Changes to Bolster Effectiveness of Program and Recommits to Making CRP a Cornerstone of Conservation Programming


    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture press release dated: February 5, 2021)

    Washington, Feb. 5, 2021 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) General Signup period, which had previously been announced as ending on Feb. 12, 2021. USDA will continue to accept offers as it takes this opportunity for the incoming Administration to evaluate ways to increase enrollment. Under the previous Administration, incentives and rental payment rates were reduced resulting in an enrollment shortfall of over 4 million acres. The program, administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides annual rental payments...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: February 4, 2021)

    Washington, Feb. 4, 2021 - - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the names of individuals who will hold senior staff positions in Washington, D.C.

    Anne Knapke was named Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations. Most recently, Knapke was a Senior Program Officer focusing on nutrition at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to working at the Gates Foundation, Knapke served as Legislative Director for Senator Amy Klobuchar. Knapke holds a bachelor’s degree from the Ohio State University and master’s degrees in public policy and social service administration from the University of Chicago.

    Liz Archuleta was named Director in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Archuleta served as a County Supervisor for
    ...
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  • Biden Administration Halts Residential Evictions in USDA Multifamily Housing Communities in Accordance with CDC Guidance

    Biden Administration Halts Residential Evictions in USDA Multifamily Housing Communities in Accordance with CDC Guidance | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture press release dated: February 1, 2021)


    Washington, Feb. 1, 2021 - - In one of his first acts in office, President Joe Biden requested federal agencies to extend the eviction and foreclosure moratorium for millions of Americans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended the eviction and foreclosure moratorium to affected multifamily housing residents through March 31, 2021. This halt in residential evictions allows the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to extend relief to the tens-of-thousands of Americans who rely on USDA-supported multifamily housing communities. “USDA recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an almost unprecedented housing affordability crisis in t...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: January 27, 2021)

    Washington, Jan. 27, 2021 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the names of individuals who will hold key staff positions in Washington, D.C.

    Rebecca Piazza was named Senior Advisor for Delivery in the Office of the Under Secretary for the Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Program Delivery at Nava Public Benefit Corporation. Previously, Piazza was the Acting Executive Director of 18F, a digital services agency within the General Services Administration (GSA), and was a technology consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. Piazza holds a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University in Louisiana.

    Steffanie Bezruki was named Chief of Staff in Rural Business Services. During nearly seven
    ...
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  • USDA Temporarily Suspends Debt Collections, Foreclosures and Other Activities on Farm Loans for Several Thousand

    USDA Temporarily Suspends Debt Collections, Foreclosures and Other Activities on Farm Loans for Several Thousand Distressed Borrowers Due to Coronavirus | site |




    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: January 27, 2021)

    Washington, Jan. 27, 2021 - - Due to the national public health emergency caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the temporary suspension of past-due debt collections and foreclosures for distressed borrowers under the Farm Storage Facility Loan and the Direct Farm Loan programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). USDA will temporarily suspend non-judicial foreclosures, debt offsets or wage garnishments, and referring foreclosures to the Department of Justice; and USDA will work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to stop judicial foreclosures and evictions on accounts that were previously referred...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Heather Dawn Thompson as Director, Office of Tribal Relations

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Heather Dawn Thompson as Director, Office of Tribal Relations | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: January 25, 2021) Washington, Jan. 25, 2021 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the appointment of Heather Dawn Thompson as Director of the Office of Tribal Relations (OTR) reporting to the Secretary of Agriculture. Thompson is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, a Harvard Law School graduate, and an expert in American Indian law, tribal sovereignty, and rural tribal economic development. With Thompson in place, USDA will return OTR directly under the Secretary, restoring the office’s important government-to-government role. Most recently, Thompson served a member of the American Indian Law Practice Group at Greenberg Traurig, where she worked on federal Indian law and Tribal agriculture. Thompson has a long record of public...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Three Deputy Under Secretaries in the Areas of Nutrition, Rural Development and Marketing and Regulatory Programs

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Three Deputy Under Secretaries in the Areas of Nutrition, Rural Development and Marketing and Regulatory Programs | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: January 21, 2021)

    Washington, Jan. 21, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced three senior appointments today.

    USDA announced that nutrition policy expert Stacy Dean has been named Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services (FNCS). Prior to joining USDA, Dean served as Vice President for Food Assistance Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C. She directed the Center’s food assistance team, which publishes frequent reports on how federal nutrition programs affect families and communities and develops policies to improve them. She joined the Center in 1997 and has deep experience understanding the delivery of health
    ...
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  • Biden Administration Announces Foreclosure Moratorium and Mortgage Forbearance Deadline Extension

    Biden Administration Announces Foreclosure Moratorium and Mortgage Forbearance Deadline Extension That Will Bring Relief to Rural Residents | site |



    USDA Extends Evictions and Foreclosure Moratorium to March 31, 2021 and Provides Additional Guidance for Servicing Loans Impacted by COVID-19


    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: January 20, 2021) Washington, Jan. 20, 2021 — In one of his first acts in office, President Joe Biden requested federal agencies to extend eviction and foreclosure moratoriums for millions of Americans. In response, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an extension of eviction and foreclosure moratoriums on USDA Single Family Housing Direct and Guaranteed loans (SFHDLP and SFHGLP) through March 31, 2021. The actions announced today will bring relief to residents in rural America who have housing loans through USDA. USDA recognizes that the COVID-19 pande...
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  • Biden Administration Expands P-EBT to Benefit Millions of Low-Income and Food Insecure Children During Pandemic

    Biden Administration Expands P-EBT to Benefit Millions of Low-Income and Food Insecure Children During Pandemic | site |


    USDA Says SNAP Benefits Are Inadequate for Most Participants and Begins Process to Extend Emergency Allotments to States and Update Thrifty Food Plan Formula


    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: January 22, 2021) Washington, Jan. 22, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced several efforts today to expand nutrition assistance to hard-hit families across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. In support of President Biden’s call to action on hunger and with authorities provided by Congress, USDA is increasing the Pandemic-EBT benefit by approximately 15%, providing more money for low-income families and millions of children missing meals due to school closures. Separately, in response to this national emergency, USDA is looking at ways to increase...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: January 20, 2021)

    Washington, Jan. 20, 2021 - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the names of individuals who will hold senior staff positions in Washington, D.C.

    Katharine Ferguson was named Chief of Staff in the Office of the Secretary. Most recently, Ferguson served as Associate Director of the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group. Before joining the Aspen Institute, Ferguson served in the Obama Administration as Chief of Staff for the White House Domestic Policy Council and as Chief of Staff for Rural Development at USDA. Ferguson also worked on the Senate Agriculture Committee and as staff to several U.S. Senators. Other work experience has focused on topics ranging from racial equity, community economic development, conservation, food and agriculture,
    ...
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  • USDA Offers Additional Assistance for Certain Producers Through Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

    USDA Offers Additional Assistance for Certain Producers Through Coronavirus Food Assistance Program | site |


    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture press release dated: January 15, 2021) (Washington, D.C., January 15, 2021) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide additional assistance through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), expanding eligibility for some agricultural producers and commodities as well as updating payments to accurately compensate some producers who already applied for the program. Producers who are now eligible and those who need to modify existing applications due to these updates can contact USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) between Jan. 19 and Feb. 26. Some of these changes are being made to align with the recently enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 while others are discretionary changes being made in response...
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  • Secretary Perdue Statement on the Establishment of Wildland Fire Subcabinet

    Secretary Perdue Statement on the Establishment of Wildland Fire Subcabinet

    Secretary Perdue Statement on the Establishment of Wildland Fire Subcabinet | site |




    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: January 14, 2021)


    (Washington, D.C., January 14, 2021) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued a statement celebrating the establishment of the Interagency Wildland Fire Subcabinet. Executive Order on Establishing The Wildland Fire Management Policy Committee will open up more communication channels to ensure better forest management effectiveness between the Departments and Agencies within the Federal government. “While I am proud of our progress to promote active management, reduce hazardous fuels, work across boundaries and increase the resiliency of our nation’s forests and grasslands, I believe more can be done,” said Secretary Perdue. “With the establishment of a subcabinet dedicated exclusively to wildland fire manage...
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  • USDA Announces Continuation of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, Fifth Round of Food Purchases

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Continuation of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, Fifth Round of Food Purchases | site |


    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture press release dated: January 4, 2021)

    (Washington, D.C., January 4, 2021) - - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will purchase an additional $1.5 billion worth of food for nationwide distribution through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. In total, USDA has distributed more than 132 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “This new round of Farmers to Families Food Boxes will go a long way in helping American families access nutritious and healthy meals as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the President Trump’s leadership, we have helped tens of millions of families and countless farmers with this program,” said Secret...
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  • USDA Approves Maine to Accept SNAP Benefits Online

    USDA Approves Maine to Accept SNAP Benefits Online

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Approves Maine to Accept SNAP Benefits Online | site |


    USDA is expanding access to innovative online food purchase program


    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release dated: December 31, 2020) (Washington, D.C., December 31, 2020) - - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced approval of a request from Maine to provide online purchasing of food to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households. This approval will allow Maine to expedite the implementation of online purchasing with currently authorized SNAP online retailers with a target start date to be announced at a later time. Maine’s SNAP participation is more than 144,000 individuals, more than 78,000 households, and totals $204 million annually in federal benefits. This announcement further demonstrates President Trump’s whole of America approach to fighting the coronavirus pandemic by...
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  • Make Every Bite Count

    Make Every Bite Count

    Make Every Bite Count | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture press release dated: December 29, 2020)



    Make Every Bite Count: USDA, HHS Release Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025


    (Washington, D.C., December 29, 2020) – Nutrition in America took a major step forward today with the publication of Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. Jointly published by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) every five years, the guidelines provide science-based recommendations designed to foster healthy dietary patterns for Americans of all ages – from birth through older adults. Importantly, this edition expands the guidance, for the first time including recommended healthy dietary patterns for infants and toddlers. “At USDA and HHS, we work to serve the American people – to help every American thrive and live healthier lives through acc...
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  • U.S. Agriculture Secretary Perdue Announces Groundbreaking Proposal to Transfer Agricultural Animal Biotechnology Regulatory Framework to USDA

    U.S. Agriculture Secretary Perdue Announces Groundbreaking Proposal to Transfer Agricultural Animal Biotechnology Regulatory Framework to USDA| site |


    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture press release: December 21, 2020)

    (Washington, D.C., December 21, 2020) – Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a significant step in modernizing regulations of agricultural animals modified or produced by genetic engineering. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be moving forward with an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) to solicit public input and feedback on a contemplated regulatory framework that would modernize our system into a scientifically-sound, risk-based, and predictable process that facilitates the development and use of these technologies for U.S. farmers and ranchers under USDA’s authorities. This initiative follows President Donald Trump’s Executive Order on agricultural biotechnology
    ...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture and NASA Sign Agreement to Improve Agricultural, Earth Science Research

    U.S. Department of Agriculture and NASA Sign Agreement to Improve Agricultural, Earth Science Research | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release: December 17, 2020) (Washington, D.C., December 17, 2020) - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture and NASA have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening their longstanding partnership on space-based assets benefitting life on Earth. The agreement brings together NASA’s experience with technology development and space-borne Earth science measurements and USDA’s scientific experience and knowledge of agricultural production, resource conservation, food security and safety, and forests and working lands. USDA and NASA will explore research gaps of importance to the agricultural community that could be addressed through innovative Earth observation systems and technologies developed over the next decade. The collaboration also will address recommendations m...
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  • USDA Announces 2021 Lincoln Leaders Fellowship Opportunities for Minority-Serving Education Institutions

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces 2021 Lincoln Leaders Fellowship Opportunities for Minority-Serving Education Institutions | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture press release: December 15, 2020)

    (Washington, D.C., December 15, 2020) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE) today announced they are accepting applications to the 2021 Lincoln Leaders Program, which includes fellowship opportunities to connect USDA resources with faculty and staff at Hispanic-Serving Institutions, 1994 Tribal Colleges, and Universities, and 1890 Land-Grant Universities. “We launched the Lincoln Leaders Program last year to build off the more than two decades of success of the E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship,” said OPPE Director Mike Beatty. “Today, the need to empower faculty and staff from our partner institutions to develop the next generation ...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Joint Final Rule Regarding Equal Treatment of Faith-Based Organizations USDA-Supported Social Service Programs

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Joint Final Rule Regarding Equal Treatment of Faith-Based Organizations USDA-Supported Social Service Programs | site |



    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release: December 14, 2020) (Washington, D.C., December 14, 2020) – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a joint final rule with eight other Agencies—the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Agency for International Development, and the Department of Veterans Affairs—to implement President Trump’s Executive Order No. 13831, on the Establishment of a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative (May 3, 2018). This rule ensures that religious and non-religious organizations are treated equally in USDA-supported programs, and it clar...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Chief Economist Dr. Robert Johansson to Depart

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Chief Economist Dr. Robert Johansson to Depart

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Chief Economist Dr. Robert Johansson to Depart site |


    USDA says Dr. Seth Meyer Picked as New Chief Economist


    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] press release: December 14, 2020)

    (Washington, D.C., December 14, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Chief Economist, Robert Johansson, will be leaving USDA to become Associate Director of Economics and Policy Analysis for the American Sugar Alliance at the end of January. Additionally, the Secretary announced Dr. Seth Meyer will return to USDA to be the new Chief Economist. “There is no doubt that I as well as the whole USDA family will miss Rob’s experience, preparedness, and direct economic analyses,” said Secretary Perdue. “During his tenure as Chief Economist, Rob has been an upstanding public servant. Rob helped set up and serve as Ac...
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  • USDA Shares Easy At-Home Advice for Handling Food Safely this Thanksgiving

    USDA Shares Easy At-Home Advice for Handling Food Safely this Thanksgiving

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Shares Easy At-Home Advice for Handling Food Safely this Thanksgiving | site |


    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture press release: November 23, 2020) (Washington, D.C., November 23, 2020) – This week, Americans will enjoy a delicious meal on Thanksgiving Day with family and friends – either in person or virtually. Taking the necessary steps toward safe food handling and sanitation will help protect you and your loved ones this year. To make sure your Thanksgiving meal is prepared safely, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering food safety advice to reduce foodborne illness, including on Thanksgiving Day. “Our data shows that consumers can reduce their likelihood of foodborne illness by focusing on good hand hygiene and other food safety practices,” said Dr. Mindy Brashears, USDA’s Under Secretary for Food Safety. “As home chefs nationwide prepare their Thanksgiving meals, proper handwashi...
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  • USDA Opens Registration for the 2021 Agricultural Outlook Forum

    USDA Opens Registration for the 2021 Agricultural Outlook Forum

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Opens Registration for the 2021 Agricultural Outlook Forum| site |


    The 2021 Forum Will Be Virtual and Registration Is Free


    (Information contained in U.S. Department of Agriculture press release: November 18, 2020)

    Washington, D.C., November 18, 2020 - - Registration is now open for the 97th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum (AOF), the largest annual meeting and premiere event of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The two-day Forum will take place on Feb. 18-19, 2021. Due to COVID-19 and current restrictions on large gatherings in the Washington, D.C. area, USDA will hold the 2021 Forum virtually for the first time and registration will be free for the event.

    The 2021 Forum, themed “Building on Innovation: A Pathway to Resilience,” builds on USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda, launched earlier this year to align USDA’s resources, programs, and research toward the goal of increasing
    ...
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  • Department of Agriculture says USDA Forest Service Announces Key Changes to NEPA Procedures

    U.S. Department of Agriculture: USDA Forest Service Announces Key Changes to NEPA Procedures | site |


    (November 18, 2020) - - On November 18, 2020 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the following information: WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 2020 – The USDA Forest Service today announced the publication of a final rule implementing key changes to its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations. The changes include new tools and flexibilities to tackle critical land management challenges as part of a broader agency effort to better serve the American people through timely, high-quality management decisions affecting infrastructure, permitting and restoration of natural resources on their national forests and grasslands. “These changes will ensure we do the appropriate level of environmental analysis to fit the work, locations and conditions,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “The new categorical exclusions will ultimately improve...
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  • USDA Announces Scholars Programs for Students at Historically Black and Tribal Land-Grant Colleges and Universities

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Scholars Programs for Students at Historically Black and Tribal Land-Grant Colleges and Universities | site |


    (November 12, 2020) - - On November 12, 2020 the U.S. Department of Agriculture published the following information:

    (Washington, D.C., November 12, 2020) – Twenty-first century agriculture involves cutting-edge science, technology, business management – and you. Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announces scholarships to help you build a career path in agriculture, food, natural resource sciences, and many more agriculture-related subjects.

    The USDA/1890 National Scholars Program was established in 1992 in partnership between USDA and 19 historically black universities that were established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890. The program provides full tuition, fees, books, room and board, and a summer internship to students pursuing degrees in agriculture, food, natural resource
    ...
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  • USDA and EPA Welcome Two New Members as U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions

    USDA and EPA Welcome Two New Members as U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions

    USDA, EPA Welcome Two New Members as U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions | site |



    Meijer, UNFI commit to reduce food loss and waste in their operations


    (November 12, 2020) - - The U.S. Department of Agriculture published (today) the following information:

    (WASHINGTON, D.C., November 12, 2020) — Today, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the addition of Meijer, an American supercenter chain throughout the Midwest, and UNFI, a North America Food wholesaler, to the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions. Champions are U.S. businesses and organizations that pledge to reduce food loss and waste in their own operations by 50 percent by the year 2030. The commitment and action of these businesses will help the U.S. move closer to the national goal, protect and save valuable resources, and improve food system efficiencies
    ...
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  • Trump Administration Returns Management and Protection of Gray Wolves to States and Tribes Following Successful Recovery Efforts

    Trump Administration Returns Management and Protection of Gray Wolves to States and Tribes Following Successful Recovery Efforts| site |


    (October 29, 2020) - - On October 29, 2020 the U.S. Department of the Interior published the following information:

    BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - More than 45 years after gray wolves were first listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Trump Administration and its many conservation partners are announcing the successful recovery of the gray wolf and its delisting from the ESA. U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt was at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge to announce that state and tribal wildlife management agency professionals will resume responsibility for sustainable management and protection of delisted gray wolves in states with gray wolf populations, while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) monitors the species for five years to ensure the continued success of the species.
    ...
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  • USDA Announces OneUSDA Internship Program for Summer 2021

    USDA Announces OneUSDA Internship Program for Summer 2021

    U.S. Department of Agriculture announces OneUSDA Internship Program for Summer 2021 | site |


    (November 9, 2020) - - On November 9, 2020 the U.S. Department of Agriculture published the following information: (Washington, D.C., November 9, 2020) – Get the first leg up on your career ladder with a summer 2021 internship at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). As part of the federal Pathways Program, USDA offers paid federal internships at USDA agencies and offices around the country. USDA is hiring interns from high school to graduate level for a broad range of occupational fields, from veterinary science, to engineering, to natural resources management, and finance. This developmental program gives students experience to enhance their educational goals and shape their career choices. USDA internships involve on-the-job experience, mentorship, and training tailored to the student’s education, experience, and interests. The program is available to student...
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  • U.S. Agriculture Secretary Perdue Statement on DOL H2A Wage Rule

    U.S. Agriculture Secretary Perdue Statement on DOL H2A Wage Rule

    U.S. Agriculture Secretary Perdue Statement on DOL's H2A Wage Rule | site |



    (November 2, 2020) - - Today, November 2, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the following information:

    (Washington, D.C., November 2, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today praised the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new H2A Wage Rule, which delivers on President Trump’s promise to stabilize farm labor costs and reform the H-2A wage rate. “This rule shows once again President Trump’s commitment to America’s farmers by delivering lower costs when they need it the most,” said Secretary Perdue. “Over the past several years farm wages have increased at a higher pace than other industries, which is why this DOL rule could not come at a better time. This is an example of good government that will ensure greater stability for farmers and help them make long term business decisions rather than facing uncertainty year after ...
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