From the daily archives: Thursday, April 7, 2011

Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack announced the selection of 24 university students who were to attend the USDA’s 2011 Agricultural Outlook Forum through USDA’s Student Diversity Program. The USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum provides the Secretary of Agriculture, policy makers, producers, business and farm leaders, and government and industry analysts with the unique opportunity to convene, exchange ideas, and discuss timely issues at the forefront of America’s agriculture.  In an effort to increase the present and future diversity of participation in this forum, USDA created the Student Diversity Program to sponsor students nationwide and provide the opportunity for baccalaureate students to attend this prestigious event.  The finalists included students from Land-Grant, Hispanic Serving Institutions and American Association of State Colleges of Agriculture and Renewable Resources institutions who were the recipients of corporate and USDA sponsorship aimed at promoting the education of the next generation of agriculturalists. The Forum titled, “Today’s Strategies & Tomorrow’s Opportunities,” was USDA’s largest annual event and was held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Virginia.

Edgar Ortega, a senior studying International Business at SDSU-Imperial Valley was selected to participate in this world-renowned program.  Ortega had the opportunity to meet with the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.  This was the first-time that a student was representing SDSU-Imperial Valley Campus, mentioned Roberto Gonzalez Jr., the Regional Director of the USDA-HSINP Regional Office.  The 2-day event was an exciting opportunity to learn about the current trends in agribusiness, research, and policy surrounding agriculture today.

The USDAs World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB) and the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) hosted an introductory briefing for the participating students, featuring USDA Agencies that discussed internships, scholarships, and career opportunities.

Among the plenary speakers at USDA’s 2011 Agricultural Outlook Forum were former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Senator Debbie Stabenow, and Chief Economist Joseph Glauber.  The dinner speaker was C. Fred Bergsten, Director of the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics. Following the plenary, experts in 25 breakout sessions discussed a broad range of topical issues related to risk management, renewable energy, rural communities, foreign trade and domestic markets, conservation and the environment, nutrition and USDA Dietary Guidelines, land tenure issues, broadband, and sustainability. The Forum also featured the traditional USDA commodity supply and demand and food price outlook.

“USDA’s Outlook Forum gives these students the opportunity to hear leaders describe their vision for the direction of agriculture’s future,” said Vilsack. “USDA in turn welcomes the next generation to learn so they might excel to even greater heights in their careers,” he said.

For more information on the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum Student Diversity Program, please contact Antonio A. McLaren, Program Specialist, USDA-NIFA / (202) 720-5997.
To view the program, please visit


Dealing With Diabetes

As mentioned in the first-part of this three-part series, diabetes refers to the disease that affects how the body behaves towards glucose, or blood sugar.  Glucose is the body’s chief source of energy for the cells in our muscles and tissues and is the brain’s principal energy source. The disease diabetes results when too much glucose is present in your blood. Although diabetes can cause severe health problems, it doesn’t necessarily need to be that way.
Some types of diabetes are potentially reversible conditions, although chronic diabetes conditions cannot be completely eliminated. Living with diabetes day in and day out can be a very difficult and frustrating experience. Sometimes, even when you’ve done everything right, your blood sugar levels still may rise. It is important to stick with your diabetes management plan, and with time you will likely see positive differences. In this second article in the three-part series, we will discuss the role food and diet play in diabetes and diabetes management. We will also include several recipes that incorporate lots of vegetables and whole grains.
How Food & Diet Affect Your Life with Diabetes
One of the most important ways to regulate your diabetes is through maintaining a healthy and balanced approach to food, weight and dietary habits. Having diabetes doesn’t mean that you never to get have cake and eat it, too! Diabetes will change your relationship to food, but eating healthy doesn’t mean that you are only restricted to bland food that tastes like cardboard. Sugary or fatty foods aren’t banned – they are okay once in a while!
These recipes are healthy twists on favorites – granola and a vegetarian burger. To keep your glucose levels at a reasonable level, you will need to balance out your diet with ample fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Animal products, such as lard and red meat, and sweets should be consumed less. This is a great diet plan for the entire family.
4     cups rolled oats
¾    cup grated fresh coconut or macaroon coconut
½     teaspoon salt
¼    cup tahini, peanut/almond/cashew butter
1-1 ½    cup blended fruit (apple, pear, peach, mango, date, etc.)
Vanilla – as desired
¼    cup sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chopped raw nuts (walnut/almond/pecan,etc.)
Add dried fruit (raisins/prunes/cranberries/dates/etc) or blended fruit topping, as desired.
Mix the first three ingredients together.  Separately mix the second 2-3 ingredients together.  Combine the wet and dry ingredients.  Place in a shallow baking pan and bake slowly at 250o F. (120o C.) for about 1 ½ hours.  Stir every 15 minutes until it is dry and golden brown.
Add nuts or dried fruit after baking.
(Slightly modified from the recipe in “Flavors of Health” cookbook.)
Gilkes, Arna Robinson, and Lucia Gilkes Tiffany. Flavors of health: recipes that promote health and fight disease. Yankee Hill, Calif.: International Health Seminars, 2005. Print.
Oat waffles
½ cup almonds
½ cup  dates
1 ½ oats
1 ½ to 2 cups soymilk (can use rice or almond milk)
For multi-grain add grains and stir. Remember don’t blend!
Blueberries are also very good. Stir in at the end also.
Blend dates with almonds and milk first. Add oats and blend again until very smooth and thick (not too thick). You might need to use cooking spray if needed depending on your waffle maker (I prefer the Belgium waffle makers). Pour on heated waffle maker and bake according to waffle maker instructions. I check until there is just a little steam coming from the maker.
(Recipe found in the “Flavors of Health” cookbook.)
Gilkes, Arna Robinson, and Lucia Gilkes Tiffany. Flavors of health: recipes that promote health and fight disease. Yankee Hill, Calif.: International Health Seminars, 2005. Print.
Oat Burgers
1 ½ cup boiling water
3 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon oil, optional
1 large onion, chopped
Teaspoon each of oregano, basil and other favorite spices. Flavor to taste.
½ teaspoon sage or ground cumin
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw sunflower seeds or chopped nuts
Cook onion and garlic in oil, or water, until soft and add the boiling water. Add the rest of the ingredients, stirring well until it thickens. Allow the mixture to cool. Form the burgers to size. Bake on oiled cooking sheet at 375*F until nicely browned on bottom (about 15 minutes). Turn over and brown on the other side. Serve as a regular hamburger with tomatoes, lettuce, onions and other burger dressings.
(Recipe found in the “Flavors of Health” cookbook.)
Gilkes, Arna Robinson, and Lucia Gilkes Tiffany. Flavors of health: recipes that promote health and fight disease. Yankee Hill, Calif.: International Health Seminars, 2005. Print.

Diabetes Management & Support
Sometimes all it takes is just updating your favorite dishes:
*    Try skipping out on frying beans in lard (animal fat).
*    Make tortillas with olive oil and whole wheat flour instead of lard, butter or bleached white flour.
*    Try whole wheat pasta and make your own marinara sauce using fresh tomatoes and basil.
Good diabetes management can be a time-consuming, and sometimes overwhelming, process.  Ask your doctor to recommend a local diabetes support group, or call the American Diabetes Association at 800-DIABETES (800-342-2383) or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at 800-533-CURE (800-533-2873) for encouragement and assistance.
Community Cooking Classes
If you would like to participate in a community cooking class for diabetes management, please contact Giselle at (760) 562-0410 or Diabetes management is a very involved process and it is important to know that there is a lot of support available – even within the Imperial Valley.


CALEXICO, Calif. – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Calexico station interdicted a cocaine smuggling attempt worth an estimated $2.8 million at the Interstate 8 Checkpoint yesterday.


At approximately 9 a.m., agents working primary inspection encountered a white Ford F-250 pickup truck being driven by a 54-year-old Mexican man with a valid permanent resident card.  A cursory inspection was performed by a Border Patrol canine team resulting in a positive alert.  The driver was referred to secondary inspection where a thorough search resulted in the discovery of multiple packages of cocaine concealed within a non-factory compartment. The total weight of the packaged cocaine is approximately 88 pounds.


The driver, vehicle, and narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.


%d bloggers like this: