People, Places, and...

USDA Celebrates 150 Years

On May 15, 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recognized the 150th anniversary of the founding of the department. On that date in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act of Congress establishing USDA.

Two and a half years after he established the department, in what would be his final annual message to Congress, Lincoln called USDA, “The People’s Department.” He knew the importance of agriculture to the country’s prosperity, particularly at a time when about half of all Americans lived on the farm. While today that number stands at about two percent, USDA’s values are still rooted in rural America.

As the country has changed and evolved over the years, USDA has worked on food, agriculture, economic development, science, natural resource conservation, renewable energy, and a host of other issues, all of which have affected the lives of generations of Americans. USDA has supported producers by providing a record number of farm loans, maintaining a strong safety net, and expanding markets to drive record exports. 

For more information on its history, its future, and events commemorating USDA’s 150th anniversary, visit

Long-time Georgia Engineer Dies

James L. Walsh Jr., senior engineer with Enterprise Innovation Institute and a long-time member of the Georgia Institute of Technology community, died in late March.

Walsh began his Georgia Tech career in 1979 when he joined the Engineering Experiment Station. He transferred to Enterprise Innovation Institute in 2000 and retired in 2010 after serving Georgia Tech for more than 30 years. After retirement, he continued to provide his subject matter expertise as a temporary employee, and was a registered professional engineer in the state of Georgia.

Render Welcomes Associate Editor

Effective with this June 2012 issue, Cheríe Behar will serve as Render magazine’s associate editor. She recently received her bachelor of science degree in psychology from Colorado State University–Fort Collins, where she was an undergraduate teaching assistant in research methods.

Behar takes over from Lisa Baran, who resigned after nearly 16 years in the position.

NCBA Names Chief Veterinarian

After spending 27 years practicing veterinary medicine, one year as a con-gressional fellow, and more than 11 years managing her family’s cow-calf operation, Kathy Simmons, DVM, started a new role in May as chief veterinarian for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). Simmons will focus on animal care and health regulatory issues both domestically and internationally.

Simmons studied biology and biochemistry at Virginia Tech University before earning a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech in 1984. Simmons practiced veterinary medicine at the Herndon-Reston Animal Hospital in Herndon, VA, for 27 years and also has an active role managing her family’s farm, S&S Farms, in West Virginia, where they raise registered Black Angus cattle.

Most recently, Simmons spent one year as a policy fellow on Capitol Hill for the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Veterinary Medical Association. She served in the office of US Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), focusing on health policy issues.

June 2012 RENDER | back