Karla Peiffer, USDA Rural Development Community Programs director in Iowa, has received a 2013 Secretary's Honor Award. The awards program honors USDA employees who have taken the commitment to public service to a "new level," and Peiffer was one of just eight individual USDA employees nationwide to receive an award. Peiffer for the last four years has worked with Iowa's Xenia Rural Water District to improve operations and facilitate debt restructuring, an effort that prevented water rate increases for thousands of rural Iowans. (Read more about that process here.) A team from USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Ames was also recognized with a 2013 Secretary's Award for Personal and Professional Excellence for its work implementing whole genome sequencing to increase the efficiency of the bovine tuberculosis eradication program.