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The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Blog
Updated: 3 hours 46 min ago

On the Road to the School Nutrition Association Conference

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 7:00pm
Next week, I, along with dozens of staff from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will have the pleasure of joining thousands of school nutrition professionals, members of the public health community, and food industry representatives in Boston at the 68th Annual National Conference of the School Nutrition Association (SNA).  This annual event provides an opportunity [...]

Secretary’s Column: USDA, Partners Help Fill the Summer Meal Gap

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 7:00pm
This summer, USDA is highlighting partnerships to invest in the future of rural America. Our partners work with us year after year to leverage resources and grow economic opportunities. They are the key to ensuring our rural communities thrive. Follow more of our stories on Twitter at @USDA or using the hashtag #RuralPartners. In the [...]

On the Front Lines for Our Children

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 12:00pm
Cross-posted from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network blog: When you think about organizations engaged in the War on Cancer, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) may not be the first that comes to mind. Yet, we are on the front lines of the battle to reduce obesity, a known risk factor for [...]

Delivering Along the Food Value Chain

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 3:00pm
A recent trip back home to Louisiana sparked memories of a simpler time when old trucks full of fresh produce rumbled down dusty roads to deliver goods to the local market. The 2012 Census of Agriculture tells us that 150,000 farmers and ranchers nationwide are now selling to local retailers and that 50,000 of them [...]

Give Students What They Are Asking For: Healthier Foods, Healthier Lives

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 3:00pm
Today’s guest post comes from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an organization that aptly describes itself as “a catalyst for children’s health.” While the Alliance has been active in many settings, we at USDA particularly appreciate the dedication they have shown to improving school nutrition.  In this post, Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO, describes some [...]

USDA Joins National Hispanic Medical Association to Discuss Health in Latino Communities

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 7:00pm
As schools across the country were winding down for the summer, the conversation around school meals standards was heating up.  School districts, parents, community members and Congressional representatives have engaged in an important discussion about the role of the new standards in our nation’s National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs.  Created to boost the [...]

Missouri Makes Summer Meals Work!

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 11:00pm
This spring I had the opportunity to visit several summer feeding sites to witness the efforts of local organizations and states agencies so instrumental in the success of USDA’s Summer Food Service Program.  I had the chance to join our essential partners during summer meals kick-off events throughout the state of Missouri.  It was especially [...]

Celebrating the Blueberry – A Fruit and an Industry That Really Packs a Punch

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 6:00pm
Blueberries are often highly sought after because of their long list of health benefits and their sweet taste. Whether purchased fresh, frozen, or pureed, the blueberry has long been a staple in the diets of many people. Every July, the entire nation celebrates Blueberry Month by coming up with creative recipes and other unique ways [...]

Education Support Professionals – Partners in School Nutrition

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 2:00pm
The USDA school meals programs serve well over 30 million students per day, nationwide.  We rely on our partners in the education realm to help us ensure that these programs—not only programs of great magnitude, but also of great public health importance—are implemented appropriately so that children are healthy and ready to learn.  This week’s [...]

Partnering with Retailers and Food Manufacturers to Make Healthy Choices Easier

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 6:00pm
This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio. Achieving a good diet requires access to nutritious food, but it also requires good choices from among the many thousands of products available [...]

What’s On Your Plate This Fourth of July?

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 11:00am
Happy Birthday America! It’s the Fourth of July and time to celebrate American life. What do you have planned? A family reunion at the beach? A backyard barbeque with family and friends? A picnic in the park? Or a few friends on your patio? Here are some quick and easy tips to make your family’s [...]

Opening New Markets, Expanding Menu Choices

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 8:00pm
America’s ag promotion groups work to educate consumers, as well as research and promote our nation’s agricultural products. Whether potatoes or pork, mangos or cotton, soybeans or almonds, ag promotion groups help consumers make informed choices and learn about new products. Although all ag promotion groups do have a similar goal and purpose – to [...]

SNAP Achieves Record High Payment Accuracy Rate for Seventh Year in a Row

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 8:00pm
Each year, as required by the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, USDA issues the payment accuracy rate for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) nationally and state by state. I’m happy to announce that the fiscal year (FY) 2013 SNAP payment accuracy rate is an impressive 96.8 percent.  This is an all-time high, and is [...]

The Food Bank-Food Hub Connection: A ‘Win-Win’ for Local Economies

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 8:45pm
Across the country, food banks are committed to providing healthy food for those in need. Food banks also have a vested interest in building stronger local economies and creating additional opportunities for the communities they serve. There are currently more than 200 food banks in the country, with more than 63,000 affiliated agencies like (food [...]

Secretary’s Column: Local Markets, Local Growth

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 5:29pm
Many consumers want to “buy local” and support their local economy with their purchases. When local food marketing opportunities exist for rural producers, they cause ripple effects throughout the rural economy. The 2012 Census of Agriculture results indicate that nearly 150,000 farmers and ranchers nationwide are selling their products directly to consumers, and 50,000 are [...]

June is Dairy Month – a Time to Say Thanks to America’s Milk Producers

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 11:26am
The next time you eat a cheese sandwich, drink a glass of cold milk, have an ice cream cone or a cup of yogurt on a walk through the park, thank the dairy farmers who made it all possible.  Now is a great time to do that because June is Dairy Month. The dairy industry [...]

The Win-Win Situation of Selling Food to USDA

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 5:23pm
USDA’s purchase programs were created to support our nation’s farmers through the purchase of domestic products and to increase Americans’ access to nutritious food.  Many businesses who sell to USDA find that the programs also create other opportunities for growth. Companies like Wawona Frozen Foods have used the Commodity Purchase Program, administered by USDA’s Agricultural [...]

Let’s Move Outside All Summer Long

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 11:22am
Summer is fast approaching but packing up the kids to head outside could be daunting, especially for those whose experience with outdoor activities is limited. But don’t worry. With a little help and some simple planning, the whole crew will want to unplug and find activities that will invigorate not just the body, but the [...]

Creating a Healthier Next Generation and Supporting a Healthier School Day

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 11:22am
Thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, students across America are being served meals with more fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy.  Parents can send their kids to school knowing that the healthy habits they teach at home are being reinforced at school, with breakfast and lunch menus that provide more [...]

The Healthy Eating Index: How does America Score?

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 5:21pm
This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio. Have you ever heard of the Healthy Eating Index? The Healthy Eating Index (HEI) measures the quality of Americans’ food choices. At USDA [...]

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