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Last Modified: 03/21/2012
  • 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 USDA’s rich science and research portfolio. 2013 is the International Year of Statistics. As part of this global event, every month this year USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will profile careers of individuals who are making significant contributions to improve agricultural statistics in the United States. Growing up in Texas, you’re never far removed from agriculture. Even though I grew up in Houston, my grandparents had a beef operation and I’ve...
  • In this video from Georgia Organics kids take a survey after tasting new foods. Right before the Academy Awards I race around trying to see all the films that have been nominated. And right about now, with Farm to School Month about to come to a close, I’m feeling the same way about trying to absorb all the great information being shared this month. As the USDA Farm to School Census shows, schools across the country are putting local foods on the school menu at breakfast, lunch and dinner; taking trips to the farm; integrating lessons about food and agriculture into the school’s curriculum;...
  • If you are a regular USDA blog reader, you’ve heard about the new Farm to School Census, which shows the national farm to school footprint down to the school district level.  With farm to school purchases topping $350 million across the country and over 38,000 schools nationwide participating in farm to school activities, local food is making marks in schools. But who produces all that local food?  How does the food make it from the farm to the lunch tray?  How are farmers and ranchers getting the support they need to take advantage of this, and other, blossoming local food market...
  • The bog turtle is one of America’s rarest, and NRCS and private landowners are working together to boost populations. Private landowners have voluntarily restored more than 3.5 million acres of habitat to help seven at-risk species, such as the prairie chicken and bog turtle. And their stories will be highlighted this fall by “This American Land,” a public television series. The new episode was released today (Oct. 28) and available on public TV stations across the United States. The segment, called “Prairie Chickens and Bog Turtles,” will feature fifth-generation Kansas rancher Roy Beeley...
  • Indiana bats, such as this one, are part of a monitoring program on the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. The bats are fitted with a radio transmitter and tracked to roosting locations throughout the life of the transmitter. (U.S. Forest Service) Synonymous with a superhero signal in the sky and silhouettes hanging upside down in a darkened cave, bats inspire a long-standing fascination, and with good reason: Bats are vital to healthy ecosystems and human economies world-wide. With Halloween upon us and many people believing bats are creepy, the U.S. Forest Service wants to raise...
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients will see their monthly benefits decrease beginning on November 1st. As USDA’s top official in charge of the program, I want to ensure that SNAP recipients know that this change is coming and understand what it means for you and your families. As you know, the amount of SNAP benefits each eligible household receives depends on many things, such as income, household size and expenses. In addition, SNAP households have been receiving an increased amount of benefits because of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), a...
  • Ancient Palauans feeding the giant child, Chuab. This painting is common on traditional meeting houses. Photo courtesy of NRCS. Imagine talking about soil management to 50 farmers from Palau with a collective 1,500 years of experience. The Ngetkip Community’s minister of community and cultural affairs requested me, a resource conservationist with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Palau, to talk about soil. These farmers mostly have no formal education or training. They still farm mostly with hand tools and as their parents and grandparents taught them. They know what to do,...
  • Today we posted the first edition of a new video feature at USDA. Each week we’ll share a rundown of some of the key announcements, activities, and current events related to our work at USDA, giving you the highlights. Tune in next week, and let us know what you think of the first edition – we’d love your feedback! This week at USDA saw the return of all Department employees, and one of the big challenges on the agenda was how to help blizzard-stricken ranchers and farmers in South Dakota. Under Secretary Michael Scuse got a first hand look and gave producers hope for assistance. Meanwhile...
  • Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden meets with USDA employees in Minnesota. Yesterday, I visited with USDA employees in Minnesota to tell them how much their work means to the Secretary, myself and the American people. USDA employees across the country and around the world do critical work that impacts millions of lives and I could not be prouder. Folks often ask me why I work in the federal government and my answer always is: it’s how I serve. Public service is at the core of our nation’s principles. Our founding fathers performed a public service when they laid the foundation for the United...
  • Michael Scuse, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, listens to those impacted by the Atlas Blizzard in South Dakota. Farmers and ranchers know many variables are sometimes not in their hands, especially when it comes to weather.  That’s why USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Senator Tim Johnson asked me to travel to South Dakota this week to see firsthand the widespread destruction to livestock in the wake of the Atlas Blizzard, and to consult with affected producers on how USDA can help right now – - despite two years of Congressional inaction on the Food, Farm and...

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