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Last Modified: 03/21/2012
  • Shane Kerner used an FSA Rural Youth Loan to purchase cattle, including her ‘best show’ heifer shown here. From that point, she built a thriving commercial herd. Shane Kerner applied for her first USDA Farm Service Agency Rural Youth Loan at age 14. Now, at age 20, she not only reached adulthood, but financial independence to grow what was once a 4-H project into a thriving cattle operation. “I never thought I would get as far as I am today with my cattle,” said Shane. “It is truly a privilege to have the opportunity to start at a young age and see the growth of your animals from seed stock ...
  • During the North American Indian Days Celebration in Montana, Under Secretary Ed Avalos (foreground), witnessed the pride and commitment of youth as they celebrated their cultural and agricultural roots. Agricultural producers in rural America represent less than 1% of the U.S. population, yet they produce almost 75% of the food we eat in this country and much of the food eaten throughout the world. Among that 1%, the average age of the American farmer is 57 years old—making it imperative for us to engage and encourage young people to pursue agricultural careers. Earlier this summer, while...
  • Ensuring the health and well-being of our nation’s children is a top priority for President Obama, and for all of us at USDA. We have focused in recent years on expanding access, affordability and availability of healthy foods for families and children. Recently, we learned of some promising new results in the fight against obesity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the rate of obesity among young, low-income children appears to be declining. In 19 states, the obesity rate among low-income preschoolers has dropped for the first time in decades – and in many other...
  • Volunteers distribute sack lunches to children at the New Freedom Park Summer Food Service Program site in Aurora, Colorado. The lunches are delivered in a school bus by an organization called Lunch Box Express. Colfax Avenue in Denver, Colorado, is known for its diversity of businesses and residents.  It is home to establishments ranging from upscale restaurants to motels housing low-income and homeless families. However, the upscale scene doesn’t tell the whole story. Within a two-mile stretch of Colfax, there are an estimated 15,000 children who qualify for free and reduced school meals...
  • School cafeterias across the country are at the heart of offering great nutrition for our kids. As we continue to combat childhood obesity in America, I am proud to say that this Back to School season our school cafeterias are at the heart of offering great nutrition for our kids. Students and schools are embracing the healthier lunches offered through the National School Lunch Program that, together with the healthier breakfasts offered through the School Breakfast Program beginning this school year and the recently announced “Smart Snacks in School” nutrition standards that kick in next...
  • The front entrance of Anderson Public School in rural Gallatin County, Montana. USDA photo. Back to school means a fun and exciting way to learn for students of Anderson Public School in rural Gallatin County, Montana. Using a Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant from USDA Rural Development, Anderson Public School and nine other rural schools in Montana installed the necessary equipment to connect their students to share and expand learning opportunities. Through the web-based portable videoconferencing equipment, the students in this community southwest of Bozeman, Montana have already...
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) annual report on the Expenditures on Children by Families has found that a middle-income family with a child born in 2012 can expect to spend about $241,080 for food, shelter, and other necessities associated with child rearing expenses over the next 17 years. How much will that little bundle of joy cost? According to USDA’s Cost of Raising a Child report, the answer for a child born in 2012 is $241,080 for food, shelter and other necessities over the next 17 years, which translates to about $301,970 when adjusted for inflation! Speaking as a...
  • Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, “competitive foods” in schools (a la carte and vending machine items) will be subject to new nutritional standards. 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. Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, “competitive foods” in schools will be subject to new nutritional standards. Competitive foods include à la carte cafeteria items like pizza, French fries, and ice cream, as well as snacks and beverages sold in vending...
  • Teachers and students from Adams-Friendship Middle School in Adams, Wisconsin are growing a beautiful People’s Garden in the interior courtyard of their school. Numerous excellent school garden programs have sprouted up across the country. School gardens often provide food that improves a child’s diet and nutrition, areas for learning, places for pleasure and recreation, as well as a continuing lesson in environmental stewardship and civic pride. But how do they take root? School gardens are sown with similar considerations but vary based upon its geographic location, funding, grade level...
  • MyPlate On Campus Ambassadors are encouraged to use resources, such as this 10 Tips handout, to promote healthy eating to their peers. The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion launched a new initiative this past March, MyPlate On Campus, to help spread healthy eating messages to young adults during their college years.  MyPlate On Campus is a unique program that encourages students to improve their own eating and physical activity habits as well as promote healthy eating to their peers. Most college students are emerging out on their own for the first time and perhaps vulnerable to...

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