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  • 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. Food ties all of humanity together, and making sure there is enough to go around while conserving our natural resources is critical to USDA’s mission. Our researchers think about how to sustainably produce greater quantities of safe and nutritious food every single day. Our in-house science agency, the Agricultural Research Service, has labs across the country that work on just those problems, while our National...
  • The 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree shimmers like a thousand stars after a lighting ceremony on the west lawn of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Forest Service/Robert H. Westover) A crown jewel of American Christmas trees lit the night sky Dec. 3 as thousands of lights burst around the 88-foot-tall 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree. A momentary hush of silent awe overcame the crowd gathered on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol to witness the ceremony that has origins dating back to 1964. An eight-point star shimmered at the top of the 79-year-old Englemann spruce harvested from the...
  • Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park, California (USDA-NRCS photo by Ron Nichols). 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. An award-winning watershed assessment tool, the Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment (AGWA), was deployed to assess potential Rim Fire threats in Yosemite National Park in California.  The park experienced a devastating fire that began on August 17, 2013, and took several months to contain. The fire burned more than 400 square...
  • NRCS joins others to celebrate World Soil Day on Dec. 5. In the minds of many, a freshly tilled field is picturesque – clean and ready for the next planting. But according to a soil health expert, what looks good to the eye, isn’t always good for the soil – or a farmer’s bottom line. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is celebrating World Soil Day on Thursday, Dec. 5 to share the importance of healthy soils and how farmers and ranchers can help care for it through conservation practices like no-till. When soil is heavily tilled, the stalks from the previous crop are chopped, and...
  • Although birch trees can’t literally walk, warming temperatures are causing a gradual migration of these and other tree and plant species to northern or higher elevation climates. USDA photo. With large areas of our planet heating up because of climate change, some trees (and plants) are pulling up roots and heading north, to higher elevations and to cooling climes—well, sort of. A U.S. Forest Service-led study suggests there are a few dozen tree species in the eastern U.S. that are moving north at an unexpected rate. “For some plants and trees, moving north is real and their only chance for...
  • USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service will host a Twitter chat on holiday meal budget tips on Wednesday, December 4, at 3 pm EST. Holiday celebrations are a great time to gather with family and friends.  But when you’re on a tight budget and pressed for time, it can be challenging to prepare a nutritious, timely meal for your loved ones.  With that in mind, USDA offers these healthy tips for creating low-cost meals your whole family will enjoy: Plan ahead. Starting early to plan your menu allows time for you to look for the sales and coupons that can lower cost of foods substantially...
  • Good risk management tools aid in conservation efforts and help protect beautiful views like this for the next generation. USDA photo. American producers know that crop insurance is a proven tool for managing the risks of farming.  But many folks may not be aware that it also promotes sound practices that encourage environmental sustainability. One of the primary reasons the Federal crop insurance program is good for conservation is that it requires producers to exercise good farming practices in order to be eligible for coverage.  Good farming practices vary from crop to crop and from...
  • U.S. Forest Service biologist Betsy Howell is highlighted in Faces of the Forest, a special feature by the agency. (Courtesy Betsy Howell) Betsy Howell has a professional and personal interest in conserving two diverse parts of U.S. history. As a wildlife biologist on the Olympic National Forest in Washington State she focuses part of her work on the history and future of the fisher, a member of the weasel family considered threatened and endangered. As a Civil War re-enactor and author, she works to preserve an integral part of our history as a nation. “As a district biologist, I survey for...
  • Through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program, NRCS helped tame a major erosion problem and save a West Columbia, S.C. home. NRCS photo. Heavy rains can cause flooding and erosion, and for homeowners in West Columbia, S.C. – a new cliff right below their bedroom. Two major rain events last spring and summer transformed Natchez Trail Road into a flowing river, ultimately creating a 35-foot cliff near a home. Sue and Bob Allen turned to the city and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service for help. “This is so exciting,” said Sue Allen, after the project was completed near her home...
  • Melissa’s Slow Cooker Stuffing The MyPlate Team continues to share “Makeover Monday” recipes each week on the USDA blog and the MyPlate Facebook page through January 6th. Looking back, my fondest childhood memories took place during the holidays. I remember the smell of food cooking from the oven, the sound of the football game on TV, and my grandmother’s attempts to shoo us from the kitchen. Today, I’m a part of a new generation – one that’s plagued with obesity and overwhelming chronic disease. So while our traditional family recipes hold a special place in our hearts, eating healthy...

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Last Modified: 03/21/2012