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Last Modified: 03/21/2012
  • Bartenfelder Farms at Baltimore’s Farmers Market and Bazaar in Baltimore, MD. Vendors now accept Baltimore Farmers Market and Bazaar tokens, thanks to the new wireless connected electronic card reader that accepts the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Nutrition Service’s (FNS) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards, Baltimore Bucks, and debit cards. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung. What Agriculture Under Secretary Concannon calls a win-win situation, is taking root in rural Alabama with help from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service and...
  • Over the first week of August, local markets across the country celebrated National Farmers Market Week. Farmers markets are an important part of America’s diverse agriculture sector, providing unique benefits to communities across our nation. They give Americans a chance to learn about agriculture by meeting some of the people who grow and raise our food. They provide valuable marketing opportunities for small and beginning farmers – many of whom scale up to larger regional markets and other institutions.  And they help expand access to locally-grown foods that are in greater demand than...
  • Nelson Foster inspecting cages used to test the effectiveness of different baits used to suppress grasshoppers. Grasshoppers and Mormon crickets of the West beware: R. Nelson Foster, of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, is roaming the rangelands looking for you, and when he finds you, he’ll stop your feeding frenzy right in its tracks. Foster serves as Assistant Laboratory Director at APHIS’ Center for Plant Health Science and Technology in Phoenix, Arizona. For over forty years, he has worked in the lab and in the field conducting groundbreaking research mainly on grasshoppers...
  • Veterans returning home from overseas tours-of-duty face many challenges as they readjust to civilian life, and one of the most daunting ones is finding employment. Last year, a new program — the Soldiers to Civilians (S2C) Project — was started in rural west Tennessee to give local veterans the training and skills they need to enter into the field of precision agriculture. Thanks to grant assistance from the Department of Agriculture (USDA), project leaders will now be able to expand the S2C program beyond west Tennessee to help even more veterans living in the rural delta areas of east...
  • Participants get an up-close look at one of the critters before it’s released. (Photo courtesy of El Valor) The Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie offers lots of unique educational experiences and opportunities to get involved throughout the year – through public tours, volunteer days and special events. As part of the “Midewin for Kids” activity series, kids are invited to the prairie for an exploratory hike with a Forest Service environmental education specialist. Participants learn about some of the most beautiful and misunderstood critters in the natural world. With net in hand, kids can...
  • Ben Hofer, Rockport Colony Secretary, with a Kangal. NWRC researchers are studying the potential of these livestock guard animals for use where large predators include wolves and grizzly bear. The Kangal breed is gentle and trustworthy with their people or animals, but if the need arises they can become very protective. (USDA Photo by Under Secretary Edward Avalos) USDA plays an important and vital role in supporting rural communities throughout the country.  On my recent trip to Montana, I saw firsthand how the work, services and programs provided by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection...
  • In the largest survey of food security and food spending among SNAP participants to date, researchers from Mathematica Policy Research found that participation in SNAP for about six months was associated with a significant decrease in food insecurity. The study was funded through a contract from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. Infographic credit: Mathematica Policy Research. Click to enlarge image. USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is America’s first line of defense against hunger and new research released today makes it clear that SNAP improves food security,...
  • Kentucky State Director for Rural Development, Thomas Fern, (grey suit) presents keys for new van to the Magoffin County Judge Executive and the Magoffin County Disabled American Veterans organization. USDA photo. Parade formations, 21-gun salutes, solemn flag presentations are all an important part of the duties carried out by our nation’s veterans and their organizations as they help us remember the fallen and show support for our current members of America’s military forces. Each have engrained in their memory the wars or battles fought to keep our nation free and to ensure we live under...
  • Farmers markets are a perfect venue for teaching children about the food they eat. Initiatives across the country, like this People’s Garden event at the USDA Farmers Market, encourage the development of healthy eating habits at an early age. “We become what we repeatedly do.” In his Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens Sean Covey used these words to help young students preparing to attend college and join the workforce, but they also apply to how children learn to eat healthy. Through innovative programs like the Power of Produce (POP) Club, farmers markets across the country are...
  • CDC Study finds Obesity rates among low-income preschoolers declining in many states. Credit: CDC Here at USDA, we’re on a mission to help all of our nation’s children have the best possible chance at a healthy life.  So, we’re very encouraged by some recent news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):  the rate of obesity among low-income pre-school children appears to be declining for the first time in decades. The declining rates show that our collective efforts are helping to gain ground on childhood obesity, particularly among some of the more vulnerable populations...

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