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Last Modified: 03/21/2012
  • Ensuring disadvantaged children have enough to eat during the summer is a top priority for USDA. Historically Black Colleges and Universities can play a critical role in helping us achieve this goal. Although about 21 million children nationwide receive free and reduced-priced meals through our National School Lunch Program, only about 3.5 million meals are served through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) on a typical day. Closing this gap and ensuring that disadvantaged children do not go hungry during the summer months is a goal that USDA can only achieve through work with our...
  • With each swing of the ax and cut of the chainsaw, David Pi was clearing the way for his dream of one day having what he calls a “ranching place.” In 2009, he bought 39 heavily wooded acres about an hour east of Houston that he envisioned opening up into pastures for the cattle he dreamed of owning one day. “I always loved the outdoors and livestock,” says Pi, who lives in Houston and is a project manager for an oil and gas company. During this time, his quest for knowledge about growing forages and raising cattle took him to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo’s Ranching and Wildlife Expo...
  • Fresh, local Louisiana produce, like this will soon be available at the new farmers market in Harrisonburg, thanks to a Community Facilities Grant from USDA. Photo by Karen Lawson, USDA. The Village of Harrisonburg, Louisiana, the 750-person seat of Catahoula Parish, will soon provide a centralized location for farmers to sell their fresh, healthy produce to its citizens and others in the surrounding area.  The Village received funding through USDA’s Community Facility grant program in order to provide a location for a farmer’s market in their town. This farmers market project will provide...
  • My mom raised five kids, taught high school chemistry for 15 years and then retired back to the family farm in 1986. Her new life on the farm depended on the Salisbury, MD farmers market where she sold daylilies.  The farmers market, just one of 8,000 or more markets listed in USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory, gave her the opportunity she needed to start her own business. Each Saturday she loaded up her station wagon with plants and drove into town, displaying the lilies by color.  When she wanted to expand her plant offerings, my brother built her a small greenhouse.  She became...
  • This post is part of the Science Today feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio. The average consumer might not think about it, but for decades, USDA plant breeding research has been producing varieties that have been helping feed the world and preserve the environment. We know that you look for the plumpest, juiciest strawberries at your neighborhood market, so USDA plant breeding scientists worked to find the genes to make them taste even better.  And to help farmers in Northern climates produce...
  • U.S. Forest Service Southern Region Endangered Species Specialist Dennis Krusac talks pollination with Mary Kalafut, her son Michael (left) and Edward Lynch at Ford Elementary School’s recent Evening in the Garden event. In Acworth, Ga., children at Ford Elementary School live almost every child’s dream – outdoor classrooms and science labs in a butterfly garden. The school was selected as one of 64 U.S. Department of Education’s National Green Ribbon Schools for 2013. The department’s recognition program honors schools that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs;...
  • An invasive ALB perched on a branch. August is "Tree Check Month" when adult ALB like this one can be easily spotted on or around hardwood trees. Photo by R. Anson Eaglin. From the moment an Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) infests a tree, there is no cure. No amount of treatments will drive this deadly pest from the comfort of America’s heartwood, leaving thousands of trees dead and dying in the northeastern U.S.  However, as bleak as this may sound, there is a way to stop this beetle, but we need your help.  The American public could be one of the ALB’s greatest opponents, and in stopping the...
  • Acting Deputy Agriculture Secretary Michael Scuse (center) talks to reporters after announcing USDA Grant funding to help Ottawa, Illinois refurbish its downtown. Scuse said it is important to the future of rural America to get a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill passed as soon as possible. USDA photo. Anyone that is familiar with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) knows of the important role that our local delivery system plays throughout the country. Farmers and residents can visit the USDA Service Center in their area to receive localized assistance. The Farm Service...
  • Click to enlarge image. Farmers markets have become a critical ingredient to our nation’s economy, food systems, and communities. Connecting rural to urban, farmer to consumer, and fresh ingredients to our diets, farmers markets are becoming economic and community centerpieces in cities and towns across the U.S. Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to kick off National Farmers Market Week at a wonderfully diverse and thriving market—the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace in Washington, DC.  Columbia Heights represents what I envision many farmers markets are like– a market with a deep...
  • NRCS Soil Scientist Roger Windhorn shows participants the differences in soil layers and what makes a healthy soil. A recent tour in Livingston, Ill. showcased the successes a powerful partnership has had in the Indian Creek Watershed. The 6th Annual Conservation in Action Tour was organized by the Conservation Technology Information Center to highlight community efforts in the watershed taking place under the auspices of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative. Through the initiative, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (...

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