Blog

Last Modified: 03/21/2012
  • All of us rely on nature’s benefits during our daily routines, but few stop to think about how we can sustain those benefits over time. Luckily, there are economists, resource managers, and policymakers working on tools to help manage resources—and environmental markets are one of those tools. Environmental markets allow people who use ecosystem services to pay those who provide environmental benefits. In some cases, the environmental stewards who can provide benefits (like clean water, air and habitats) are farmers. While there is promise in environmental markets, there are a lot of kinks to...
  • Within a week after the government opened from a 16-day shutdown in October, Farm Service Agency employees were able to quickly issue payments to more than 1 million farmers and ranchers. Secretary Vilsack said that he was “proud of the commitment by USDA employees” to ensure these conservation and safety net funds reached America’s farmers and ranchers. “USDA assures rural America that it remains a priority, and these actions by FSA staff serve as yet another reminder that America needs passage of a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible to continue support of producers.” After...
  • Digital maps available for your smart phone will help visitors find their way around U.S. Forest Service forests and grasslands. Scaling a mountain or hiking across a meadow is a peaceful, exhilarating exploration – unless you don’t know which fork in the trail to take. It used to mean taking out a folded map, holding onto it tightly so the wind won’t blow it away or trying to shelter it from raindrops. Now dealing with a map may be faster, easier and more convenient by opening your smart device and using a U.S. Forest Service digital map you downloaded for free or for a nominal fee. “In...
  • Larry Romanelli, with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Ogema (left) and NRCS Michigan State Conservationist Garry Lee (right) pose with artist Shirley M. Brauker, the winner of the agency’s Native American Heritage Month poster contest. NRCS photo. When the Anishinaabe people migrated from the Atlantic Ocean coast to Michigan centuries ago, they were in search of a place where “food grows on the water,” according to their tribe’s legend. Their quest ended when they found wild rice, thriving in shallow waters in the Great Lakes region. The wild rice, or manoomin, served as a staple of...
  • An infographic looking at how food hubs are building businesses and sustaining communities. Click to view a larger version. Food is a great equalizer.  Whether sharing it with loved ones around our holiday table or worrying about how we’re going to fit lunch in to our busy work days–food is something we all have in common.  But we don’t always think about the path it takes to get to our plates or even the store shelves.  And while there are many different ways it gets to us, we’re seeing food hubs play an increasingly important role for everyone along the way–farmer to corner store, chef to...
  • USDA Farm to School grants help get healthy, local foods into schools and teach children where their food comes from. (Photo Credit: Katy Campbell) I just spent the morning calling people who had applied to receive a USDA Farm to School grant. They were fun calls to make as I was letting this year’s awardees know their project had been selected for funding. Today USDA announced awards for 71 projects spanning 42 states and the District of Columbia that support USDA’s efforts to connect school cafeterias with local farmers and ranchers through its Farm to School program. USDA Farm to School...
  • Prince Albert II of Monaco poses in between Wapiti District Ranger Sue Stresser and Shoshone Forest Supervisor Joe Alexander. (U.S. Forest Service/ Kristie Salzmann) On a beautiful fall day on America’s first national forest, Prince Albert II of Monaco retraced the steps his great-grandfather took 100 years ago through the wilderness of the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming. Prince Albert II helped celebrate on Sept. 20 the centennial anniversary of the hunting trip his great-grandfather, Prince Albert I, took with now-historic figures William “Buffalo Bill” Cody and Abraham Archibald...
  • The Bremmer family has raised cattle and grown crops in northwestern Illinois for more than a century. Over time, they’ve found ways to improve their operation — the latest improvement is the use of cover crops. Brothers Ross and Chad Bremmer, fourth-generation farmers, are already seeing the benefits of cover crops — healthy food for their cattle, less erosion and an increase in the soil’s water-storage capacity. The brothers worked with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to find the best cover crops for their land. They were looking for a cover crop that helped the soil while...
  • A female Aedes aegypti mosquito feeds on an artificial membrane loaded with a blood substitute as part of tests that have shown that natural compounds found in breadfruit flowers are highly effective at repelling biting bugs. (Photo by Peggy Greb, ARS) 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. Breadfruit has been a hit in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia for more than 3,000 years because of its many pluses:  This tropical staple food crop is plentiful and...
  • Uh, oh! El Día de Acción de Gracias está a la vuelta de la esquina. Usted compró un pavo en venta el año pasado y lo congeló. Usted sabe que está inocuo debido a que recientemente leyó que era seguro indefinidamente y que mantiene su calidad por un año. Pero lo que usted no sabe es cómo y dónde descongelarlo. Primero que todo, el pavo no debe ser descongelado en las encimeras o en agua caliente. Estos métodos NO son considerados seguros y pudieran provocar enfermedades transmitidas por los alimentos. En adición, nunca descongele el pavo en el garaje, sótano, auto, en exteriores o en el balcón...

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