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Last Modified: 03/21/2012
  • Adam McCurry, Agricultural Technician for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Yancey County conducts a lesson about local apple varieties before taking students outside to plant an apple tree at Bald Creek Elementary School in Burnsville, North Carolina. (Photo courtesy of Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, Asheville, North Carolina) Kids are headed back to school and so are county Extension agents. As schools continue to teach kids where their food comes from and bring local and regional products into the school cafeteria, one group they may want to partner with on their farm...
  • At USDA, we remain committed to sharing with all Americans the need for a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill to keep up momentum in American agriculture, grow the rural economy and create jobs.  And today, we launched Instagram, @USDAgov, to highlight photos and videos from around the country that bring into your home the dynamic beauty of rural America and the hard work of people who live there. But that’s not all – we want to hear from you! Secretary Vilsack kicked us off by asking you to share your stories on what the Food, Farm and Jobs Bill means to YOU and your...
  • Today, Deschutes Brewery operates a large-scale production facility pictured here in Bend, Oregon, along with brew pubs in Bend and Portland. (Photo used with permission) When it comes to beer, Oregon is known far and wide as a hub of innovation and artistry or, as we locals call it, “beer-topia.” Since the 1980s, small breweries have been popping up across Oregon thanks to the state’s pristine water, abundant hops and grain fields, forward-thinking craft brewing policies, and talented foodies. In the process, Oregon’s brewers have tapped a powerful economic engine. According to the Oregon...
  • Cross posted from Food Safety News: For the past 15 years, USDA conducted a pilot project to inform how we modernize our inspection process – all to ensure that meat and poultry is safe to eat. Today, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), released a report on the project, known as the HACCP-Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP), and how FSIS has relied on it to propose a modernized approach to inspecting poultry. While an initial scan of the press coverage may lead you to believe that GAO discredits this proposal, that is not the case. GAO gave HIMP a thorough review and made...
  • A healthy alfalfa field in the Santo Domingo Pueblo as a result of improved soil health and a new irrigation system. Just off the Rio Grande River, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, N.M., sits Santo Domingo Pueblo, a community surrounded by fields of alfalfa, oats and Sudan grass for horses and cattle, and small gardens filled with corn and green chili peppers. But this green idyll is in danger of drying out. Over the past few years, New Mexico has been struggling through one of the worst droughts in recorded history. Little rain and a dwindling river have threatened many of the Pueblo’s...
  • ARS scientists and NIFA-funded researchers work to improve the tools and processes to develop better grapes and grapevines. Their discoveries will make it easier for grape breeders to identify vines that combine the most desirable traits. 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. When it comes to grapes, there’s a New World-Old World dichotomy. Grapevines originating in the Americas (e.g. Vitis labrusca, Vitis riparia) can resist pests and diseases, but they...
  • Ben Bellman is a University of Colorado student who interned at USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service through the Joint Program in Statistical Methodology during the 2013 summer. 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. 2013 is the International Year of Statistics. As part of this global event, every month this year USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will profile careers of individuals who are making significant contributions to improve...
  • A Red-cockaded woodpecker flies from its natural nest cavity on the Francis Marion National Forest in September, 2009. (Martjan Lammertink/U.S. Forest Service) Many stories emerging from the Francis Marion National Forest share a common genesis in Hurricane Hugo, the massive storm estimated to have knocked down nearly a billion board feet of timber on the coastal South Carolina forest in 1989. But in a comeback success story, there was no knock-out for the red-cockaded woodpecker. Before Hugo, the Francis Marion had the densest, second-largest, and only known, naturally increasing...
  • Each year on Labor Day, we take time to reflect on the productivity of America’s workers and our responsibility as a nation to support their efforts. This year, as we gather to celebrate, Congress has a timely opportunity to create an even stronger American workforce for generations to come. They can do so by fixing America’s broken immigration system. The broad impacts that immigration reform would have for our economy are well documented. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and Social Security Office of the Chief Actuary, the bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill...
  • Family of four reading on the grass in front of a tent with tree in background. Photo courtesy of ThinkStock. What better way to spend a three-day weekend than outside with friends and family? America’s national forests and grasslands offer a wide variety of recreation opportunities ranging from backcountry camping far from civilization to developed picnic areas with all the facilities you need for the perfect end-of-summer barbecue with family and friends. Of course, there are still fires burning in some areas of the country so check the status of your destination before heading out. Safety...

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