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Meeting the Nutritional Needs of the Nation’s Schoolchildren

Cross-posted from the Let’s Move! Blog:

Ensuring our nation’s schoolchildren have the necessary nutrition to learn, grow, and thrive is commitment that we take very seriously at U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). On the heels of the historic passage of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, USDA has now released a proposed rule to enhance the quality of school meals by requiring more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk in our national school meals programs.  In addition to these healthy offerings, schools will have new standards to limit the levels of saturated fat, sodium, calories, and trans fats in those same meals.

As children now eat as many as two meals a day at school, it’s clear that the school food environment plays a more vital role in their health and welfare.  The science-based recommendations are, in fact, consistent with an Institute of Medicine report on improving the health of children. Read more »

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Art Contest Yields Beautiful Harvest

Steve Tava’s piece will be displayed in the Farm Service Agency Hawaii State Office in Honolulu.

As part of its approach to community outreach, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) American Samoa office sponsored a week-long effort to catalyze high school students and the public to think about pursuing a career in agriculture.

American Samoa consists of 7 islands and is 77 square miles, an area just slightly larger than Washington, D.C.  Due to the limited land area, traditional farming depends largely on “interspersed” farming of taro planted among banana crops, although local production is diversifying toward modern hydroponic operations. Read more »

Through the Recovery Act, an Oregon Business, Small Bank Find Opportunity and Protect Jobs

A few years ago, RAM Trucking was mainly a hauler of building materials—but everyone knows what happened to the housing market. Yet, RAM Trucking is still on the road and more resilient than ever.

To safely steer his company when the economy began to slide, President Dale Latimer applied a basic principle of driving in hazardous conditions:  When the weather gets rough, keep your tires inflated to the right pressure and make sure you’ve got enough tread.  In this case, getting enough tread meant restructuring the company’s financing and accessing working capital to position for opportunities beyond the construction arena. Read more »

Alaska’s Tribal Organizations Share Views with USDA

On January 10 and 11, 2011, USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations (OTR) visited Anchorage to conduct a consultation with Alaska Tribes on a wide range of subjects.

At the Consultation, OTR staff, and local and national agency officials met with representatives of Alaska’s Tribes for a discussion of programs and rules of four USDA agencies: Rural Development; Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Service; Farm Service Agency; and Natural Resource Conservation Service.  Through this process, USDA was provided with valuable local insight, comments and recommendations concerning delivery of the Department’s programs to Alaska’s Native people.  Much discussion related to the Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA) provision of the 2008 Farm Bill. Read more »