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As Exports to China Boom, U.S. Companies Showcase Their Wares at China Trade Show

SIAL China 2011 had a strong showing of U.S. exhibitors eager to tap in to China’s growing market for U.S. agricultural products.

SIAL China 2011 had a strong showing of U.S. exhibitors eager to tap in to China’s growing market for U.S. agricultural products.

In May, 67 U.S. companies descended on Shanghai for the largest food and beverage show in China—SIAL China.  U.S. exports are expanding all over the world, and China recently emerged as the United States’ top export market in 2010, and accounted for 20 percent of U.S. agricultural exports, valued at $15.1 billion in the first half of Fiscal Year 2011. Read more »

Rural Champion, Roland Arriola, Brings Grass Roots Change to Youth in South Texas

Roland Arriola, Founder & President, Texas Valley Communities Foundation, Texas

Roland Arriola, Founder & President, Texas Valley Communities Foundation, Texas

Cross posted from the White House Rural Champions of Change website:

After retiring from the University of Texas-Pan American in 2008, Dr. Arriola, like many retirees in America, wanted to continue to be of service to his community. He formed the Texas Valley Communities Foundation, a non-profit, 501(c)3 tax exempt organization designed to provide funding and support to grass roots organizations in South Texas seeking to develop and implement effective college readiness outreach programs for Hispanics and at-risk students. Through his efforts, and with the help of grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Motor Company Fund, Meadows Foundation, and the Houston Endowment, Dr. Arriola’s foundation and its partner grass roots organizations have created the Engaging Communities for College Readiness (ENCORE) program. Read more »

USDA’s Seed Regulatory and Testing Division Offers Services to Assist the Industry

The Federal Seed Act (FSA) is a truth-in–labeling law that regulates the interstate shipment of agricultural and vegetable seed.  The FSA is enforced with the aid of cooperative agreements between the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and each of the fifty state departments of agriculture.  Enforcement of the FSA is one of the responsibilities of the AMS Seed Regulatory and Testing Division.

State seed inspectors, trained by the Seed Regulatory Testing Division and authorized by AMS, obtain official samples of seed which are initially tested by their state seed laboratory.  While state seed laboratories participating in FSA enforcement routinely test official seed samples for mechanical purity, germination and noxious weed-seeds, they often don’t have the ability to test seed to verify varietal labeling. Read more »

Check Your Steps! Chill: How to Pack a Cooler to Prevent Food Poisoning

Here in Washington, D.C., and probably where you live too, it is hot! This week’s Check Your Steps blog focuses on a timely food safety step—Chill. You may feel like this guy, but in reality we don’t recommend keeping your food cold with fans, no matter how many you can find.

Bacteria grow rapidly between 40 °F and 140 °F, and when it’s above 90 °F outside, cold food heats to those temperatures much faster. Portable coolers can be your best friend during outdoor summer activities or grocery shopping, but pack them correctly to keep food at 40 °F or below so it doesn’t spoil or make you sick. Read more »

Answering the Call: Making Science More Accessible for Forest Planners in the East

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

In forests, climate change ramps up stress already occurring from extreme weather events, disease and insect outbreaks, catastrophic wildfires, and invasive species. Resilient forests are better able to absorb stress without compromising the services they afford. In the same way that good sleep, healthy diet, and regular exercise make a person resilient (though not immune) to illness, forests can be helped towards resiliency by management practices that focus on sustaining or restoring ecological integrity in relation to future conditions. While neither the many threats to forests nor the management approaches available to abate them are new to forest managers, climate change introduces additional pressure and the need for the rapid translation of emerging science into forest management practice. Read more »