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Healthy Kids are Smarter Kids: Culinary Demo Highlights USDA Foods

Things were cookin’ in Nashville last month, and not just the July weather in this vibrant southern city.  At the historic Opryland Hotel, we joined our partners at the School Nutrition Association’s annual convention to show how USDA Foods are increasingly vital to the health of our nation’s schoolchildren.

The culinary demo was led by local chef and Nashville public school dad David Owens, who wowed convention attendees and members of the media with baked chicken in fruit sauce, vegetarian chili, and vegetable rice. But the exhibition was about more than creating great tasting meals. Along with Nashville Education and Training Coordinator Deborah Walker, Chef Owens emphasized practicing safe and healthy preparation, choosing reasonably priced options, and integrating ingredients relevant and appealing to the modern school nutrition program. Read more »

Veterans Find Unexpected Opportunities at AMS

When it comes time to transition from service in the military to a civilian job, many veterans do not immediately think to look for positions at the USDA.  There is an assumption that jobs with USDA are all farm-related – even those in the Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS).   In reality, there is a wide variety of opportunities within AMS and USDA as a whole.

There are a number of jobs at AMS that overlap with different military specializations.  The agency has auditors who evaluate programs to make sure producers follow international standards and practices.  Positions in compliance and analysis, budget analysis, and information technology rely on skills like attention to detail and effective project management that are an essential part of armed services training. Read more »

Soil Sleuth Gets Historical Marker in Louisa, VA

NRCS Chief Dave White and Dr. Maurice Cook applaud as Hugh Hammond Bennett, III, his wife Nina Bennett, and his brother, Robert Bennett view the newly unveiled historical marker.

NRCS Chief Dave White and Dr. Maurice Cook applaud as Hugh Hammond Bennett, III, his wife, Nina Bennett, and his brother, Robert Bennett view the newly unveiled historical marker.

Why does land wear out? This great agricultural mystery led generations of farmers to simply move when the land no longer supported agricultural production. That changed in 1905, when a soil scientist unearthed the key to sustained productivity by linking soil erosion and degradation of soil quality. Read more »

Rural Champion Works with Producers and USDA to Spur Biomass Production

Eric Rund, Farmer, CEO of Green Flame Energy, Illinois

Eric Rund, Farmer, CEO of Green Flame Energy, Illinois

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

When the gasoline additive MTBE was banned in 2006 and ethanol was its only practical replacement, Eric as a corn farmer, became very interested in joining with other farmers to build a corn ethanol plant. Read more »

Innovations to Support Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

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.

Do you know who grew your food?  Farmer’s markets, eating locally and even the USDA’s “Know your Farmer, Know your Food” campaign are all examples people wanting to know where their food comes from.  But while the public’s interest in agriculture is rising, the age of the average American farmer is also on the rise. This is big concern for USDA and industry leadership – we wonder who will be growing your food in the future. Read more »

Team RD Washington Gathers Feedback From Key Stakeholders To Improve Help In Regulatory Review

How do you garner valuable feedback from key partners and stakeholders from around your state?

Just ask and let them speak, which is what USDA Rural Development leadership did in Washington State when they convened a stakeholder outreach meeting in Olympia on July 29 to discuss Rural Development priorities for President Obama’s 2013 budget and 2012 Farm Bill.

“The importance of this Regulatory Reform Stakeholder outreach meeting cannot be understated,” said Mario Villanueva, USDA Rural Development Washington State Director. “We had a tremendous response and interest in this convening with about 70 stakeholders attending the interactive meeting.” Read more »