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Farm Credit: Celebrating Co-op Month and 95 Years of Service

Editor’s Note: To help celebrate Cooperative Month in October, USDA will be running blogs about the nation’s co-op sector, starting with a look at the nation’s producer-owned financial institution: Farm Credit. This blog is based on comments from Joy Upchurch, Vice President  at AgFirst Farm Credit Bank.

Since 1916, Farm Credit has been a trusted partner to agricultural producers and agribusinesses across rural America. As a nationwide network of cooperatively owned banks and retail lending associations, it is fitting that we help acknowledge October as Cooperative Month. This celebration coincides with a historic milestone for Farm Credit. As we celebrate the cooperative nature of our member organizations, we are also in the midst of celebrating Farm Credit’s 95th anniversary of service to rural America. Read more »

Possible New Flavor Sensations from the Jungles of Peru

ARS scientist Gary Samuels extracts a sample of living plant tissue from a wild cacao tree on the bank of Rio Marañón en Peru. (Photo courtesy of ARS)

ARS scientist Gary Samuels extracts a sample of living plant tissue from a wild cacao tree on the bank of Rio Marañón en Peru. (Photo courtesy of ARS)

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.

What a long, strange trip it’s been for newly discovered South American varieties of cacao beans—all the way from the remote Amazon Basin in Peru to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) labs in Beltsville, Md., where the beans are being studied as a possible source of future high-end chocolates that could one day be marketed, like fine wines, by geographical provenance. Read more »

National School Lunch Week: A Time to Celebrate

Under Secretary Kevin Concannon takes a photo of his lunch mates last month at Arcola Elementary School in Silver Spring, Md.  Concannon presented all 132 Montgomery County Elementary Schools with Healthier US Schools Challenge Bronze awards.

Under Secretary Kevin Concannon takes a photo of his lunch mates last month at Arcola Elementary School in Silver Spring, Md. Concannon presented all 132 Montgomery County Elementary Schools with Healthier US Schools Challenge Bronze awards.

Every child deserves to have the tools they need to succeed in the classroom. That’s reason enough to recognize the nutritional accomplishments of our school meals programs during National School Lunch Week, Oct. 10-14. But there is more to celebrate… Read more »

US Forest Service partners with Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month Initiative

National forests provide about 60 percent of all ski areas in the United States.

National forests provide about 60 percent of all ski areas in the United States.

The U.S. Forest Service is partnering with the Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (LSSM) initiative, scheduled for January 2012, encouraging Americans to explore winter recreation activities during the upcoming winter season. Read more »

Forest Service Highlights Accessible Trails in Kicking off National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month in October

October has arrived which means cooler days, fall foliage and continued opportunities to hike on Forest Service trails. Families and friends enjoy hiking together, whether a person uses a wheelchair,  is pushing a young child in a baby stroller, or they are looking for more controlled grades to enjoy together on  trails that comply with the Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines.  People with and without disabilities enjoy recreating together. When one person in a group has a need for an accessible facility, the entire group seeks to recreate at that accessible facility together.

Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. Read more »

USDA Hosts 2nd Annual Hispanic Heritage Food Fiesta

Russell Avalos, Ed Avalos, Undersecretary, Marketing and Regulatory, Max Finberg, Director, Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Al Almonza, Administrator, Food Safety Inspection Service share a laugh at the U. S. Department of Agriculture Second Annual Hispanic Heritage Food Fiesta to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at USDA in Washington, DC, Thursday, October 6, 2011. USDA Photo by Bob Nichols.

Russell Avalos, Ed Avalos, Undersecretary, Marketing and Regulatory, Max Finberg, Director, Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Al Almonza, Administrator, Food Safety Inspection Service share a laugh at the U. S. Department of Agriculture Second Annual Hispanic Heritage Food Fiesta to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at USDA in Washington, DC, Thursday, October 6, 2011. USDA Photo by Bob Nichols.

Yesterday, hundreds of USDA employees gathered in the Whitten Patio to enjoy a celebratory food tasting in commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month.  More than two dozen employees volunteered as chefs to bring their homemade Hispanic cuisine to headquarters for the event. Among them was Under Secretary Ed Avalos, who cooked Red Chile, a traditional red sauce with meat spiced with New Mexico’s chile peppers. The Food Fiesta was truly a USDA family affair—Russell Avalos served portions of his father’s red chile, beans, and tortillas to lines of guests wrapped around the Patio. Read more »