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Innovation in Peanut Policy Development Wins Tiffany Arthur an Economist of the Year Award

Tiffany Arthur, senior economist and commodity analyst, is the recipient of the Economist of the Year award presented by the USDA Economists Group.

Tiffany Arthur, senior economist and commodity analyst, is the recipient of the Economist of the Year award presented by the USDA Economists Group.

Tiffany Arthur knows peanuts.

Her command of the subject area not only allowed her to develop a new methodology to address issues in the peanut industry, but her ability to provide insight to Congressional leaders, USDA officials and market participants earned her the Economist of the Year award by the USDA Economists Group. Read more »

Wild Horses and Burros on National Forests in the West are Part of America’s History

America ‘s wild horses and burros have a rich history and are living symbols of the pioneer spirit of the West.  But did you know that protecting this heritage is also a part of the mission of the U.S. Forest Service?

In fact, the agency manages more than 30 wild horse or burro territories on more than two million acres in Arizona, California, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah.

“The animals that have survived on the range are a genetic and historic remnant of the Old West,” said Barry Imler, the agency’s National Program Manager for Wild Horses and Burros. “The characteristics that were important in the Old West days are still found in our wild horses and burros — strength, endurance and reliability.” Read more »

Forest Service Job Corps Graduates get Trip of a Lifetime in Kuwait

This April, the twins (Charmaine (R), Shaneka (l) will go to Kuwait for a long-term job with a six-figure salary. Photo courtesy Katie Dunn/The Coalfield Progress.

This April, the twins (Charmaine (R), Shaneka (l) will go to Kuwait for a long-term job with a six-figure salary. Photo courtesy Katie Dunn/The Coalfield Progress.

Little did Chamain and Shaneka Hicks know four years ago that they would be off on an adventure that their high school classmates would envy. Read more »

Under Secretary Hosts South Dakota Meeting on Renewable Energy Funding Opportunities

This afternoon, USDA Rural Development in South Dakota convened a Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) meeting in Sioux Falls.  Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager addressed the group of 25 stakeholders.  Tonsager shared with the group that over the next couple of months, USDA Rural Development will be convening a total of 47 energy roundtables with stakeholders across the country to talk about energy opportunities.

“Our country is moving more and more toward renewable energy sources,” stated Tonsager. “Those of us at USDA want to stand up that renewable energy industry in America’s rural backyard, and we want to work with all of you to make it happen.” Read more »

Just the Facts: State vs. Federal School Nutrition Programs

In the past 24 hours, we’ve seen a lot of chatter online regarding a story from North Carolina in which a pre-school student’s lunch was deemed “unhealthy.”  We’d like to set the record straight.

As established by law, USDA promotes healthier lifestyles for our nation’s school children through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program. The Department sets science-based nutritional standards for and oversees State administration of schools that choose to participate in these national programs. In exchange for meeting those standards, USDA provides reimbursement and other resources to schools so that children get the nutrition they need to learn, thrive and grow.

USDA does not, however, regulate sack lunches or any other food children bring from home to eat at school. That is a responsibility for parents,  not the federal government. The incident in North Carolina involved local education officials and a State-run nutrition program, and USDA had no involvement.

FSA Teams With CT AGvocate Program to Connect Residents With Local Farmers

Connecticut’s AGvocate Program promotes local farmers by inviting the public to area events and demonstrations. One event allowed residents to ride a wagon through a dairy barn to learn how milk is produced and how they can support local dairy farmers.

Connecticut’s AGvocate Program promotes local farmers by inviting the public to area events and demonstrations. One event allowed residents to ride a wagon through a dairy barn to learn how milk is produced and how they can support local dairy farmers.

Windham County Farm Service Agency in Connecticut has taken an innovative approach to connect consumers with their local farmer.

Through the state’s AGvocate program — a program designed to make farming viable in Connecticut towns — the agency received funding to promote agriculture by creating committees and commissions to help residents understand the importance of supporting local farmers. Read more »