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Farming in the OC. Really.

On Friday, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan met with producers in America’s most significant and diverse agricultural state – California. Many people wouldn’t think of farming in Orange County, but there is significant specialty crop production just a few miles away from Disneyland. Farming in southern California’s urban environment is particularly challenging and Merrigan’s first stop was at Manassero Farms in Irvine where she discussed these challenges with local strawberry and tomato grower Dan Manassero.  Manassero’s family operation, which has been in business for several generations, has several successful farm stands, as well as commercial relationships with local grocery stores.

Deputy Merrigan then traveled to the headquarters of the Orange County Great Park where she and Farm Service Agency State Executive Director Val Dolcini held a roundtable listening session with dozens of local growers.  She also visited The Great Park, formerly home to El Toro Marine Air Station, which spans more than 1,300 acres (nearly twice the size of NewYork’s Central Park) and embraces environmental sustainability, Orange County’s agricultural heritage, and honors the military history of the former air base.  Merrigan then toured the Great Park Farm, a 114 acre working farm designed to provide fresh produce to local residents. Read more »

El Servicio de Alimentos y Nutrición Presentó su Primer Webinar de SNAP en Español

La misión del Servicio de Alimentos y Nutrición del USDA (FNS) es proveer asistencia nutricional a todos los niños, familias y personas de bajos recursos que la necesiten para ayudarlos a estabilizarse económicamente.  Para poder lograr este objetivo, nosotros trabajamos en conjunto con una red de asociados quienes nos ayudan a combatir el hambre. Especialmente, esperamos incrementar el acceso a la asistencia nutricional en la comunidad hispana mejorando la participación en el Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program o SNAP (antes conocido como Cupones de Alimentos), el programa más grande que tenemos para combatir el hambre.

En diciembre, más de 120 organizaciones asociadas de habla hispana se unieron a FNS para participar en su primer webinar en español acerca de los requisitos para ser elegibles en SNAP.  Colaborando en el USDA estaba la Oficina de Organizaciones Religiosas y Comunitarias,  juntos condujimos el webinar para informar a los líderes comunitarios bilingües sobre la política de SNAP y compartir información acerca del trabajo que estamos llevando a cabo así como también los recursos y las herramientas que tenemos para conducir programas de alcance en la comunidad latina y contestar una serie de preguntas y preocupaciones acerca de la Elegibilidad de los emigrantes en SNAP. Read more »

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Hosts Its First All-Spanish Webinar on SNAP

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) mission is to provide all eligible children, families, and low-income individuals with the nutrition assistance they need to help them get back on their feet. In order to accomplish this goal, we work with a vast network of partners who help us in the fight to end hunger. In particular, we are hoping to increase access to nutrition assistance in Hispanic communities through improved participation in the  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, our nation’s largest anti-hunger program.

In December, more than 120 Spanish-speaking community partners joined FNS as we hosted our very first all-Spanish webinar on the eligibility requirements for SNAP.  In collaboration with USDA’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the webinar informed bilingual community leaders about SNAP policy, shared information about our work, resources, and tools that benefit Latino outreach, and answered questions regarding  immigrants and SNAP eligibility. Read more »

USDA Rural Development Hosts Turkish Delegation in Nebraska

Rural development officials from Hatay Province, Turkey were in the United States recently to learn about USDA Rural Development programs at the national level and in Nebraska.  Hatay Governor Mehmet Celalettio Lekesiz, Hatay Rural Development Agency Director Savas Ozgursoy and four agency staff were on the delegation tour.

Turkey will soon be joining the European Union and Hatay is one of the 20 Turkish provinces chosen for the first phase of EU assistance to support the establishment of a rural development agency.  Hatay is in southeast Turkey, bordering Syria and on the Mediterranean Sea.  The first settlement goes back to 40,000 to 9,000 BC when the main city of Antioch was founded by one of Alexander the Great’s generals. Read more »

Monitoring Bald Eagles to Help Prevent Deaths from Collisions with Wind Turbines

Scientific team's eagle walking across ice toward deer bait before the monitoring device was attached. Photo credit: Teryl G. Grubb, U.S. Forest Service

Scientific team's eagle walking across ice toward deer bait before the monitoring device was attached. Photo credit: Kent Keller

Despite the many benefits which come from clean wind energy, one of the most majestic birds of prey, the eagle, is itself falling prey to the blades of wind-energy facilities. For reasons still not clear to scientists, eagles are vulnerable to collisions with wind turbines, and in some areas such collisions can be a major source of the bird’s mortality.

For this reason a research team led by of U.S. Forest Service scientist Teryl Grubb successfully captured and instrumented the first of six adult bald eagles with GPS devices during a recent winter trapping effort in Michigan. Read more »

Earth Team Volunteers, Conservationists Bring Tree Lessons to Mississippi Classrooms

Members of the Hinds County Earth Team group gathered at Van Winkle Elementary School to give an environmental education program.

Members of the Hinds County Earth Team group gathered at Van Winkle Elementary School to give an environmental education program.

Trees are important natural resources—this is the lesson that a dedicated group of volunteers shared last week with Mississippi youngsters. Read more »