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The Great Green Fleet Makes History!

Diane Ley, State Executive Director, Hawaii Farm Service Agency, prepares to depart Hickam Air Force Base for the Great Green Fleet demonstration. USDA Photo.

Diane Ley, State Executive Director, Hawaii Farm Service Agency, prepares to depart Hickam Air Force Base for the Great Green Fleet demonstration. USDA Photo.

WOW! The word “wow” only moderately conveys the historic events that unfolded this summer during the Department of Navy’s Rim of the Pacific Exercises (RIMPAC) Great Green Fleet (GGF) demonstration. The might and power of the United States Navy coupled with that of scores of other Pacific Rim counties was impressive, but moreover a number of the great ships and aircraft were fueled by a mix of algae and animal fats. Read more »

Got Map? Dixie National Forest Kicks-Off Public Awareness Campaign

Dixie National Forest employees participate in the Parowan 4th of July Parade and many other community events in Utah to hand out free maps that show designated off-highway vehicle roads and trails on the forest.

Dixie National Forest employees participate in the Parowan 4th of July Parade and many other community events in Utah to hand out free maps that show designated off-highway vehicle roads and trails on the forest.

Hauling a trailer emblazoned with a forest scene and large map, the Dixie National Forest “Got Map” traveling crew made stops across Utah, passing out 60,000 free maps, talking to people about using off-highway vehicles in the forest and engaging the public in the work to designate motorized travel routes for 4-wheelers and all-terrain vehicles.

“With our new motorized travel plan across the forest, there’s over 2,700 miles of open routes for the public to come and enjoy this world class scenery and recreation,” said Nick Glidden, Motorized Travel Plan Implementation Team Leader on the Dixie National Forest. Read more »

Food That’s in When School is Out

The Power Panther get the crowd “powered up” at the July 10th Boston SFSP Kickoff Event.

The Power Panther get the crowd “powered up” at the July 10th Boston SFSP Kickoff Event.

On a sunny July afternoon, a long line of students, ranging in ages from 4-18, listened eagerly as Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and representatives from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and Boston Public School System kicked off for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Cafeteria staff from Lila Frederick School in Dorchester, Mass. cooked and served a BBQ lunch for about 100 eligible SFSP students from the local neighborhood. On the menu: turkey hot dogs, grilled chicken, corn on the cob, fresh slices of watermelon, grape juice and fat free milk. Read more »

USDA Partners with Local Pennsylvania Producer to Support Feds Feed Families Summer Food Drive

Pennsylvania USDA officials and retirees recently partnered with a local producer to donate huge boxes of cantaloupes and fresh-picked sweet corn as part of the 4th Annual 2012 Feds Feed Families Summer Food Drive. The food drive is a voluntary effort undertaken by federal employees around the country to collect and donate perishable and non-perishable goods to food pantries and banks in their communities.

Locally, USDA agencies are partnering with Henry and Brett Stehr, brothers who own and operate Kenny Stehr & Sons Fresh Fruits and Vegetables of Pitman, Schuylkill County. The brothers can be found every Tuesday and Friday with fresh, local produce at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex Farmer’s Market in Harrisburg. The Stehr brothers donated a box of fresh cantaloupe to the USDA food drive’s donation to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, and current USDA directors purchased an additional box from Stehr & Sons to add to the donation.  On hand for the occasion were Terry Stehr (former Schuylkill County Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Director); Bill Foose (former Program Director for FSA); Thomas Williams, USDA Rural Development State Director; Tim Kinney, representing USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); Kevin Pautler, National Agricultural Statistics Service; Brett Stehr of Kenny Stehr &Sons Fresh Fruits & Vegetables and Bill Wehry, USDA Farm Service Agency State Executive Director. Read more »

Protecting Agriculture, One Hive at a Time

When startled by a swarm of flying and buzzing insects, complete with stingers, the common response may be to grab an aerosol can of insecticide; but appreciating the vital importance of honey bees to agriculture and knowing something of various difficulties currently faced by bees, alternative actions are warranted.

Recently my staff noticed a huddled mass of what turned out to be bees in the lot by our office and shop.  We looked for a queen but left the swarm alone.  It later became apparent the bees had created a home under flashing at the building’s roof line, which seemed an inopportune location both for the bees and my staff.

We encouraged our landlord to consider relocation of the hive and were amazed to watch the process when Charlie Reffitt showed up one May morning.  In shorts and T-shirt, he climbed 20 feet up a ladder, with bees swirling around.  He inserted a funnel-like device into the hive under the flashing, caulking all other entrances.   He secured a cardboard box on the roof, populated with a queen and initial colony. Read more »

Independence Day Festival Helps U.S. Food Products Sparkle in India

Chef Sachin Subbaiah of India prepares a grilled chicken salad during a live cooking demonstration  at SPAR Hypermarket in Bangalore, India, as part of the U.S. Food and Beverage Independence Festival. The festival was the first multi-retailer U.S. food and beverage promotional campaign held throughout cities in India from June 29 to July 22.

Chef Sachin Subbaiah of India prepares a salad during a live cooking demonstration at SPAR Hypermarket in Bangalore, India, as part of the U.S. Food and Beverage Independence Festival. The festival was the first multi-retailer U.S. food and beverage promotional campaign held throughout cities in India from June 29 to July 22.

While many Americans enjoyed time with family and friends grilling and preparing their favorite foods this past Independence Day, Indian consumers were learning about some of those same U.S. foods during a month-long promotional campaign. Read more »