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Cochran Program Gives Fellow Courage to Succeed

Nguyen Thi Chi Linh is the owner of the Vietnamese agribusiness, Agri Commodities Company, which specializes in feed ingredient trading. Linh credits the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Cochran Fellowship Program for inspiring her to start her own company after she participated in the Cochran soybean and soybean purchasing meal course in 2004. Last year, she helped U.S. companies export more than $10 million of feed commodities to Vietnam.

Nguyen Thi Chi Linh is the owner of the Vietnamese agribusiness, Agri Commodities Company, which specializes in feed ingredient trading. Linh credits the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Cochran Fellowship Program for inspiring her to start her own company after she participated in the Cochran soybean and soybean purchasing meal course in 2004. Last year, she helped U.S. companies export more than $10 million of feed commodities to Vietnam.

Before Nguyen Thi Chi Linh participated in the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Cochran Fellowship Program in 2004, she was a manager for one of the three largest feed manufacturers in Vietnam. Today, she’s one of the country’s most successful agribusiness owners and importers of U.S. agricultural products.

Linh credits the Cochran program for helping her go from an employee to an employer. Since 1984, the program has provided U.S.-based training courses to agricultural experts from middle-income countries, emerging markets and emerging democracies. The program provides high-quality agricultural education to these fellows, which helps improve agricultural systems in their home countries and enhance U.S. trade relationships abroad. Read more »

Cover Crops Reduce Crop Loss During Drought

Farmers are the ultimate survivors.  By definition, their work requires incredible planning, but it also requires creativity. This year, farmers have faced the test of limited summer rains, which have lowered the productivity of many farmers’ yields.  With fall approaching, farmers have an opportunity to invest today for better outcomes next year by planting what are called “cover crops.” Not harvested like a main crop, cover crops are mowed to stay on top of the soil or disked in for soil improvements.

Cover crops offer a wide range of benefits: they “trap” nitrogen left behind by fertilizer in the field, which otherwise may be washed away over the winter. They conserve water, improve the quality of soil, suppress weeds, and control insect pests and erosion.  Cover crops can also provide an excellent source of animal feed during periods when drought has reduced forage.

USDA science counts conservation research as an important area, so our scientists continually study cover crops, including timely focus on the impacts of drought stress to reduce potential losses in U.S. production capacity.  Using a grant provided by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, researchers at Purdue University show that cover crops left on the soil surface after germination in spring will conserve soil moisture acting as a soil cover. This can increase crop yields in dry years and reduce year-to-year variability in yields. Read more »

Partnering for Healthier Schools: PTA Leads the Way on Healthy Food in Virginia School

Addison, a Kindergarten student at Matoaka Elementary School, makes friends with a new vegetable on Asparagus Day.

Addison, a Kindergarten student at Matoaka Elementary School, makes friends with a new vegetable on Asparagus Day.

Matoaka Elementary School isn’t the biggest school, or the oldest. But it does have a Parent Teacher Association that takes student health very seriously.  So seriously, in fact, that one committee is completely devoted to helping kids and families develop Healthy Lifestyles!

“There were a few PTA parents who started talking about how our school could be healthier,” said Tryna Fitzpatrick, “and we decided to survey families and find out what other parents were thinking.” Read more »

Fifth Graders Celebrate “Inspire Education Day” at Iowa Boyhood Farm of Norman Borlaug

Norman Borlaug, who went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal attended this one-room school through the eighth grade.

Norman Borlaug, who went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal attended this one-room school through the eighth grade.

On Friday, September 14 school buses lined the yard outside a one-room schoolhouse in rural Howard County, Iowa.  More than 300 fifth grade students from area school districts had come to learn about Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug at the farm on which he was born and raised. Read more »

Celebrating All Things Mushroom During National Mushroom Month

Stuffed mushrooms with breadcrumbs and cheese.  This was one of our favorite recipes on the Mushroom Council website.  This appetizer with very few ingredients is a great way to celebrate National Mushroom Month.  Photo courtesy, Kelsey from the Naptime Chef, Mushroom Council website

Stuffed mushrooms with breadcrumbs and cheese. This was one of our favorite recipes on the Mushroom Council website. This appetizer with very few ingredients is a great way to celebrate National Mushroom Month. Photo courtesy, Kelsey from the Naptime Chef, Mushroom Council website

Whether you eat them for their unique flavor or distinct texture, there are plenty of reasons why you should try mushrooms during National Mushroom Month.  One thing is certain – you could spend the entire month of September finding different ways to enjoy mushrooms. Read more »