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Forest Service Employee Finds Missing Three-Year Old Boy Near Arkansas Forest

Rescue crews from the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest attend to three-year-old Landen Trammel whom they found Wednesday, Sept., 12 in Stone County, Ark. From left are Jamie Martin, Carol Swboni and Bradley Taylor who spotted the toddler playing in a mud puddle.  Photo credit: Courtesy of Fox16.com

Rescue crews from the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest attend to three-year-old Landen Trammel whom they found Wednesday, Sept., 12 in Stone County, Ark. From left are Jamie Martin, Carol Swboni and Bradley Taylor who spotted the toddler playing in a mud puddle. Photo credit: Courtesy of Fox16.com

It was about 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 12, in Onia, a small community in Stone County, Arkansas, within the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest. About 24 hours had passed since three-year-old Landen Cade Trammell had wandered away from his home and about 30 Forest Service employees were actively searching for the little boy. Read more »

Specialty Crop Grants Make a Difference for Farmers and Businesses

2012 Specialty Crop Block Grant will help expand existing efforts by the Fallon Small Farm Collaborative for create new market opportunities for Churchill County farmers, like the ones pictured above.  Photo courtesy Fallon Farmers’ Collaborative

2012 Specialty Crop Block Grant will help expand existing efforts by the Fallon Small Farm Collaborative for create new market opportunities for Churchill County farmers, like the ones pictured above. Photo courtesy Fallon Farmers’ Collaborative

Earlier today, Secretary Vilsack announced the Specialty Crop Block Grant awards totaling $55 million dollars.  These grants will fund over 748 initiatives across the United States and its territories, and help expand opportunities for local and regional farmers.

Specialty crops produced in the U.S. include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, and are often a key source of income for America’s farmers.  Through this program, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service grants money to the state and territory for them to directly support projects creating new business opportunities, boosting efficiency and productivity, and improving food safety.

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Fuel for Success: My Sports Plate

The new nutrition standards established by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act at the US Department of Agriculture represent an important step in America’s fight against childhood obesity and will help promote healthy eating habits for youth in our nation’s schools. These standards promote a balanced diet of additional fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean proteins, and whole grains, while eating less sugar, saturated fat, and sodium.

Allyson Felix, member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition and three-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist in track and field, tells us how good nutrition has improved her health and gives her the energy she needs to perform like a champion:

“In the morning before I lace up my running shoes, grab my workout bag and head out the door to the track, I always have my go-to breakfast of oatmeal, fresh fruit and a tall glass of water. It’s an absolute must to fuel my body for the work day I have in front of me. I may have a unique job as a professional track and field athlete; however my day is not unlike most. I’m up early rushing between workouts, meetings, events, and additional training sessions and functions in the afternoon and evening.  Trying to keep pace with the days demands can be challenging, but giving my body the proper nutrition it needs allows me to maintain my energy and perform at a high level. Read more »

Ask a School Meals Expert: How are Schools Helping Students Adjust to the New School Meals?

We’re continuing to answer questions we’ve received from folks about the improvements to school meals that started this school year. One concern we’ve heard is that students who may not be accustomed to eating particular foods may throw them away. We know it is important that students get the calories and nutrition they need to stay alert and energized through the day and schools are doing a number of things to make sure this happens. Read more »

Forest Service Partners with Oregon Hunter’s Association for Wildlife Habitat Restoration

A volunteer from the Oregon Hunter’s Association mows a meadow on the Hebo Ranger District. (USFS Photo)

A volunteer from the Oregon Hunter’s Association mows a meadow on the Hebo Ranger District. (USFS Photo)

On a foggy summer morning typical of the north Oregon Coast, a group of volunteers from the Lincoln County Chapter of Oregon Hunter’s Association (OHA) were hard at work in one of the Hebo Ranger District’s local meadows. They were working to help maintain habitat for a variety of wildlife species and to reduce invasive plants.

“I greatly value the partnership we have with Oregon Hunter’s Association,” said George Buckingham, the district’s ranger. “The commitment and dedication of OHA’s volunteers has been invaluable.” Read more »

Improving Access to Farm Programs in Indian Country

In keeping with President Obama and Secretary Vilsack’s efforts to improve the lives of Native Americans, USDA officials last month signed two Memorandums of Understanding with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).  The intention is to improve access to USDA programs by tribes and tribal members.

The MOUs set up a framework for consultation, training, coordination, and the provision of technical assistance which will increase the amount of Indian land enrolled under USDA conservation programs through NRCS and farm loan programs through FSA and improve service delivery on those lands. Farming and animal management, grazing, ranching and related food and agricultural operations will be supported through improved interdepartmental coordination. The MOUs also support establishment of Native rural businesses, renewable energy development, and job creation. Read more »