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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 »

Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative Helps to Improve Gulf of Mexico Too

Steve Barlow standing in the longleaf pine forest that he is restoring.

Steve Barlow standing in the longleaf pine forest that he is restoring.

Levy County, on Florida’s “Nature Coast,” is home to a variety of ecosystems, from dense hardwood forests and marsh lands to sand hills and Gulf Coast waters.

The historic Suwannee River borders the north end of the county, while the meandering Withlacoochee River winds through the southern part. Both eventually drain into the Gulf of Mexico, and runoff from agricultural land ending up in the two rivers can carry soil, pesticides and nutrients to the Gulf. Read more »