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With USDA Assistance, a Historic Mississippi Courthouse gets a New Lease on Life

The inside of the newly restored courthouse and the attendees at the Grand Opening Ceremony. USDA photos.

The inside of the newly restored courthouse and the attendees at the Grand Opening Ceremony. USDA photos.

In 2009, Bolivar County, Mississippi, Administrator William Hooker and a board-delegated crew of local leaders traveled to meet with members of Congress in Washington, D.C., to rally for the financial support to restore the Bolivar County courthouse in Rosedale, MS. They received funding for the project and on April 2, 2012 a ground breaking ceremony was held for the First Judicial District Courthouse located in Rosedale. USDA Rural Development awarded a $350,000 Recovery Act Community Facilities grant. The project also received a $350,000 Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Economic Grant, a $300,000 grant from the MS Department of Archives and History, and $300,000 from the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors. A majority of the money went towards improving the building’s weakening foundation. Installing a new roof and a number of interior retouches were also big parts of the restoration. Read more »

Organic 101: Strengthening Organic Integrity through Increased Residue Testing

From produce, like these vine-ripened tomatoes, to processed foods like cheese and milk, additional testing requirements will help certifying agents identify cases where prohibited methods and substances are being used. Photo courtesy Jess Sanson.

From produce, like these vine-ripened tomatoes, to processed foods like cheese and milk, additional testing requirements will help certifying agents identify cases where prohibited methods and substances are being used. Photo courtesy Jess Sanson.

This is the tenth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.

In late 2012, the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) announced a strengthened residue testing program to help increase consumer confidence in the $32 billion organic industry worldwide. Consumers purchase organic products expecting that they maintain their organic integrity from farm to market, and USDA is committed to meeting these expectations. This program will provide additional verification that organic farmers are following the rules and not using prohibited substances. Read more »

Forest Service Offers Practical Advice for Using Insect-Killed Trees

A new manual released by the U.S. Forest Service offers solutions for using the millions of dead and dying urban trees infected by invasive insects in the eastern United States. 

The free publication, developed by the Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory and the University of Minnesota Duluth, offers insight into the wide variety of products and markets that are available, and practical advice for considering the many options. Uses for insect-killed wood include lumber, furniture, cabinetry, flooring and pellets for wood-burning energy facilities. Last year, commemorative ornaments were made from beetle-killed trees for the 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree celebration.

: Since its discovery in 2002, the emerald ash borer has killed tens of millions of ash trees in 13 states. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

: Since its discovery in 2002, the emerald ash borer has killed tens of millions of ash trees in 13 states. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

Read more »

Sweet News about Sugar Beets

\Sugar beet pulp is mixed with melted polylactic acid and passed through a twin-screw extruder. This results in pastalike strands (the brownish solid tubes coming out of the front of the machine) of composite material, which are then cooled, chopped into pellets, and injection molded. Photo courtesy of ARS.

Sugar beet pulp is mixed with melted polylactic acid and passed through a twin-screw extruder. This results in pastalike strands (the brownish solid tubes coming out of the front of the machine) of composite material, which are then cooled, chopped into pellets, and injection molded. Photo courtesy of ARS.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research profile.

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but the scientists of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) still have some sweet news to share:  In a classic case of turning trash into treasure, they’ve created a biodegradable plastic made from sugar beet pulp. Read more »

Un Lugar en la Mesa para Promotoras

La Clínica del Pueblo comparte información sobre comidas balanceadas utilizando MyPlate/MiPlato.

La Clínica del Pueblo comparte información sobre comidas balanceadas utilizando MyPlate/MiPlato.

Imagínese que usted va al supermercado y lo reciben justo fuera de la tienda con una mesa llena de consejos sobre alimentos saludables para su familia, tomando en cuenta un presupuesto limitado – en su idioma. Esto es sólo una manera en que los trabajadores de salud comunitaria de la organización no lucrativa La Clínica de Pueblo en la capital del país están promoviendo la salud y la nutrición en la comunidad de habla hispana, parte de su iniciativa llamada “Tu salud en tus manos, La Mesa de las Delicias”.

A lo largo de todo el país, los trabajadores de salud comunitaria, conocidos en español como “promotoras” y “promotores”, están encontrando maneras innovadoras, basadas en la comunidad, y eficaces para ofrecer educación nutricional a las comunidades latinas que a menudo no tienen acceso a servicios de salud tradicionales. Read more »

A Place at the Table for Promotoras

La Clínica del Pueblo shares information on balanced meals utilizing MyPlate/MiPlato.

La Clínica del Pueblo shares information on balanced meals utilizing MyPlate/MiPlato.

Imagine going to the supermarket and being greeted right outside the store with a table full of healthy eating tips for your family, on a budget – in your language. That is just one way community health workers from the nonprofit La Clinica de Pueblo in the nation’s capital are promoting health and nutrition in the Spanish-speaking community, part of their initiative called “Your Health in Your Hands, The Table of Delights.”

All throughout the country, community health workers, known in Spanish as “promotoras” and “promotores”, are finding innovative, grassroots and effective ways to offer nutrition education to Latino communities that often do not have access to traditional healthcare services. Read more »