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How Corned Beef and Cabbage Became a Holiday Staple

Infographic highlighting the history, anatomy and market of corned beef & cabbage.

Infographic highlighting the history, anatomy and market of corned beef & cabbage. Click to enlarge image.

For most of us in the U.S., corned beef and cabbage is synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day. But its association with the holiday isn’t an Irish tradition.  It is a uniquely American tradition, a blending of both history and opportunity. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Generational Change to Improve Childhood Nutrition

This week, we are renewing our efforts at USDA to encourage a generational shift to improve childhood nutrition.

Today, too many of our children aren’t getting the nutrition they need.  One-third of today’s children are at risk for preventable health problems because of their weight. Only a quarter of our 17 to 24 year old young people are eligible for military service, in part because many of them are overweight or obese. Read more »

Ski with a Ranger a Breathtaking Adventure

Amy Teeters, Forest Service volunteer, describes how geological processes formed the Lake Tahoe Basin. (Photo courtesy Tom Schaefer, U.S. Forest Service volunteer)

Amy Teeters, Forest Service volunteer, describes how geological processes formed the Lake Tahoe Basin. (Photo courtesy Tom Schaefer, U.S. Forest Service volunteer)

For many skiers, it’s up the lift, down the hill and back again.

But a new program pairs U.S. Forest Service rangers and guests at the Lake Tahoe Heavenly Mountain Resort for an hour-long, free, guided ski and snowboard tour. Read more »

Sun Ranch Helps Protect Sage Grouse in Wyoming

Dennis Sun on Sun Ranch, west of Casper, Wyo., with NRCS intern Meghan McPhaden. Photo credit: Haley Lockwood/NRCS

Dennis Sun on Sun Ranch, west of Casper, Wyo., with NRCS intern Meghan McPhaden. Photo credit: Haley Lockwood/NRCS

Dennis Sun, owner of the Sun Ranch west of Casper, Wyo. and publisher/owner of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, is making his ranch friendlier for a small bird that he can neither sell nor hunt. That’s because he wanted to help ensure that the sage grouse doesn’t get listed as an endangered species.

The sage grouse is a ground-dwelling bird native to the sagebrush ecosystem of the American West. Once numbering 16 million, it has dwindled to as few as 200,000 birds. About 40 percent of all sage grouse are found in Wyoming. Read more »

Missouri Community Foundations Find Common Ground and Make a Stand

Collaboration, cooperation and coordination are good words, especially when all three can be used to describe an action.  Community Foundation of Northwest Missouri (CFNWMO) and nine other Missouri community foundations are collaborating, cooperating and coordinating in the funding and creation of a Transfer of Wealth (TOW) study.

On March 5, 2013, USDA Rural Development Missouri State Director Janie Dunning hosted an event announcing the funding of a Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) to complete the TOW study.  The impetus for submitting the RBOG application came when Secretary Tom Vilsack attended the foundation’s annual meeting in January 2012. Read more »

USA Pears Enter the Chinese Market for the First Time

Even the weather cooperated on February 23, 2013.  With a brilliant blue sky overhead and bright sunlight streaming into the warehouse, the first shipment of pears grown in the United States and destined for the Chinese market arrived in Dalian, China.

The three containers of pears did not slip into the port of Dalian, a city of over six million people located in Liaoning Province in the northeast of China, unnoticed.  Instead, a crowd of onlookers consisting of journalists, invited guests, U.S. and Chinese officials, all gathered to witness the first pallets of Red and Green Anjou pears from Ft. Hood, Oregon being offloaded. Read more »