Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Updated Web Tool Maps U.S. Food Access in Greater Detail

Users of ERS’s Food Access Research Atlas can opt to view low-income census tracts (shaded in gold and in light blue) in a selected area of the country. The gold-shading indicates low-income tracts where a substantial number or portion of residents live at least 0.5 mile from a supermarket in urban areas or at least 10 miles in rural areas. (Central Connecticut)

Users of ERS’s Food Access Research Atlas can opt to view low-income census tracts (shaded in gold and in light blue) in a selected area of the country. The gold-shading indicates low-income tracts where a substantial number or portion of residents live at least 0.5 mile from a supermarket in urban areas or at least 10 miles in rural areas. (Central Connecticut)

Access to stores that carry healthy, affordable food can play an important role in people’s nutrition and overall health. Ensuring access to healthy food is a priority for USDA and a key component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative. Read more »

USDA Announcing Action Plan on Interagency Coordination and Collaboration for the Protection of Indian Sacred Sites

As part of President Obama’s commitment to honoring Government-to-Government relationships with Tribal Nations, the federal government is continuing to strengthen its relationships in Indian Country. The Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Defense, Interior, and Energy joined the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation and released an action plan to implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding interagency coordination and collaboration for the protection of Indian Sacred Sites.

Last week during the National Congress of American Indian’s (NCAI) Executive Council Winter Session, USDA Deputy Undersecretary, Arthur “Butch” Blazer, announced that he will help  lead USDA’s efforts for the implementation of the MOU.  Due to his expertise Blazer is the ideal choice to lead the USDA component of the Action Plan.  Prior to his position at USDA, Blazer served as the New Mexico State Forester where he was the first Native American to hold that position. During his tenure as State Forester, he was also named as Chair of the Council of Western State Foresters and Co-Chair for the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition. A member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, he was also his tribe’s lead forestry official and has been intimately involved in Tribal issues throughout his life.  Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Common-Sense Efficiencies and Record Accomplishments

On March 1, across-the-board spending cuts, known here in Washington as “the sequester,” took effect when Congress was unable to reach a new agreement on the budget. These cuts are required by law for every item within USDA’s budget, and they will impact all of the work we do in some way.

Under the Obama Administration, USDA already has made historic efforts to streamline operations and safeguard taxpayer dollars. Under our Blueprint for Stronger Service, we have carried out workforce reductions, closed offices and laboratories, and streamlined IT services. We have cut our travel costs by more than 42 percent since 2010. We’re always looking for new ways to save more.

These targeted efforts have already saved taxpayers more than $700 million. In fact, our operating budget today is lower than it was in 2009. Read more »

On International Women’s Day, A Tribute to Women in Agriculture

Rossie Fisher, co-owner of Brookview Farm in Manakin-Sabot, VA. March 8 is International Women's Day.

Rossie Fisher, co-owner of Brookview Farm in Manakin-Sabot, VA. March 8 is International Women's Day.

Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day. What better day to recognize the incredible achievements of women in agriculture?

Women have always played a key role on the farm or ranch. Traditionally, women often kept the books and ensured the solvency of the business while men ran the day-to-day production operation. Read more »

Women’s History Month – Forest Service Scientist Shows Grace and Compassion While Working her Way to the Top

Barbara C. Weber in 1993 as director of the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station. (Photo courtesy Barbara C. Weber)

Barbara C. Weber in 1993 as director of the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station. (Photo courtesy Barbara C. Weber)

As the oldest of 11 children, Barbara C. Weber is accustomed to being the “first.” With top family ranking comes responsibility, and Weber had plenty of it.

Growing up on her family’s 160-acre dairy farm in Bloomington, Wis., Weber, along with her siblings, helped clean the barn, pick up eggs and tend to the animals.  Her innate curiosity and connection to nature led to her love of science. Read more »

USDA Celebrates First Ever International School Meals Day

Students across the country will celebrate International School Meals Day with special events, like international food taste testings. Lentils, like those pictured in this lentil stew, are high in protein and eaten in abundance throughout Mediterranean countries and West Asia.

Students across the country will celebrate International School Meals Day with special events, like international food taste testings. Lentils, like those pictured in this lentil stew, are high in protein and eaten in abundance throughout Mediterranean countries and West Asia.

They say that March comes in roaring like a lion and USDA certainly plans to start the month strong by doing something we’ve never done before. We have helped connect 28 schools in the United States and the United Kingdom that are leading the way in promoting healthy living to celebrate the very first International School Meals Day. Read more »