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The Cotton Patch – Where Innovation and Teamwork Fuel Growth

It’s amazing what can happen when you combine a great idea, commitment to community, love of agriculture, fresh air, good earth, and energized volunteers.  In the Cotton and Tobacco Programs, a part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, we found this to be the perfect combination to cultivate our own People’s Garden – the Cotton Patch.

The People’s Garden initiative brings USDA employees and more than 700 local and national organizations together to create community and school gardens inspiring locally-led solutions to some of the challenges facing our country – from hunger to the environment.

Here in Memphis, creating the Cotton Patch was a collaborative series of fortunate events that began when employees from our local office requested to overhaul the facility’s landscaping and create our own People’s Garden. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Research Shows that Kids Like Healthy Options

The U.S. Department of Agriculture works every day to improve childhood nutrition and combat obesity in order to raise a healthier generation of Americans.

In recent days, we have had some positive developments in this work.  USDA released a promising new report on the impacts of providing our children with healthy snacks. We also took new steps to provide families with better information to combat obesity. Read more »

Former Football Player Turns Conservation Assistance into Bottled Gold in Texas

The husband and wife team of Alphonse and Martha Dotson have created a bottled masterpiece, Gotas de Oro, “drops of gold.” Photo by Jaime Tankersley, NRCS Texas.

The husband and wife team of Alphonse and Martha Dotson have created a bottled masterpiece, Gotas de Oro, “drops of gold.” Photo by Jaime Tankersley, NRCS Texas.

A former professional football player was able to realize a life-long dream of owning his own vineyard with the help of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Read more »

Biting Down on the Origin of a Tooth

A Tyrannosaurus Rex tooth found by Barb Beasley during a 2012 Passport in Time excavation in the Late Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation on the Custer National Forest in South Dakota on June 22, 2012. Unlike mammals that only possess two sets of teeth during their lifetime, dinosaurs replaced worn teeth by shedding them continuously throughout their lives. A single Tyrannosaurus may have shed hundreds or even thousands of teeth during its lifetime. U.S. Forest Service photo by Rhonda Fore.

A Tyrannosaurus Rex tooth found by Barb Beasley during a 2012 Passport in Time excavation in the Late Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation on the Custer National Forest in South Dakota on June 22, 2012. Unlike mammals that only possess two sets of teeth during their lifetime, dinosaurs replaced worn teeth by shedding them continuously throughout their lives. A single Tyrannosaurus may have shed hundreds or even thousands of teeth during its lifetime. U.S. Forest Service photo by Rhonda Fore.

The big female sniffed at the dry Late Cretaceous air as she trotted – delicately, considering her 7-ton frame – along a game trail through a stand of towering conifers, whose needled lower branches trembled slightly at her passing. Read more »