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

Social Media Buzz for MyPlate’s 2nd Birthday

For MyPlate’s 2nd birthday on June 2, 2013, USDA is using the power of social media to throw a month- long virtual party.  Everyone is invited to participate and help celebrate the success of USDA’s MyPlate on the new MyPlate Facebook page.  Log on to www.facebook.com/myplate from June 2 through the end of the month and wish MyPlate a healthy Happy Birthday!

MyPlate’s birthday wish is to increase its Facebook fan base so that even more people can learn about MyPlate and healthy eating.  The MyPlate Facebook page will have a new birthday cover photo and birthday related posts all week long.  Fans, partners, and other federal agencies are also being encouraged to use blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram to help celebrate this happy milestone. The event hashtag is #MyPlateBirthday. Read more »

New Center Improves Lives of Kentucky Seniors, Creates Jobs

Recently, I spoke at the grand opening of the Daisy Hill Assisted Living facility in Versailles, Ky.  In visiting this facility, I reflected on the future of this and other facilities and their importance as we anticipate the droves of baby boomers seeking to maintain a quality of life as they transition to assisted-living.

The facility was financed through USDA’s Business and Industry Guarantee Loan program.  The $4.5 million loan guarantee to Pinnacle National Bank of Nashville has provided the owners an opportunity to create a beautiful facility for the residents. Read more »

10 Years Later, a Shelterbelt Proves to Be a Wise Investment

Ken Mouw created a shelterbelt 10 years ago on his Elk Point, S.D. as a way to fortify his farm against the harsh winter winds.

Ken Mouw created a shelterbelt 10 years ago on his Elk Point, S.D. as a way to fortify his farm against the harsh winter winds.

South Dakota’s harsh winters can be tough on a farm or ranch, and conservation improvements like a shelterbelt can help shield buildings, crops and livestock from the wind and snow. Ken Mouw, a CEO-turned-farmer, has used a shelterbelt—a band of trees and shrubs—to protect his Elk Point, S.D. farm against rough weather over the past 10 years.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Union County Conservation District helped Mouw design the shelterbelt, consisting of trees and shrubs of different heights and densities that all work together to protect from the northern and western winds, keeping snow from collecting in his driveway during a snow storm. Read more »

Livestock Statistician Knows Data Matter to Many

2013 is the International Year of Statistics. As part of this global event, every month this year USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will profile careers of individuals who are making significant contributions to improve agricultural statistics in the United States.

Growing up on a small general crop and livestock farm in central Minnesota cultivated my enthusiasm for agriculture. Even then I knew I wanted to do something related to agriculture but I also knew the value of getting a good education. I attended the University of Minnesota to earn my undergraduate degree, after which I earned a Master of Science degree at North Dakota State University.

College provided me with skills in mathematics and agriculture but like most college graduates, no job. This is where the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) came into the picture. I joined the agency’s North Dakota field office as an agricultural statistician, allowing me to keep in touch with agriculture. Next I worked in the Idaho field office and then on to Washington, D.C. where I worked in both crops and livestock areas, finally settling into my current position as Chief of the Livestock Branch in 2001. Read more »

Food Waste: The Problem May be Bigger Than You Think

Think big.  Think Sear’s Tower big and then multiply by 44.

That is approximately the volume of food that is lost from the U.S. food supply annually at retail food stores, restaurants, and homes combined.

Now think of all the labor, land, water, fertilizer, and other inputs that went into growing that food. It would take far more than a mega-city of skyscrapers to contain it all.  Production of wasted food pulls all these resources away from uses that may be more beneficial to society – and it generates impacts on the environment that may endanger the long-run health of the planet.  The environmental footprint of food waste starts at agricultural production and extends through to food processing, transportation, retail, preparation and/or disposal, depending on where along the way the food is discarded. Read more »

NIFA Ag Research Counts

To recognize the contribution that research in agriculture makes in our daily lives, we’re focusing this month’s Science Tuesday blogs on the successes that USDA science agencies have achieved for us all.

For over a century, USDA research has spurred innovation and created many great products for our families, but we haven’t done it alone. Partnering with a vast network of university scientists — as well as other federal agencies, private industry, and other groups — the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) supports agricultural research and extension through competitive grants on topics of great importance to us all. NIFA is also committed to educating our youth in science and agriculture, supporting opportunities for rural communities, 4-H, and scholars programs. So, today we’re focusing on the research of NIFA and its partners because “Ag Research Counts” every day, for every American. We’re continuing our trivia contest on Facebook with questions from past ‘Science Tuesday’ blogs. Feel free to participate on Twitter using the hashtag #AgResearchCounts. Here are this week’s blogs featuring NIFA-funded research that impacts each of us every day: Read more »