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Organic International – Opening New Markets for American Organic Producers

This partnership is a win for the American economy and sets the foundation for additional organic agricultural trade agreements in Asia.

This partnership is a win for the American economy and sets the foundation for additional organic agricultural trade agreements in Asia.

Today, we celebrate a historical announcement in the global organic community – beginning in 2014 organic products certified in Japan or in the U.S. may be sold as organic in either country.

The United States has trade arrangements with several nations to facilitate the global exchange of organic products. This particular partnership will streamline access to the growing Japanese organic market for American farmers and processors, benefiting the thriving organic industry and supporting jobs and businesses on a global scale. Equally important is that consumers benefit from a diverse array of organic products year-round. Read more »

Food Safety and Chicken Served in the National School Lunch Program

In response to a recent report about chicken served in the National School Lunch Program, I wanted to provide some clarification.  Food safety is one of our highest priorities, and USDA is committed to ensuring that food served through the National School Lunch Program is both healthy and safe.

Schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program receive some of their foods through the USDA, and the rest is purchased on the commercial market.  USDA is only involved in the purchases that are made through our program, and all of the food provided through USDA is 100 percent domestically grown and produced. Read more »

Young Texas Trio Brings Technology to the Farm

The Gruhlkey brothers – Brittan, 24, Braden 25, and Cameron 20 – worked with NRCS through the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative to adopt better equipment and techniques to manage their water use. USDA photo.

The Gruhlkey brothers – Brittan, 24, Braden 25, and Cameron 20 – worked with NRCS through the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative to adopt better equipment and techniques to manage their water use. USDA photo.

The tales of young, tech-savvy entrepreneurs launching new ventures out of Silicon Valley are common. But what about three 20-something brothers who live – not in some high tech mecca – but near the small community of Wildorado, Texas, who started a new business venture?

The Gruhlkey brothers – Brittan, 24, Braden, 25, and Cameron, 20 – are farming cotton, corn, sorghum and wheat while showing how technology plays an important role in farming. The average age of Texas farmers is nearly 60 years old, making their enterprise a unique one and they’re doing this amid huge challenges, including an ongoing drought and a growing demand for water. Read more »

Students Reduce Erosion on the Hoosier National Forest

The Ohio River Foundation crewmembers Lydia Cook, Rose Guardino, Rose Johnson, Catherine Kagemann, Callie Schulenburg, and Brynne Taylor build a pollinator habitat. USFS Photo.

The Ohio River Foundation crewmembers Lydia Cook, Rose Guardino, Rose Johnson, Catherine Kagemann, Callie Schulenburg, and Brynne Taylor build a pollinator habitat. USFS Photo.

Streams will flow more freely and bees will have a new home on the Hoosier National Forest, thanks to the work of six young women from central Indiana.

The women — recent high school graduates from Bloomington High School North and South, a high school senior from Bedford, Ind., and an Indiana University student – spent three weeks in July working on ecological restoration projects in the forest.

The crew was hired by the Ohio River Foundation and funded through grants from Duke Energy-Indiana, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Read more »

What is USDA Doing to Protect our Nation’s Livestock from Foreign Animal Disease Threats?

On an island off the northeastern tip of Long Island, N.Y., U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are doing their part to safeguard the U.S. food supply.

At the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, a USDA research team works to ensure that we’re prepared to protect ourselves against exotic animal diseases that threaten livestock production in the United States and around the world. The center, now operated by the Department of Homeland Security, offers a safe and secure site for developing vaccines, diagnostic tests and other technology to help prevent animal disease outbreaks, and to respond to outbreaks that might occur.

USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists at Plum Island investigate infectious diseases such as classical swine fever and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Recently, they renewed efforts to help combat African swine fever, a deadly pig disease that’s invading other countries. Read more »

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with MiPlato

The 10 Tips Nutrition Education Series is available in English and Spanish.

The 10 Tips Nutrition Education Series is available in English and Spanish.

Para la versión en español de este blog, por favor visite: http://blogs.usda.gov/2013/09/25/celebre-el-mes-nacional-de-la-herencia-hispana-con-miplato

National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated annually from September 15th to October 15th, pays tribute to the history, culture and traditions of Americans with Hispanic ancestry.

To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month and increase awareness about MiPlato – the Spanish complement to MyPlate – the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion is launching new resources for Spanish-speaking audiences.  Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov and click on En Español to find the latest addition to the 10 Tips Nutrition Education Series, Disfrute Comidas de Varias Culturas (Enjoy Food from Many Cultures).  The new tip sheet celebrates ways to prepare healthier foods to meet diverse ethnic and cultural preferences. Read more »