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Ancient Pacific Creation Legend Promotes Soil Health

Ancient Palauans feeding the giant child, Chuab. This painting is common on traditional meeting houses. Photo courtesy of NRCS.

Ancient Palauans feeding the giant child, Chuab. This painting is common on traditional meeting houses. Photo courtesy of NRCS.

Imagine talking about soil management to 50 farmers from Palau with a collective 1,500 years of experience. The Ngetkip Community’s minister of community and cultural affairs requested me, a resource conservationist with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Palau, to talk about soil.

These farmers mostly have no formal education or training. They still farm mostly with hand tools and as their parents and grandparents taught them. They know what to do, what works well and how to do it. But they don’t necessarily know why. Read more »

This Week At USDA – A Video Recap of Our Top Headlines

Today we posted the first edition of a new video feature at USDA. Each week we’ll share a rundown of some of the key announcements, activities, and current events related to our work at USDA, giving you the highlights. Tune in next week, and let us know what you think of the first edition – we’d love your feedback!

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How I Serve: The Importance of Public Service

Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden meets with USDA employees in Minnesota.

Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden meets with USDA employees in Minnesota.

Yesterday, I visited with USDA employees in Minnesota to tell them how much their work means to the Secretary, myself and the American people. USDA employees across the country and around the world do critical work that impacts millions of lives and I could not be prouder.

Folks often ask me why I work in the federal government and my answer always is: it’s how I serve. Public service is at the core of our nation’s principles. Our founding fathers performed a public service when they laid the foundation for the United States of America—as they sat down to write the Declaration of Independence and as they worked each day afterward to create and maintain a nation. Read more »

We Can’t Wait

Michael Scuse, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, listens to those impacted by the Atlas Blizzard in South Dakota.

Michael Scuse, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, listens to those impacted by the Atlas Blizzard in South Dakota.

Farmers and ranchers know many variables are sometimes not in their hands, especially when it comes to weather.  That’s why USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Senator Tim Johnson asked me to travel to South Dakota this week to see firsthand the widespread destruction to livestock in the wake of the Atlas Blizzard, and to consult with affected producers on how USDA can help right now – - despite two years of Congressional inaction on the Food, Farm and Jobs Bill.

When I joined one farmer in his living room, learning how his livestock losses, including pregnant stock, meant years of income gone, I thought of Congress, how it lurches from one crisis to the next, and how that legislative atrophy creates real consequences beyond just American farmers but for entire rural communities. Read more »

USDA Market News Mow-tivated to Add Grass Fed Reports

USDA is committed to supporting businesses of all sizes. Fostering marketplace transparency is just one of the many ways we meet this goal.

USDA is committed to supporting businesses of all sizes. Fostering marketplace transparency is just one of the many ways we meet this goal.

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service released its second USDA Market News report covering grass fed beef yesterday.  This is the first report of its kind, filling a significant data gap for the industry and increasing transparency in the marketplace.

For almost a century, USDA Market News has provided farmers, ranchers and businesses with market and pricing information.  Over the years, our reports have evolved to better meet the changing demands and needs of stakeholders who rely on our data to remain competitive. Read more »

Farm to School Helps Healthy Habits Take Root in Kids, Yields Big Results for Farmers and Ranchers

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released our first-ever Farm to School Census, and the results are promising: last school year, schools served locally-sourced foods to over 21 million students and re-invested over $350 million back into local economies.

Farm to school programs are thriving in not only rural, but also urban districts in every state, with 43 percent of public school districts reporting having a farm to school program in place and an additional 13 percent committed to launching a farm to school program in the near future. Read more »