Cross-posted from the Let’s Move! Blog:
Ensuring our nation’s schoolchildren have the necessary nutrition to learn, grow, and thrive is commitment that we take very seriously at U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). On the heels of the historic passage of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, USDA has now released a proposed rule to enhance the quality of school meals by requiring more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk in our national school meals programs. In addition to these healthy offerings, schools will have new standards to limit the levels of saturated fat, sodium, calories, and trans fats in those same meals.
As children now eat as many as two meals a day at school, it’s clear that the school food environment plays a more vital role in their health and welfare. The science-based recommendations are, in fact, consistent with an Institute of Medicine report on improving the health of children. Read more »
A few years ago, RAM Trucking was mainly a hauler of building materials—but everyone knows what happened to the housing market. Yet, RAM Trucking is still on the road and more resilient than ever.
To safely steer his company when the economy began to slide, President Dale Latimer applied a basic principle of driving in hazardous conditions: When the weather gets rough, keep your tires inflated to the right pressure and make sure you’ve got enough tread. In this case, getting enough tread meant restructuring the company’s financing and accessing working capital to position for opportunities beyond the construction arena. Read more »
On January 10 and 11, 2011, USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations (OTR) visited Anchorage to conduct a consultation with Alaska Tribes on a wide range of subjects.
At the Consultation, OTR staff, and local and national agency officials met with representatives of Alaska’s Tribes for a discussion of programs and rules of four USDA agencies: Rural Development; Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Service; Farm Service Agency; and Natural Resource Conservation Service. Through this process, USDA was provided with valuable local insight, comments and recommendations concerning delivery of the Department’s programs to Alaska’s Native people. Much discussion related to the Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA) provision of the 2008 Farm Bill. Read more »
It’s a movement that began in 2009 with a jackhammer and the desire to transform the land surrounding USDA Headquarters into a healthier, more sustainable landscape. Immediately support for such an effort poured in and the first People’s Garden was built here in Washington, DC. A few months’ later employees outside the Capital Beltway received a challenge from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack encouraging them to be involved in these efforts and create similar gardens at their USDA facility or within the community where they work. A movement that started with one garden was about to spread its roots and it did just that in 2010. Read more »
USDA Forest Service Smokejumpers are trained to climb trees in case they, or their supplies, land in them. When Smokejumpers aren’t fighting wildfires, the USDA Forest Service calls on them to use their tree climbing skills to complete a variety of natural resource management projects, such as harvesting pine cones and constructing owl nesting boxes.
While many USDA Forest Service employees spend their summers working as Smokejumpers fighting wildfires in the west, they in turn spend their falls in the east working as Beetle Busters, helping the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) combat the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). Read more »
USDA’s 2011 Agricultural Outlook Forum, Feb. 24-25, will present 25 breakout sessions, including two on energy: “Renewable Energy Policy Perspectives” and “Renewable Energy: Next Steps.”
The first session is policy oriented and will present an overview of existing policy such as implementation of the RFS2 and related issues such as the E15 and meeting future mandates. The second speaker will focus on climate change and carbon sequestration related to the growth in renewable energy. A third speaker will discuss future directions, particularly the next farm bill and pending energy legislation. The speakers include: Paul N. Argyropoulos, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Transportation & Air Quality, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Bill Hohenstein, Director, Office of Global Climate Change, OCE, USDA; and Jerry Hagstrom of The Hagstrom Report. Harry Baumes, Director, OEPNU, OCE, USDA, will moderate the session. Read more »