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

“Spuds Unearthed!” Exhibit Digs Up History of the Potato

Jean Ristaino of North Carolina State University used USDA funds to sequence late blight disease, pictured, responsible for the Irish potato famine. Her research is leading to new ways to combat the disease.

Jean Ristaino of North Carolina State University used USDA funds to sequence late blight disease, pictured, responsible for the Irish potato famine. Her research is leading to new ways to combat the disease.

The potato is the world’s fourth largest food crop and is the largest vegetable crop in the United States. The crop originated in the Andes Mountains in South America, and in the ensuing 7,000 years, has spread across the globe. Potatoes have played an important role in saving populations of people around the world from starvation. However, the potato has had a tumultuous history, suffering from late blight disease, which caused the Irish potato famine and a severe outbreak in 2009 in the United States. Read more »

Rural Development Employees “Pour Sweat Equity” Into Home Building

Volunteers secure the north end wall of the house after it is lifted into place.

Volunteers secure the north end wall of the house after it is lifted into place.

A nice break in the recent rainy weather in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia offered perfect timing for a Self-Help Build day.  The event which was held September 29, 2010, has become an annual occurrence during which volunteers gather to help families build their homes. Read more »

2010 Robert Bateman Get to Know Contest Launches on October 1

Renowned wildlife artists Robert Bateman and Wyland, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, invite American youth to “get to know” their wild neighbors of other species. The Get to Know contest encourages young people to develop a deeper appreciation of biodiversity through art, writing, photography and video. Entries based on a first-hand experience with nature can be submitted at www.gettoknow.ca from October 1 to November 30, 2010. Read more »

The Eldridge Family: A Tennessee Family Living the Ag Life and Loving It

Pictured is (back l to r) Tony Eldridge, Winston Lewis, Ron Eldridge; (middle l to r) Hoover Eldridge, Denese Eldridge, Courtney Lewis and Kaelin Wilkins.

Pictured is (back l to r) Tony Eldridge, Winston Lewis, Ron Eldridge; (middle l to r) Hoover Eldridge, Denese Eldridge, Courtney Lewis and Kaelin Wilkins.

Farming for the Eldridge family began in the late 1800’s when Hoover Eldridge’s grandfather settled in the eastern portion of Stewart County, Tenn. Through the years the farming operation has consisted of producing crops such as corn, soybeans and tobacco, as well as a variety of livestock such as goats, chickens, pigs and beef cattle. Read more »

The Recovery Act in Your Community: Conservation for the Next Generation

Recovery Act funds helped install riparian fencing on Elizabeth Cunningham’s ranch.

Recovery Act funds helped install riparian fencing on Elizabeth Cunningham’s ranch.

Three family farms in California’s Stemple Creek Watershed recently received much-needed conservation assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). Read more »

Apps and Game Designers Level Up on Healthy Eating

From left: Peter Rhee, United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Communications grabs a few photographs for the USDA Blog as former Washington Redskins Running Back Brian Mitchell competes against brothers Frederick, Antonio and Joseph Blackwell (not shown) in the the computer game, “Smash Your Food.” “Smash Your Food” is the Third Place winning app in the The Apps for Healthy Kids games competition. Frederick won the game and a signed replica Pro Bowl helmet from Mitchell. The Apps for Healthy Kids competition is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation. The competition challenges software developers, game designers, students and other innovators to develop fun and engaging software tools and games to urge children, especially “tweens” (children ages 9-12) – directly or through their parents – to eat better and be more physically active. The applications are software tools or games for the web, personal computer, mobile handheld device, console or any software platform available to the public. The winners were honored at the White House, Wednesday, September 29. USDA Photo 10di15067-24 by Bob Nichols.

From left: Peter Rhee, USDA, grabs a few photographs as former Washington Redskins Running Back Brian Mitchell competes against brothers Frederick, Antonio and Joseph Blackwell (not shown) in the the computer game, “Smash Your Food.” “Smash Your Food” is the Third Place winning app in the The Apps for Healthy Kids games competition. Frederick won the game and a replica Pro Bowl helmet signed by Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns and Chris Hope of the Tennessee Titans.

Six months ago the Apps for Healthy Kids competition called upon Americans to design engaging online or mobile games and tools to educate people of all ages about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity. As part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, this challenge brought together solvers from across the Nation. Read more »