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To Wash or Not to Wash… Your Turkey?

Washing anything makes it cleaner and safer, right? Not necessarily.

Wash your hands, but not the turkey!  Many consumers think that washing their turkey will remove bacteria and make it safer.  However, it’s virtually impossible to wash bacteria off the bird. Instead, juices that splash during washing can transfer bacteria onto the surfaces of your kitchen, other foods and utensils. This is called cross-contamination, which can make you and your guests very sick.  Washing your hands before and after handling your turkey and its packaging is crucial to avoid spreading harmful bacteria. Read more »

¿Lavar o No el Pavo?

Lavar cualquier cosa lo hace más limpio y seguro, ¿verdad?

Lave sus manos, ¡pero NO el pavo! Los consumidores piensan que lavar sus pavos ha de remover las bacterias y hacerlos más seguros. Sin embargo, resulta virtualmente imposible lavar la bacteria del ave. Sin embargo, los fluidos que salpican durante el lavado pueden transferir bacteria a superficies de su cocina, otros alimentos, y utensilios. Esto es llamado “contaminación cruzada”, lo cual puede enfermarle mucho a usted y a sus invitados. El lavarse sus manos antes y después de manejar su pavo y su empaque es crucial para evitar propagar la bacterias dañinas. Read more »

Make Small Changes for a Healthy Holiday – Makeover Your Holiday Plate with MyPlate

MyPlate Holiday Makeover. Click to Enlarge.

MyPlate Holiday Makeover. Click to Enlarge.

We all cherish time-honored holiday traditions; yet want to make healthier choices when celebrating the holiday season. Simple swaps or ingredient substitutions are a great way to revamp classic favorites – making them healthier without sacrificing the memories.

The MyPlate Holiday Makeover infographic provides ideas to help you make great choices. From baking to seasoning, this new resource can show you an easier way to make your meals healthier. Choose recipes that include unsweetened applesauce or mashed ripe bananas instead of butter. Boost the flavor of foods with spices and herbs such as cinnamon, cumin, or thyme and cut back the sugar and salt. Brighten up your meals with fruits and vegetables and go easy on the sauces, gravies, and cream. Read more »

New Issue Papers: Exploring Environmental Markets

All of us rely on nature’s benefits during our daily routines, but few stop to think about how we can sustain those benefits over time. Luckily, there are economists, resource managers, and policymakers working on tools to help manage resources—and environmental markets are one of those tools. Environmental markets allow people who use ecosystem services to pay those who provide environmental benefits. In some cases, the environmental stewards who can provide benefits (like clean water, air and habitats) are farmers. While there is promise in environmental markets, there are a lot of kinks to work out.

Two new issue papers by the World Resources Institute, take a deep dive into the mechanics of water quality trading and other environmental markets by exploring options for market development.  The papers were produced with support from the USDA Office of Environmental Markets, and were released earlier this month. Read more »

Farm Service Agency Resuming Payments to Millions of Farmers & Ranchers

Within a week after the government opened from a 16-day shutdown in October, Farm Service Agency employees were able to quickly issue payments to more than 1 million farmers and ranchers.

Secretary Vilsack said that he was “proud of the commitment by USDA employees” to ensure these conservation and safety net funds reached America’s farmers and ranchers. “USDA assures rural America that it remains a priority, and these actions by FSA staff serve as yet another reminder that America needs passage of a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible to continue support of producers.” Read more »

Forest, Grasslands Users Now Have Access to Digital Maps

Digital maps available for your smart phone will help visitors find their way around U.S. Forest Service forests and grasslands.

Digital maps available for your smart phone will help visitors find their way around U.S. Forest Service forests and grasslands.

Scaling a mountain or hiking across a meadow is a peaceful, exhilarating exploration – unless you don’t know which fork in the trail to take.

It used to mean taking out a folded map, holding onto it tightly so the wind won’t blow it away or trying to shelter it from raindrops. Now dealing with a map may be faster, easier and more convenient by opening your smart device and using a U.S. Forest Service digital map you downloaded for free or for a nominal fee.

“In many areas of our national forests or grasslands, internet connections are just not available,” said Joan Steber, a cartographer who worked on the digital map project. “The free app and static maps will help because the user downloads the maps to their Apple or Android device before heading to a national forest or grassland.” Read more »