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Organic 101: “Organic” in the Brand Name…Organic in the Package

By clarifying expectations for organic certifiers, USDA’s instruction ensures that all organic products are labeled consistently, assure consumers that all organic labeling requirements are being met and provide a fair market for all organic operations.

By clarifying expectations for organic certifiers, USDA’s instruction ensures that all organic products are labeled consistently, assure consumers that all organic labeling requirements are being met and provide a fair market for all organic operations.

This is the nineteenth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.

When consumers see the word “organic” on a product package or label, they have expectations about what is inside the package.  The National Organic Program (NOP), part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), protects the integrity of the organic label by ensuring that organic producers and handlers meet consumer expectations.  The NOP recently published an instruction that will bring more clarity to products with brand names containing the word “organic.”

Organic products have strict production and labeling requirements.  They must be produced and handled by operations that are certified as complying with the USDA organic regulations; made without the use of genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, or sewage sludge; and use substances allowed by the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). Read more »

New Southeast Climate Hub Website Contains Information for Producers and Partners

Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) Initiative participant Steve Barlow looks over the longleaf pine forest on his property in Levy County, FL.

Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) Initiative participant Steve Barlow looks over the longleaf pine forest on his property in Levy County, FL.

As of this week, there is a new online resource for information about the USDA Climate Hubs: http://climatehubs.oce.usda.gov/. The site features a variety of national and regional content on climate variability and its effects on working lands-including a new suite of pages specific to the Southeast Hub.

Within the Southeast Hub pages, you’ll find info on important regional assessmentsdata and research products, and key educational materials to help farmers, land managers, Extension agents, and other partners adapt to climate related stressors. Read more »

Revamped Online Newsroom Provides Latest Conservation Information

NRCS recently revamped its online newsroom, www.nrcs.usda.gov/newsroom, adding new features and polishing up existing ones.

NRCS recently revamped its online newsroom, www.nrcs.usda.gov/newsroom, adding new features and polishing up existing ones.

In the agency’s early days, we used a monthly, 16-page publication called Soil Conservation to share the cutting-edge stories and technologies for taming soil erosion.

It was filled with photos and stories about a pillaged Dust Bowl era landscape, and how our agency, now called USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), was working with farmers to make the land idyllic once again. Read more »

Happy Birthday! USDA Celebrates WIC Program Anniversary, Accomplishments

New moms participate in a group discussion with WIC counselor.

New moms participate in a group discussion with WIC counselor.

Birthdays are truly special occasions, celebrating a milestone of achievement. This week, USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (better known as WIC) celebrates the program’s 40th anniversary, highlighting four decades of helping improve the lives of millions of infants and children across America.

Since the first WIC clinic opened in Pineville, Ky., back in 1974, the program now provides services through almost 1,900 local agencies in all 50 states, 34 Tribal Organizations, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Read more »

Arkansas Farmers Combine Tradition with Stewardship

Variety.  Many Arkansas land-owners collectively harvest crops from catfish to poultry to rice to snap beans to watermelons, making Arkansas agriculture thrive.  Check back next Thursday for more interesting information on another state from the 2012 Census of Agriculture!

Variety. Many Arkansas land-owners collectively harvest crops from catfish to poultry to rice to snap beans to watermelons, making Arkansas agriculture thrive. Check back next Thursday for more interesting information on another state from the 2012 Census of Agriculture!

The Census of Agriculture is the most complete account of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Every Thursday USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will highlight new Census data and the power of the information to shape the future of American agriculture.

Farming has a huge presence in Arkansas, as evidenced by the results of the recent Census of Agriculture. In 2012, our state ranked 14th in the nation in value of agriculture products sold. That year Arkansas farmers sold $9.78 billion worth of crops and livestock!

Our state cuisine is the perfect indicator of our state’s farming. Rice is a staple in our kitchens, and not surprisingly, Arkansas rice growers led the nation in production of this important crop. In 2012, 1.29 million acres of Arkansas farmland were dedicated to rice production. Almost half of all U.S. rice came from our farmers that year. Read more »

Made In Rural Vermont – Enjoyed Worldwide

A maple syrup producer in Vermont (Photo courtesy USDA)

A maple syrup producer in Vermont (Photo courtesy USDA)

What has 40 calories per tablespoon, contains potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, Vitamins B2, B5 and B6, the same calcium levels as whole milk, and is completely natural and organic?

Chances are maple syrup wasn’t the first food to come to mind, but it’s true! Real maple syrup has less calories per tablespoon than canola oil, contains 9 essential vitamins and nutrients, and when made properly, it is completely natural, organic and additive free. The benefits to maple syrup are greater than the collection of healthy nutrients inside the product. Maple syrup is good not only for a hot stack of pancakes, but also for America’s rural economy. Read more »