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Oh the Meals You Can Make With USDA Foods and Some Creativity

“Creativity is contagious, pass it on.” These words, spoken by Albert Einstein, can hold true for anything. USDA’s Commodity Procurement Program enjoys seeing schools and other organizations develop creative, healthy meals featuring foods we purchase for federal feeding programs. We hope that finding innovative ways to use USDA foods is contagious and that others catch on.

During a recent conference, USDA saw how a bit of ingenuity can turn low-sodium corn, dried beans, and fresh squash into a tasty meal. Inspired by the American Indian tradition of the three sisters, Tocabe, an American Indian Eatery used corn and beans from USDA Foods and squash from the Department of Defense Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to make a healthy soup. Read more »

StrikeForce in Action with Nevada’s Native American Tribes

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Administrator Della John, and USDA Office of Tribal Relations Director Leslie Wheelock (right) at a hoop house operated by the Tribe. USDA photo.

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Administrator Della John, and USDA Office of Tribal Relations Director Leslie Wheelock (right) at a hoop house operated by the Tribe. USDA photo.

Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to participate in the National Congress of American Indian’s (NCAI) mid-year meeting in Reno, Nevada.   The NCAI meeting was a warm and familiar place for me, as I recently left a position as NCAI’s Director of Economic Development to assume my current position as Director of USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations.

While I was in Nevada, I wanted to be certain to see Secretary Vilsack’s StrikeForce Initiative in action, as I was aware that Nevada’s USDA leaders had selected Nevada’s Indian reservations for their StrikeForce focus.  What a day I had on June 26!  It was tremendous to experience the mutual vigor among tribal leaders, USDA leaders, and their respective teams. Read more »

Mudding On National Forests Is Illegal and Destructive

The aftermath of "mudders" driving their vehicles through a pristine meadow on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington. Participants could face charges including malicious mischief and fines up to and including paying for the costs of restoration. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

The aftermath of "mudders" driving their vehicles through a pristine meadow on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington. Participants could face charges including malicious mischief and fines up to and including paying for the costs of restoration. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

Mudders, take note: It is against the law to tear up forest roads and meadows for fun, and the legal and financial consequences can be steep. Tearing up high-country meadows with four-wheel-drive and off-road vehicles destroys wildlife habitat and ecosystems.

During a recent investigation, Forest Service law enforcement officers gathered information about mudding that occurred over Memorial Day weekend on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest at Buck Lake Campground, near Winthrop, Wash. Read more »

Digitizing Our Agricultural History; 77 Years of Annual Statistics Now Online

<em>Agricultural Statistics</em> has a long history of publication and is an important archive for researchers to study the history of U.S. farming.

Agricultural Statistics has a long history of publication and is an important archive for researchers to study the history of U.S. farming.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Did you know that more than 11 million Americans worked on farms in 1930, of which 8.3 million were family workers? Compare that to the fewer than 1.5 million workers employed in agriculture during the peak harvest months of 2011.

Every year, the Department of Agriculture releases a reference book of major agricultural statistics for the United States and countries around the world. It is a one-stop location for annual production, consumption, trade, and price data for all sorts of crops and livestock, as well as spending for government programs, farm economics, and lots of other statistics important to our country’s agricultural system. Agricultural Statistics has a long history of publication, and is an important archive for researchers to study the history of U.S. farming. Read more »

Smokey Bear Gives Bear Hugs in New Wildfire Prevention Campaign

Imagine dousing your campfire then getting a big bear hug from Smokey Bear, the iconic symbol of wildfire prevention for nearly 70 years.

That’s the idea behind three videos in a new series of Smokey Bear public service advertisements released July 12, 2013, designed to raise awareness about wildfire prevention. The Smokey Bear campaign is the longest running PSA campaign in U.S. History. The new ads will feature his well-known tagline, “Only YOU can prevent wildfires.” The new twist is the bear hugs. Read more »

Acting Under Secretary Discusses Food Hubs, Inspects USDA-Funded Life-Saving Helicopters, Medical Facilities, in New York

We recently hosted Acting Under Secretary Doug O’Brien for a series of site visits and a roundtable with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in Western New York state focusing on the possibilities, advantages and challenges of expanding the presence of food hubs throughout the state. I was able to join the Under Secretary as we spoke with rural stakeholders, business owners and farmers from East Aurora, N.Y.

We heard from rural stakeholders, business owners and farmers who knew best what the opportunities and challenges were as we and Senator Gillibrand’s staff shared what resources were available. After all, increasing the number of food hubs will increase market expansion for our farmers goods, providing access to affordable and healthy foods will greatly contribute to the health and well-being of the state and its citizens. Read more »