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Age is Just a Number for 100-Year-old Farmer

A new calf, new life on the ranch, is reason for Annie Woodson, 100, to step out into the pasture and the Texas sunshine.

A new calf, new life on the ranch, is reason for Annie Woodson, 100, to step out into the pasture and the Texas sunshine.

Ms. Annie Faye Woodson has been directly involved in farming and ranching in Texas for the last 76 years. At 100 years-old she stays up-to-date on Farm Service Agency (FSA) program news and still makes trips to the Fannin County FSA office to sign up for farm programs and to certify acres.  It is no surprise that Woodson has seen many changes throughout her life on the farm.

“I rode in a wagon, buggy and tractor,” said Woodson. “Technology is the biggest change I’ve seen in my lifetime.” Read more »

Innovative Partnership to Protect Colorado Springs Water Supply

An AmeriCorps crew performs bank stabilization work at the site of the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs, Colo. Projects like this will be enhanced with the 5-year partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and Colorado Springs Utilities, which will contribute $6 million over the next five to 10 years. (US Forest Service photo/Mike Stearly)

An AmeriCorps crew performs bank stabilization work at the site of the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs, Colo. Projects like this will be enhanced with the 5-year partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and Colorado Springs Utilities, which will contribute $6 million over the next five to 10 years. (US Forest Service photo/Mike Stearly)

The U.S. Forest Service and Colorado Springs (Colo.) Utilities recently announced a new 5-year partnership to help restore the areas burned by the devastating Waldo Canyon Fire that tore through part of the west side of the city in 2012.

Through the partnership, Colorado Springs Utilities will invest approximately $6 million in support of the watershed health goals and activities over the next five to 10 years. The Forest Service will complete on-the-ground project planning and treatment in areas that complement Colorado Springs Utilities investments. Read more »

Vegetable Processing Facility “Northern Girl” Gears up for Fresh Veggies

It may be spring time, but the staff of Northern Girl already has big plans for fall, when their new vegetable processing facility officially opens in Van Buren, Maine. Funded in part through a USDA Rural Development Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG), the new 4,000 square foot facility will allow for the potential for year round processing of locally-grown vegetables.

This project is a really valuable asset – not only does it support a growing Maine business and 12 rural northern Maine farms, but it also puts fresh, locally-grown vegetables, “bounty from the county,” on the shelves for consumers in Maine and other parts of New England to enjoy. It reflects USDA Rural Development’s solid commitment to support local and regional food systems.

Read more »

New Export Markets, New Opportunities for Rural America

2009-2012 stand as the strongest four years for agricultural exports in history.

2009-2012 stand as the strongest four years for agricultural exports in history.

Today, the American brand of agriculture is surging in popularity worldwide. Fiscal years 2009-2012 represent the strongest four years in history for agricultural trade, with U.S. agricultural product exports exceeding $478 billion over these four years. Overall, American agriculture supports 1 in 12 jobs in the United States and provides American consumers with 83 percent of the food we consume, while maintaining affordability and choice. And 2013 is off to a roaring start already – with agricultural exports on track to set a new record.

Just last week, USDA announced three initiatives that expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade. These announcements support President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double all U.S. exports by the end of 2014, as well as underscore USDA’s commitment to a strong and resilient agricultural economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth nationwide. Read more »

Enhancing Yogurt with Healthful Fiber From Oats

ARS scientists performed tests on low-fat yogurt to see how much oat fiber can be added without affecting key qualities of this popular dairy food.

ARS scientists performed tests on low-fat yogurt to see how much oat fiber can be added without affecting key qualities of this popular dairy food.

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 the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Yogurt is pretty healthy already, so how do you make it even healthier? Well, Agricultural Research Services (ARS) scientists have found a way – - by adding fiber. They’ve added very small amounts of a fiber-rich component of oats, called beta-glucan, to low-fat yogurt without noticeably affecting key characteristics such as the yogurt’s thick, creamy texture that many of us love. Read more »

When Traveling, Bring Back Fun Memories-Not Invasive Pests!

Agricultural items in passenger baggage: R. Anson Eaglin, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Agricultural items in passenger baggage: R. Anson Eaglin, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Travel is a popular activity for a lot of people.  When traveling outside the United States, what you bring back really does matter.  We want to protect our country from invasive plant pests and diseases to help keep our agriculture and forests safe.

You don’t want to inadvertently bring a pest or disease back with you.  That’s why Customs officials ask you to declare any food, plant items or handicrafts you have with you when you are returning to the U.S.  They know what items pose a risk and need to be kept out of the country. Many of those items are things you may not think could possibly cause a problem, but they could cause severe problems here at home—who wants that? Read more »