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

Secretary’s Column: Decades of Partnership in Research

Nearly 150 years ago – on July 2, 1862, just two months after the creation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture – President Lincoln signed another historic measure, the Morrill Act, which created the land grant university system.

Over the years, land grant colleges and universities have had a tremendously positive impact on our nation, graduating more than 20 million students. And in partnership with USDA, more than 100 land-grant institutions and other research partners have helped conduct the groundbreaking research that remains the envy of the world. Read more »

New People’s Garden Marks Upcoming 150th Anniversary of USDA

Many children believe their food comes from the grocery store. But a class of 23 Mississippi second-graders knows better than that – the delicious food they love starts with a seed.

Students from Madison Avenue Elementary plant a People’s Garden in Mississippi in honor of the upcoming 150th anniversary of USDA.

Students from Madison Avenue Elementary plant a People’s Garden in Mississippi in honor of the upcoming 150th anniversary of USDA.

Students from Madison Avenue Elementary visited a new People’s Garden at an office of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and planted seeds of squash, watermelon, pumpkin, cucumber and, of course, the “Abraham Lincoln” tomato. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: “The Peoples’ Department: 150 Years of USDA”

On May 15, we will recognize the 150th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  On that date in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act of Congress establishing USDA.

Two and a half years after he established the Department, in what would be his final annual message to Congress, Lincoln called USDA “The People’s Department.”

President Lincoln knew the importance of agriculture to our prosperity – particularly at a time when about half of all Americans lived on the farm. And while that number today stands at about 2 percent, our values are still rooted in rural America. Read more »

Forest Service Law Enforcement Officers Connect with Kids at Career Day in Georgia

Law enforcement officers with the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests joined forces with about 70 other professionals recently to showcase their careers at Clarkesville Elementary School in Clarkesville, Ga.

Officer Derik Breedlove gives potential future Forest Service law enforcement officers an opportunity to try out the view from an ATV seat.  Photo credit: USDA Forest Service/Stuart Delugach

Officer Derik Breedlove gives potential future Forest Service law enforcement officers an opportunity to try out the view from an ATV seat. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service/Stuart Delugach

The Forest Service is a regular participant in the school’s career day.  Captain Stuart Delugach and Officer Derik Breedlove talked with the students about jobs in Forest Service law enforcement.  This year they met with approximately 500 students and showed off some of the tools of the trade, including their All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and law enforcement vehicles. Read more »

New Solar Energy System Powers Scenic Area Visitor Center on California’s Inyo National Forest

The Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Visitors Center is a large public building that is used by more than 140,000 visitors a year. With steeply rising utility costs over the last decade limited funding for operational costs were suggesting shorter operating hours and reduced seasonal openings to save money. To avoid limiting public services, the Forest Service began to explore alternative solutions.

A new photovoltaic system for the Mono Basin Visitor Center on the Inyo National Forest will save taxpayers an estimated $20-25,000 in energy costs. Photo credit: U.S. Forest Service photo

A new photovoltaic system for the Mono Basin Visitor Center on the Inyo National Forest will save taxpayers an estimated $20-25,000 in energy costs. Photo credit: U.S. Forest Service photo

Situated in a climate where the sun shines an average of 289 days of the year, installation of a photovoltaic power system for the visitor center offered a logical opportunity to cut energy costs and reduce the agency’s carbon footprint.  In 2010, Forest Service Recovery Act funding offered the opportunity for the investment for the energy and money saving technology. Read more »

Organic 101: Complaints and How They’re Handled

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

When the National Organic Program (NOP) declared in late 2009 that it was the beginning of the “age of enforcement,” it renewed its mission to protect the integrity of the USDA organic seal and the products labeled organic.

Enforcement efforts are a critical part of that mission, and investigating violations of the organic standards alleged by complaints is an integral component of the NOP’s work. Read more »