“Each audit is different and a unique experience—which I love, because it allows me to work with all facets of agriculture.” – Nikki Adams, USDA PVP Auditor
As an auditor for USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), I am one of a small group of highly-qualified individuals from across the country who audits companies that use our programs and services to add value to their products in the market place. One of these programs is the USDA Process Verified Program, or USDA PVP for short.
For a PVP audit, I do a significant amount of preparation before I’m even on-site, pouring over the Quality Manual the company prepared as part of their application. The Quality Manual – the starting point for any PVP – documents all of the process points, the scope of each, and the standard I am ensuring they will meet. To evaluate this effectively, I rely on my extensive training in International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) quality management system requirements and audit principles, as well as training specific to the industry, processes, and points being audited. Read more »
March 9, 2016 is National Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day
In honor of Registered Dietitian Day, today we celebrate Registered Dietitians around the country, working in all facets of society including the Federal government. Across the Federal family, RDs work in nutrition research, nutrition education development, nutrition policy, nutrition assistance programs, and much more, providing leadership, knowledge and expertise that is critical to Federal programs. To help celebrate RD Day the President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics highlights the importance of RDs and their service to Federal nutrition programs.
By Dr. Evelyn F. Crayton, RDN, LDN, FAND, President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
I am proud to be a registered dietitian nutritionist, especially on Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, which is being celebrated today – March 9. This special day, created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, recognizes nearly 100,000 devoted food and nutrition experts and recognizes RDNs in every area of practice.
Among my greatest sources of pride are the RDNs who work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other government agencies to decrease food insecurity and improve food safety throughout the United States. Read more »
Carrie Harmon works at University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Science labs with the National Plant Diagnostic Network. Photo courtesy of Ray Hammerschmidt
With support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the National Plant Diagnostic Network has grown into an internationally respected consortium of plant diagnostic laboratories dedicated to enhancing agricultural security by protecting health and productivity of plants in agricultural and natural ecosystems.
Dr. Ray Hammerschmidt, President of the National Plant Diagnostic Network, discusses this partnership and the benefits all Americans receive in the following guest post:
Superheroes really do work among us. But, instead of capes and cowls and ice palaces and caves, they are often found in a lab at a public university or state agriculture department, wearing lab coats and working over a microscope.
These men and women work daily to protect our communities and crops from dangerous pests and pathogens. They are plant pathologists, entomologists, nematologists, weed scientists, and other plant scientists who work diligently to mitigate the impact of endemic, emerging, and exotic pathogens and pests that attack agricultural, forest, and landscape plants in the United States. Read more »
Isolated depressional wetlands are an integral part of the local ecosystem and often provide wetland restoration opportunities.
Is it possible to simultaneously promote natural resources conservation and the growth of businesses that impact the environment? Yes. One way to do so is through “compensatory mitigation.” Compensatory mitigation is the preservation, restoration and/or establishment of a resource to offset unavoidable adverse impacts to the resource elsewhere.
For example, a compensatory mitigation agreement created in 2013 helped advance conservation in Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests in South Carolina and business growth in the surrounding area. Here’s how: Under the agreement, three local businesses supported restoration projects that improved aquatic resources located inside the Forests in order to mitigate projects that had unavoidable impacts on wetlands located outside the Forests, typically within the same ecosystem. The three participating businesses were: Duke Energy, Boeing, and The City of Charleston. Unavoidable impacts to streams, wetlands and salt marsh were mitigated under the novel agreement. Read more »
USDA programs encourage efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and supports the health of our next generation. (USDA-ARS photo by Keith Weller)
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.
March is National Nutrition Month, an annual observance that encourages Americans to adopt a healthy eating pattern that includes nutritious and flavorful foods. What started as a week-long event in 1973 by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics became a month-long celebration in 1980, thanks to growing public interest in nutrition. Food and nutrition professionals often celebrate this special month by providing educational and fun resources and treats—such as information booths, posters, games, recipes, and healthy snacks—to promote healthy eating in the workplace and at home. This year’s theme, “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” encourages food traditions and the appreciation of eating flavorful foods with friends and family. Read more »
Maple Avenue Market Farm co-owner Sara Guerre invited students to learn about their local farmers, during a National School Lunch Week event at Nottingham Elementary School in Arlington, VA, on Wednesday, October 12, 2011. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.
Bridgette Matthews is a Lead Mentor for USDA’s Team Up for Nutrition Success Initiative, which provides school food authorities with tailored technical assistance and training to successfully implement the school meal patterns. Here, Bridgette discusses the importance of training for school nutrition staff. A recent study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that the majority of school food service directors believe their staffs need more training to maximize the benefits of the new nutrition standards. Bridgette’s examples demonstrate how proper training can not only help staff meet the new standards, but also prepare them to teach students about making healthy choices.
By Bridgette Matthews, School Nutrition Director for Elbert County Schools, Georgia
Like their fellow educators down the hall, the school nutrition professionals I work with must be well-prepared to answer students’ tough questions. That’s why staff training and development are crucial parts of our school meal program—for me as the director and for our whole team.
Nutrition training is particularly important for my front-line servers and cashiers, because they’re the ones who talk with students the most each day. How they respond to even a seemingly minor question—such as “Why doesn’t this sandwich have pickles?”—can affect children’s choices and their overall impression of our program. Read more »