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New State of the Art Food Bank Opens in West Texas

Kevin Concannon touring the new West Texas Food Bank

The new West Texas Food Bank facility has a dedicated client service area to help fulfill patrons’ nutritional needs.

March is National Nutrition Month. Throughout the month, USDA will be highlighting results of our efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and supporting the health of our next generation.

West Texans fighting food insecurity have a new resource to combat hunger. The West Texas Food Bank held the grand opening of their new 60,000 square foot location during a recent ceremony in Odessa.

In operation since 1985, the West Texas Food Bank saw the need for food grow exponentially in their communities, requiring them to expand their services. The new facility replaces the East 2nd Street building, and is a first-of-its-kind in West Texas. Thanks to generous donations from area philanthropists committed to fighting hunger locally, the facility will help meet the nutritional needs of more than 31,000 people living in poverty or food insecurity in Midland County, while serving 18 other West Texas counties.  According to the West Texas Food Bank Executive Director, Libby Campbell, the new facility offers more program opportunities for seniors, children, families and the homeless. Read more »

Pledge to Take the MyPlate, MyWins Challenge this March

MyPlate, MyWins Challenge pledge

Pledge to take the MyPlate, MyWins Challenge this March in honor of National Nutrition Month.

March is National Nutrition Month. Throughout the month, USDA will be highlighting results of our efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and supporting the health of our next generation.

March is National Nutrition Month, and it’s a great time to focus on building healthy eating habits. If you need a little extra motivation, pledge to take the MyPlate, MyWins Challenge! It’s a fun and simple food and physical activity challenge available to SuperTracker groups. All you have to do is 2 + 2 + 2: Read more »

ADAPTA – New Climate Adaptation Video Series for Tropical Farmers

Dr. Guillermo Ortiz of the University of Puerto Rico and rancher Neftali Lluch of the Lajas Valley in Puerto Rico discuss various practical steps to combat rising temperatures and prolonged drought

Dr. Guillermo Ortiz of the University of Puerto Rico and rancher Neftali Lluch of the Lajas Valley in Puerto Rico discuss various practical steps to combat rising temperatures and prolonged drought. Photo credit: University of Puerto Rico

We are living in historic moments in the world’s response to climate change. Last December in Paris, delegates from 196 countries signed an agreement to work towards curtailing greenhouse gas emissions and to keep global warming to “well below” 2 °C degrees. This is a big step, but there is still much work to be done and the agricultural sector has an important role to play. Agriculture, forestry, and land degradation contribute just under a quarter of anthropogenic GHG emissions, mainly from deforestation and agricultural emissions from livestock, soil and nutrient management.  Climate change also poses a great challenge for food security and nutrition. It can reduce yields and affect where and how food is produced. As the risks of natural disasters increase, farmers need to modify how they produce food in order to become more resilient to prolonged droughts, excessive rains, floods, and more intense storms. Read more »

Organic Sound and Sensible Initiative: Spanish Resources

People learning about organic production

The NCAT sound and sensible project focused on educating farmers and ranchers in the Gulf States region about organic production, as well as helping facilitate organic certification.

The Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) works every day to ensure that products with the USDA organic seal meet consistent, uniform standards. In addition to its rigorous certification process and oversight to protect the integrity of the organic seal, the program also connects organic farmers and businesses with resources to help them understand and comply with the standards.

In recent years, increasing numbers of Spanish speaking farmers and businesses have entered the organic sector. For example, among all operations located outside of the United States that are certified under the USDA organic regulations, 42 percent are in Spanish speaking countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Meanwhile, within the United States, the number of Hispanic producers, many of whom speak Spanish as their primary language, increased 21 percent between 2007 and 2012. Read more »

Iniciativa Orgánica Sound and Sensible: Recursos en Español

People learning about organic production

The NCAT sound and sensible project focused on educating farmers and ranchers in the Gulf States region about organic production, as well as helping facilitate organic certification.

El Programa Nacional Orgánico (NOP, por sus siglas en inglés) del Servicio de Comercialización Agrícola (AMS, por sus siglas en inglés) trabaja todos los días para asegurar que los productos con el sello USDA Organic cumplan con estándares consistentes y uniformes. Además de su riguroso proceso de certificación y vigilancia para proteger la integridad del sello orgánico, el programa también se conecta a los agricultores y las empresas orgánicas con recursos para ayudarles a entender y cumplir con las normas.

En los últimos años, el número de agricultores y negocios de habla hispana en el sector orgánico ha crecido. Por ejemplo, entre todas las operaciones ubicadas fuera de los Estados Unidos que están certificadas bajo las normas orgánicas del USDA, un 42 por ciento están en países de habla hispana en América Latina y el Caribe. Mientras tanto, dentro de los Estados Unidos, el número de productores hispanos, muchos de los cuales hablan español como su idioma principal, aumentó un 21 por ciento entre el año 2007 y 2012. Read more »

Celebrating International Day of Forests with a Splash

Forest Service employees and volunteers removing giant cane in the Big Tujunga watershed

Forest Service employees and volunteers remove giant cane in the Big Tujunga watershed in summer 2015. Photo credit: National Forest Foundation

In a changing climate, it takes elaborate and energetic collaboration to preserve forests around the world, and there is no better celebration of trees than water conservation.  The United Nation’s International Day of Forests, this March 21, is a time for heightening awareness of these partnerships, their ambitions, and the values and services forests provide.

Events that disturb the forest on a landscape scale often dramatically alter all of the resources that characterize a healthy ecosystem. This is something the U.S. Forest Service is all too familiar with as every year more fires burn earlier in the fire season and many have grown in scale. Read more »