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FSIS Sets “Resolutions” for 2014

Today, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service shared with the public our “New Year’s Resolutions” for Fiscal Year 2014. Like many of the people who consume the products we regulate, we set new goals for ourselves at the beginning of each year. Known as the Annual Performance Plan, this list of key results we plan to achieve between now and September 2014 to do our jobs better, which means making America’s supply of meat, poultry, and egg products safer to eat. This is our third APP.  It is something that we take very seriously.  It is consistent with our emphasis on performance and our efforts to improve how we do our jobs every day.

The goals listed in our APP are all measurable. By setting specific targets and measuring our progress throughout the year, we have a clearer picture of what is working well, which initiatives are not effective, and where we may not be challenging ourselves enough. By making our targets public, we are holding ourselves accountable to you, and we are giving the regulated industry, consumers, and other interested persons an overview of our priorities and of our expectations for the year ahead. Read more »

MyPlate Holiday Leftovers – MyPlate Holiday Makeover Week 4

Eve’s Tasty Turkey Tetrazzini

Eve’s Tasty Turkey Tetrazzini

The MyPlate Team continues to share “Makeover Monday” recipes each week on the USDA blog and the MyPlate Facebook page through January 6th.

Our family loves the savory flavors of traditional holiday meals. However, after a few rounds of leftovers, it’s great to be able to mix things up with a new twist on the leftover turkey. It’s an added bonus that after all the hustle and bustle, this recipe is an easy, one-dish meal that the whole family will enjoy. Read more »

U.S. Forest Service Offers Winter Yurt, Cabin Adventures

The tranquility of winter camping is ideal at the Grizzly Ridge yurt on the Ashley National Forest in Utah. Numerous hiking, biking and off-road trails crisscross the area. (U.S. Forest Service)

The tranquility of winter camping is ideal at the Grizzly Ridge yurt on the Ashley National Forest in Utah. Numerous hiking, biking and off-road trails crisscross the area. (U.S. Forest Service)

While some may close up tents and winterize recreational vehicles this time of year, there are others who look forward to a winter filled with adventures on forests and grasslands. The draw is yurts and historic cabins available to rent that offer a bit of solitude for camping, a dose of adventure on skis, snowshoes or snowmobiles, and a lifetime of memories.

A yurt is a circular tent with canvas walls. There are many different styles and sizes of yurts, but generally each yurt is different in what it offers. Typically, you can expect to provide your own bedding, food, and cooking supplies. Some include beds, tables and chairs. Others have camp stoves and wood burning stoves. Check information on Recreation.gov before making your reservation and committing to a stay. Read more »

Secretary Visits Virginia Farm, Announces Progress on Effort to Reduce Farm Sediment Runoff into the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

 

NRCS Illustration showing a substantial reduction in farm runoff entering the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

NRCS Illustration showing a substantial reduction in farm runoff entering the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited a Virginia Century Farm in Stafford County to release a new report that shows how farmers like Gerry Silver are helping make significant progress in reducing sediment and nutrient runoff into the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

The Secretary lauded Silver Ridge Farm as a gold standard for conservation because the owners have implemented voluntary conservation practices such as cover crops and no-till planting to control soil erosion and prevent the release of nitrogen and phosphorus into area waterways.  Though the family has kept the land in continuous agricultural use for more than 100 consecutive years, he called the operation a “farm of the future” because the family has continued to evolve their operation over time to maintain productivity and diversify income opportunities. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: A New Report Shows the Critical Benefits of Farm Bill Conservation

America’s farmers, ranchers and landowners have led the way in recent years to conserve and protect our soil, water and wildlife habitat.

With the help of Farm Bill programs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has worked with a record number of producers since 2009 – more than 500,000 of them – to get this important work done.

Ever since the Dust Bowl, we’ve known that investments in conservation on working lands and other wild areas is important. And this week, a new report amplified our understanding for the critical importance of the Farm Bill in protecting natural resources in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Read more »

Restoration Efforts May Mean More ‘Chestnuts Roasting….’

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, a popular line from a holiday song, are a tradition that at one time seemed imperiled by the decreasing population of chestnut trees. (USDA photo)

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, a popular line from a holiday song, are a tradition that at one time seemed imperiled by the decreasing population of chestnut trees. (USDA photo)

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” is a line from a song that conjures up fond holiday memories for some Americans. For others, the joy of roasting chestnuts has yet to be experienced. But the lack of American chestnuts could change in the coming years, thanks to some very dedicated people.

The U.S. Forest Service and its partners may be one step closer to restoring the American chestnut tree to parts of the mountains and forests of the southern United States. Since 2009, they planted close to 1,000 potentially-blight resistant American chestnut trees on national forests in North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Read more »