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Montana Seed Growers “Sow” Importance of Organic Farming

Anna Jones-Crabtree and Doug Crabtree discuss soil health with NRCS Soil Conservationist Amy Kaiser. NRCS photo.

Anna Jones-Crabtree and Doug Crabtree discuss soil health with NRCS Soil Conservationist Amy Kaiser. NRCS photo.

When Anna Jones-Crabtree and Doug Crabtree founded Vilicus Farms in 2009, they snagged the farm’s name from Latin, as “vilicus” means steward. Anna and Doug are definitely stewards of their 1,200-acre organic farm near Havre, Mont.

In a region where wheat is the primary crop and stretches as far as the eye can see, Vilicus Farms is unique. They work on a five-year rotation of about 15 different crops, including flax, lentils, oats, red spring wheat, durum, sweet clover, vetch, peas, rye, winter wheat, buckwheat, safflower, sunflower, spring peas and chickling vetch.

The farm is divided into strips about one mile long and 240 feet wide, and the Crabtrees grow one crop in each strip. Between the strips are untilled sections of native grazing land that serve as buffers to catch snow in the winter for added moisture. Read more »

Resolve to Fight Foodborne Illness in 2014

As 2013 comes to a close and 2014 draws nearer, many people begin to think about ways in which to make their lives better in the year to come and formulate various resolutions to achieve those goals. Some people may want to lose weight and/or get more exercise. Other people may want to read more and spend less time in front of the television or computer. There are just as many types of resolutions as there are types of people, but there are four easy resolutions that can help everyone have a safer and healthier New Year.

Resolve to fight foodborne illness by following these four basic messages of safe food preparation. Read more »

Decida Luchar Contra las Enfermedades Transmitidas por los Alimentos en el 2014

Según el 2013 llega a su fin y el 2014 se acerca, muchas personas comienzan a pensar en formas para mejorar sus vidas en el año por venir y formular diversas resoluciones para alcanzar dichos objetivos. Algunas personas quieren querer bajar de peso y/o hacer más ejercicio. Otras personas pueden querer leer más y gastar menos tiempo frente al televisor o la computadora. Sólo hay tantos tipos de resoluciones, como hay tipos de personas, pero hay cuatro resoluciones fáciles que pueden ayudar a todos a tener un año nuevo más seguro y saludable.

Decida luchar contra la enfermedad transmitida por  los alimentos siguiendo estos cuatro mensajes básicos en la preparación de alimentos. Read more »

Cheers to Good Health with MyPlate – MyPlate Holiday Makeover Week 7

Liz’s Sparkling New Year’s Cider

Liz’s Sparkling New Year’s Cider

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

With two little ones in the house, I’m always looking for ways that I can introduce them to new flavors and textures of foods and beverages. This Sparkling New Year’s Cider recipe does just that! The 100 % apple juice is familiar and adds a touch of sweetness, while the cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon introduce them to new spices. The bubbles from the sparkling water also provide a fun new feeling for their mouths. Of course, adults can enjoy this beverage too!

My recipe includes spices to add a special holiday flavor.  If you aren’t familiar with star anise or cloves, you can often find them in the baking or spice section of your local grocery store. Some stores sell them individually in the bulk shopping aisle, so you only have to pay for what you need. You might also be able to find these ingredients at a discount store or specialty market. Read more »

USA Rice Honors Former USDA Official for Conservation Work

Former NRCS Chief Dave White holding his award from USA Rice Federation, flanked by California rice producers Leo LaGrande (left) and Al Montna (right). Photo: USA Rice Daily (used with permission)

Former NRCS Chief Dave White holding his award from USA Rice Federation, flanked by California rice producers Leo LaGrande (left) and Al Montna (right). Photo: USA Rice Daily (used with permission)

Rice producers recently honored Dave White, former chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, for his innovative conservation achievements.

White was presented with the fourth annual USA Rice Federations’ Distinguished Conservation Achievement Award at the 2013 USA Rice Outlook Conference held in Saint Louis, Mo.

“Dave worked very closely with the rice industry during his tenure as NRCS chief,” said Leo LaGrande, a California rice producer and chairman of the USA Rice Producers’ Group conservation committee. “His vision and foresight led to the development and implementation of the Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative (MBHI) in several mid-South and Gulf of Mexico coastal states, including the five rice-producing states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.” Read more »

First Ever Native American Food Hub Created in New Mexico

  USDA Rural Development New Mexico State Director Terry Brunner (center) presents a certificate of obligation to the Ten Southern Pueblo Council Governors and representatives during ceremonies to celebrate the successful application of funds creating the first ever Native American Food Hub in the nation. (USDA Photo)

USDA Rural Development New Mexico State Director Terry Brunner (center) presents a certificate of obligation to the Ten Southern Pueblo Council Governors and representatives during ceremonies to celebrate the successful application of funds creating the first ever Native American Food Hub in the nation. (USDA Photo)

The air was crisp and cold as the wind blew across Sandia Pueblo in mid-December.  But, the atmosphere among the Ten Southern Pueblo Governor’s Council was warm and jovial.

Why? Because, the Governors were celebrating the obligation of a USDA Rural Development funded study that creates the first ever Native American Food Hub in the nation. Read more »