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USDA and Sports—An Uncommon Link

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 the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

By Tara Weaver-Missick, Branch Chief, with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

Summer field sports are under way, and sports fans around the world are having spirited discussions on their favorite team’s chances of winning.  A key factor of sports success is the condition of the field, and USDA scientists are just as interested in those field conditions—but from the angle of fighting the bugs that could be eating the field! Read more »

USDA Rural Development Provides Grant Funds for a Maine Grange Hall Renovation to Process and Distribute Local Farm Products

By Virginia Manuel, USDA Maine Rural Development State Director

USDA Rural Development provided a Rural Business Enterprise Grant to assist the Maine Alternative Agriculture Association (MA3) to renovate the former Grange Hall in Starks into a modern facility for processing and distributing local farm products.

An open house was held on July 28th to celebrate the completion of the project, which now includes a new kitchen and cold storage facility.  The association will contract with local farmers to provide farm products that will be collected, processed and distributed from the new facility.  The farm products will be ‘beyond organic’ by emphasizing sound soil management as well as being pesticide free. Read more »

Midwest Region Conference Gets States Energized about SNAP

By Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary

I recently spoke at the BIG TEN conference in Minneapolis. The BIG TEN is a USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) sponsored event focused on improving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) performance at the state and local level. Participants are from the Midwest States: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.  In the past few years, they’ve worked with decreasing resources while managing an increasing workload. So when I walked into a room full of dancing and cheering human service workers, I was taken aback. The energy was just incredible! Read more »

Arizona Rural Development State Director Alan Stephens Joins Congresswoman Kirkpatrick to Announce $10 Million Recovery Act Broadband Project for San Carlos Apaches

By Nancy Conway, USDA Rural Development, Arizona

A group was on hand for Arizona Rural Development State Director Alan Stephens announcement that the San Carlos Apache Telecommunications Utility, Inc. (SCATUI) will receive a grant of $5.2 million and a low-interest loan of $5.2 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act).  The loan/grant combination will be used to design, engineer, and construct a fiber-to-the-premises network to service the San Carlos and Bylas communities.  “This project will bring broadband and telephone services and will serve a hospital and several doctor facilities that are currently unserved in the San Carlos area,” said Stephens. Joining in the announcement was Arizona U.S. Representative Ann Kirkpatrick. Read more »

Scouting for Conservation – NRCS Shares Its Conservation Know-How at the National Boy Scout Jamboree

By Brad Fisher, Public Affairs Specialist

Right now, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is sharing the agency’s conservation expertise with more than 42,000 scouts at the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia.  Scout jamborees are always jammed with excitement, but this one is extra special – a celebration of BSA’s 100th anniversary. Congratulations BSA from everyone at NRCS on your century of service and adventure! Read more »

Beetles, Aphids and Flies – Oh My!

Written by Kayla Harless, People’s Garden Intern

Throughout July, the People’s Garden Healthy Garden Workshops have been focused on plants and their problematic pests – diseases, fungi, viruses, harmful bugs, and environmental stressors. Today’s workshop covered a range of these, and included lots of local examples from gardens right here on the National Mall. Read more »