Learn about some Cinco de Mayo staples by exploring our infographic (click for larger version).
Cinco de Mayo is more than a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. With its American roots planted during the Civil War, the fifth of May is also a celebration of freedom and victory over odds. Over the years the holiday has become more mainstream, with celebrations that bring together music, art and cuisine shaped by the rich culture and international influences of Mexico and Latin America. Read more »
(L to R) Anne Hogya, Pittston Library Director, Thomas Williams, USDA Rural Development State Director, and Barbara Quinn, Library Board President, display artist renderings of the library expansion slated to begin this summer. USDA photos.
Nestled among mountain regions between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania the city of Pittston is the gateway to the Wyoming Valley. The city gained prominence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a booming coal mining center. After experiencing many ups and downs, Pittston is experiencing a rebirth as family businesses come back to the downtown area. With local, state and federal funding from USDA Rural Development, Transportation Enhancement Grants and state gaming revenue grants, Pittston is halfway through a 20-year revitalization project that includes continued upgrades to the streetscape, library and City Hall. Read more »
A perfect pie crust is often the measure of a top quality baker. The “blue ribbon” pie crust is light and flaky. Even the best baker’s skills, however, depend on the quality of the ingredients. The quality of flour is based on the quality of the wheat – and measuring the quality of the wheat is a key responsibility of the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS).
FGIS and the Official Service Providers it supervises conduct Falling Number tests as a measure of wheat quality. Scientists and technicians at FGIS’s National Grain Center will soon begin a quality assurance program to monitor these tests and verify the original results to ensure that any procedural issues that could possibly impact the results of these important tests are quickly
addressed. FGIS will monitor a percentage of all tests performed throughout the Official testing system. Last year, over 25,000 Falling Number tests were performed on wheat targeted for sale domestically and abroad. Read more »
PACA is your partner in the produce industry. Through its education, mediation licensing, and enforcement services, PACA provides financial protection for produce businesses.
Accurate and timely information, access to new markets, and financial protection are critical to the success of any business. In the produce industry, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) provides services to cover all three of these items.
By providing current price and volume information, AMS Market News helps produce businesses, transportation companies, and others make informed decisions. In response to user requests, we created the Custom Average Tool (CAT). This new tool makes it easy to view average price trends over a period of time, select a range of data desired, download data in a spreadsheet, and much more. Choosing which varieties or products to carry and what the price levels might be at a given time of year are easier for a wholesaler to determine when they can easily visualize average price trends compared to movement in a dashboard. The CAT is now prominently displayed on our Fruit and Vegetable Market News Portal. Read more »
The ‘Sound and Sensible’ initiative is about removing barriers to certification, and working with farmers, like the one pictured here, to correct small issues before they become larger ones.
This is the twelfth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.
Consumers purchase organic products expecting that they maintain their organic integrity from farm to market. Under the USDA organic rules, organic farmers must demonstrate they are protecting the environment, supporting animal health and welfare, and producing their products without the use of prohibited substances (including synthetic pesticides). Read more »
In my position as Under Secretary, I occasionally travel the country to meet with, and learn from, some of the many partners who administer and leverage the USDA’s 15 nutrition assistance programs. These programs—from school meals to SNAP (formerly food stamps)—currently touch the lives of one in four Americans.
During a whirlwind visit to Minnesota in March, I had the opportunity to meet with a variety of individuals and organizations directly or indirectly involved with one or more of our nutrition programs. For starters, I participated in a terrific roundtable at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health hosted by national nutrition expert Dr. Mary Story, a strong supporter of healthy school meals. Minnesota Senator Al Franken joined me to hear from local organizations and agencies that administer nutrition assistance programs, promote good nutrition or even work with farmers markets. I was impressed with the accomplishments being realized and the creative approaches employed by local partners to improve nutrition, eliminate hunger, support children and families, and connect farmers to local markets. Read more »