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World Soil Day – A Time to Celebrate the Foundation of Agriculture

Amy Overstreet holding soil

Amy Overstreet, NRCS Public Information Officer, created a video series for the 2015 International Year of Soils to raise awareness and appreciation for everything that soil provides.

Last year during the International Year of Soils (IYS), I had the incredible opportunity to help the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) spread the word about the many life-giving functions of soil. As part of this effort, I traveled to New York City to attend the kickoff ceremony for IYS at the United Nations, which was held on World Soil Day.

In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly designated December 5 as World Soil Day. It is observed this day each year to honor the birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, the world’s longest reigning monarch, who passed away in October. He played a pivotal role in the promotion of soil science and conservation, and was a leader in sustainable land resource management. Read more »

A Tale of a Fish from Two Countries

Back of a product showing the country of origin

The Country of Origin Labeling regulations require most grocery stores to provide the country of origin for fish and shellfish, and the method of production (farm-raised or wild-caught), at the point of sale where consumers make purchasing decisions.

How can fish in a grocery store be labeled as both “Alaskan” and “Product of China” on the same package?  The answer is that although much of the seafood sold in the United States is labeled with a foreign country of origin, some of that same seafood was actually caught in U.S. waters.

Under the Country of Origin Labeling program regulations – enforced by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service – when fish are caught in U.S. waters and then processed in a foreign country that foreign country of processing must appear on the package as the country of origin.  This processing usually takes the form of filleting and packaging the fish into the cuts you see in the grocery store seafood department or frozen food aisle.  However, if the fish was actually caught in Alaskan waters, retailers are also able to promote the Alaskan waters the fish was actually caught in, in addition to the country in which the processing occurred. Read more »

A Dazzling Gem from Idaho Arrives on Capitol Hill

Englemann Spruce hoisted and put into place on the West Lawn of Capitol Hill

The giant Englemann Spruce is hoisted and put into place on the West Lawn of Capitol Hill. (Photo credit: Cecilio Ricardo)

You know Christmas is right around the corner when images of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree being hoisted from a very long tractor trailer show up on your social media apps and on TV.

An ongoing American tradition since 1964, this year, the great tree called fondly by its fans “An Idaho Mountain Gem,” comes from the Payette National Forest near McCall, Idaho. Read more »

That’s a Wrap! Meet the 6 Families from the #MyPlateMyWins Video Series!

A compilation of MyPlate, MyWins families graphic

The MyPlate, MyWins video series shows how real families make healthy eating work for them. We finish off this series with a video highlighting all six families.

In March, we kicked off our MyPlate, MyWins video series and introduced you to six American families, each from different backgrounds with their own unique approach to healthy eating. From Shelley, a single mom to Carol and Brad, a farm family with four children – we hope you enjoyed hearing their stories and discovered healthy eating solutions that could help you in your own lives. Read more »

Find Your Town, a New Tool Promoting Small Towns from the White House Opportunity Project

Findyour.town homepage screenshot

Visit Findyour.town today to find opportunities to help your rural community grow.

Charming, historic, cozy, vibrant, quaint and fun. Small towns and rural places hold a special place in our vision of America. They offer residents a unique and often genial place to live. Visitors and those just passing through come to enjoy distinct lifestyles, commerce, and countryside.  Yet, many rural towns have trouble promoting themselves and planning for a vibrant future. That is why we are helping to launch Findyour.town.

At USDA Rural Development, we know small towns may also be unaware of how our programs can help them thrive. We help build new fire stations, provide affordable housing, help expand a local business, strengthen broadband infrastructure in their community and so much more. To get the word out, we are working with The Opportunity Project, a White House initiative to expand access to opportunity for all Americans by putting data and digital tools in the hands of families, communities, and local leaders, to help them navigate information about the resources they need to thrive. Private sector tech developers and federal agencies come together to build digital tools that help address critical federal policy challenges, get information directly to the people we serve, and put federal data to use in innovative new ways. Read more »

In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Staci Emm

Staci Emm, professor and Extension educator at the University of Nevada

Staci Emm, professor and Extension educator at the University of Nevada

Every month, USDA shares the story of a woman in agriculture who is leading the industry and helping other women succeed along the way. This month, we hear from Staci Emm, professor and Extension educator at the University of Nevada and member of the Yerington Paiute Tribe. Staci has spent the last ten years as an Extension educator in Mineral County, Nevada and is nationally recognized for agricultural and American Indian Extension programs. Staci holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and business management from the University of Nevada, Reno and a master’s of agriculture from Colorado State University. Read more »