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Wily coyotes continue to thrive in the Southeast at the expense of deer populations

Historically a species of the North American plains, coyotes now occupy much of the Southeast. (Photo by Rebecca Richardson, courtesy of Wikimedia.org.)

Historically a species of the North American plains, coyotes now occupy much of the Southeast. (Photo by Rebecca Richardson, courtesy of Wikimedia.org.)

Coyotes began migrating eastward throughout the latter half of the 20th Century. Once restricted to the western plains, they now occupy most of the continent and have invaded farms and cities, where they have expanded their diet to include squirrels, household pets and discarded fast food.

Land-use changes in the U.S., the disappearance of wolves, a growing human population, and a remarkable ability to adapt to new environments and conditions encouraged coyotes to expand into new habitats and thrive, while other predators faced with similar pressures dwindled and faced extinction. Read more »

100 Strong: Rural Impact County Challenge Achieves Goal

In April, the White House Rural Council partnered with the National Association of Counties to announce the Rural Impact County Challenge, a call for at least 100 counties to pledge to create opportunity for children in rural areas. On October 25, we achieved this goal. These 100 community leaders will prove instrumental in addressing the opportunity gap for rural kids, which is so often compounded by rural counties’ distance from health and early learning programs, lack of access to public transportation, and higher rates of drug and substance abuse.

Small towns and rural communities are home to millions of Americans, include some of our most beautiful landmarks and provide the vast majority of food, energy, and environmental benefits for the rest of the country. Read more »

Farm to School Efforts Positively Impact Tribal Communities

Students at Loneman Day School on Pine Ridge Reservation (S.D.) enjoy buffalo gravy over rice.

Students at Loneman Day School on Pine Ridge Reservation (S.D.) enjoy buffalo gravy over rice.

An ancient belief held by tribal communities is that the soil is cared for by Mother Earth, the nurturer and the protector of the land. This idea speaks to the importance of farm to school efforts in tribal communities.  And many tribal communities are reconnecting children with their rich history and cultures by establishing farm to school programs.

Tribes are integrating traditional foods into the Child Nutrition Programs, sourcing foods locally, incorporating multicultural nutrition education into classroom curriculum and providing hands-on lessons in school gardens. USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems supports tribal communities through the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, assisting tribes across the nation to connect with local producers and teaching children about where their food comes from. Read more »

Now What? 5 Ways to Use Leftover Turkey

 

Don’t trash that turkey! Discover 5 new and exciting ways to use leftovers with these delicious recipes from MyPlate. (Click to view a larger version)

Don’t trash that turkey! Discover 5 new and exciting ways to use leftovers with these delicious recipes from MyPlate.

This week, many Americans will gather together with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving. When the fun is done, you may be left with more turkey than you anticipated. MyPlate is here to help with these unique ways to use up those leftovers!

MyPlate encourages you to choose lean sources of protein. Selections from the Protein Foods group, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans and peas, provide nutrients that are vital for the health and maintenance of your body. Turkey is a versatile food and an excellent source of lean protein! Read more »

Meet the Experts: USDA’s National Agricultural Library Launches New Online Food Safety Video Collection

USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) microbiologist Monifa Peterson demonstrates the addition of reagents for an E. coli non-O157:H7 analysis.

USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) microbiologist Monifa Peterson demonstrates the addition of reagents for an E. coli non-O157:H7 analysis.

Food is necessary and can be quite enjoyable, but it must also be safe to eat. Unfortunately, about one out of six Americans gets sick from eating contaminated food at some point during the year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Scientists from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) work for one of the federal agencies that conducts research to help make the foods we eat safer. To help the public more easily access USDA food safety research information, the department’s National Agricultural Library’s Food Safety Research Information Office (FSRIO) has launched a new “Meet the Experts” online video collection available on the NAL website. Read more »

Hacking Away at Common Agricultural Issues

 

The first place winners of the Apps for Ag Hackathon were the team Giving Gardens whose app help community gardeners post their surplus produce and "trade" with others. They also plan to have local chefs offer suggested recipes based on their postings - sort of like a Craigslist for community gardeners.

The first place winners of the Apps for Ag Hackathon were the team Giving Gardens whose app help community gardeners post their surplus produce and "trade" with others. They also plan to have local chefs offer suggested recipes based on their postings - sort of like a Craigslist for community gardeners.

Hackathons aim to solve real problems and USDA, along with the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and the California State Fair, hosted a competitive one this past July. Software developers, designers, entrepreneurs, farmers, farm consultants, marketers and others in the agricultural industry participated in the Hackathon, which was held at the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources building in Davis, California. Participants competed for cash prizes at a “pitchfest” in front of a live audience at the California State Fair on Sunday, July 17, Prizes were awarded to the top three apps: first place won $5,000, second place $3,000 and third place $1,500. People who work in agriculture brought with them ideas for problems that technology may help solve.

“Apps for Ag” Hackathons have already resulted in multiple startups and we want to see this momentum continue to grow,” said Robert Tse, USDA California Rural Development chief strategy officer for agriculture technology and innovation. “There was no better place than the State Fair in the Capitol to showcase the ingenuity of California’s Ag tech community.” Read more »