Utah rancher Bill Kennedy worked with NRCS through SGI to improve his working rangelands for sage grouse and livestock. Photo by Jesse Bussard.
This past April, we woke up at 3 a.m. and made our way to a blind amid an expanse of sagebrush on a ranch in central Montana. When the sun rose that morning, I saw my first sage grouse–actually, I got to see more than 100 of them!–when the birds arrived at the lek site for their famous tail-shaking springtime courtship dance.
Seeing sage grouse in action reminded me how important it is to do what we do here at USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). I saw firsthand how agriculture and wildlife can co-exist and thrive. In the West, we work with over 1,300 ranchers through the NRCS-led Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) to improve their ranching operations while also helping this iconic bird. Read more »
There are many ways Team Nutrition schools are involving students in the development of school meal menus and health promotion activities. These activities can help schools offer nutritious foods in a manner that appeals to children and can help students learn about nutrition and school foodservice. This guest blog highlights promising strategies for involving students in school meals through the use of School Lunch Advisory Councils. It also describes how Montana students are playing a role in helping their schools implement Smarter Lunchrooms techniques to reduce food waste and increase consumption of healthful foods.
Interested in implementing Smarter Lunchrooms techniques at your school? Get started with this free self-assessment checklist from the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Program. Team Nutrition provides nutrition education materials, training tools, and grants to assist schools in creating healthier environments. Learn more about Team Nutrition and how to become a Team Nutrition school at http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/team-nutrition. Read more »
Flooded out roads in Cass County, North Dakota.
Rivers rise. The ground is saturated. Levees fail. Floods happen, and they happen beside rivers, along the coasts, in deserts and in city streets. Flooding might be a fact of nature but that does not mean you have to lose your business and possessions to flood waters.
It is never too early to prepare. Because September is National Preparedness Month, it is a good time to think about emergency planning. Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make an Emergency Communication Plan. Read more »
New procedures by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service allows certified organic meat and poultry producers to obtain approval of non-GMO label claims based on their organic certification.
Organic meat and poultry producers can now use a streamlined process to get approval for labels verifying that their products do not include genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. These products may also now use a “Non-GMO” label claim. Because of this, we’re updating a previous blog from our “Organic 101” series.
In 2014, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) streamlined procedures for including a “non-genetically engineered” statement on the label of organic meat and poultry products. This continues to be consistent with organic regulations, which have always prohibited the use of GE in all organic products. Today, FSIS is adding further process improvements and labeling flexibilities, in light of recently passed legislation. Many organic stakeholders have expressed an interest in using “Non-GMO” label claims to clearly communicate to consumers that organic products do not contain genetically engineered ingredients, and that organic animals were not fed genetically engineered feed. Read more »
Farmers can help ensure there is enough agricultural labor in the United States at critical times in the production cycles by taking part in the Agricultural Labor survey.
Throughout the course of the year, hired labor makes planting and harvesting of America’s farmland possible. On my family’s Illinois farm, we relied on both paid and unpaid friends and family to bring in our hay. Nearby farmers however relied on seasonal migrant labor to harvest vegetables.
Today I’m a statistician overseeing the analyses and publication of environmental, economic and demographic data on U.S. agriculture. In that role, my team produces data on farm labor that provides the basis for employment and wage estimates for all farm workers directly hired by U.S. farms. It is also used by the U.S. Department of Labor to administer the H-2A agricultural guest worker program. Read more »
If you haven’t heard the buzz, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s expansion of the Team Up for School Nutrition Success initiative is in full swing, with 20 completed trainings and 14 more scheduled for 2016. Team Up offers a unique learning experience that enhances schools’ food service operations through training and peer-to-peer mentorship to school nutrition professionals looking to maintain a healthy environment and encourage strong student meal program participation.
What exactly happens at a Team Up training? Ever had an “a-ha” or a “why didn’t I think of that” moment when a friend shares a really great idea? Team Up is where “a-ha” moments are shared among school nutrition professionals and turned into action back via their school meals programs. Let’s break down a Team Up workshop to see how these “a-ha” moments transpire. Read more »