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NASS Guides Agricultural Censuses Worldwide

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 USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

While USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is gearing up for the next Census of Agriculture right here in the United States, the agency is also sharing its expertise to help guide agriculture censuses around the world. In December, the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Armenia hosted NASS representatives to help these two nations prepare for their own censuses of agriculture. Read more »

Taking A Closer Look At the Benefits of Farmers Markets

Farmers Markets offer in season, local produce to communities nationwide.

Farmers Markets offer in season, local produce to communities nationwide.

Farmers Market Month may be over, but USDA’s commitment to promoting the use of farmers markets continues. Farmers markets are important for a number of reasons but, in particular, they’ve been an integral part of our efforts to bring nutritious foods to Americans who participate in programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Since the number of markets accepting nutrition assistance benefits has increased, we think it’s a great time to look at how effective farmers markets have been when it comes to increasing low income household access to nutritious foods. Read more »

Russia Christmas Fair Highlights American Holiday Treats

The United States pavilion at the St. Petersburg Christmas Fair showcased American holiday treats. (Photo credit: U.S. Embassy Moscow)

The United States pavilion at the St. Petersburg Christmas Fair showcased American holiday treats. (Photo credit: U.S. Embassy Moscow)

The Agricultural Trade Office in St. Petersburg, Russia joined U.S. cooperators and the U.S. Consulate to host the first-ever American pavilion at the St. Petersburg Christmas Fair, which runs from Dec. 21, 2011 to Jan. 14, 2012. The pavilion showcases American cuisine including New York cheesecakes, Kona coffee, California almonds and American holiday treats. Read more »

Social Media Moment Number One: Redesigning USDA

If you’ve been following our favorite Social Media Moments of 2011, you can see we had a lot to choose from. Top on our list isn’t necessarily a social media moment, but is an important moment in our focus on providing better service through web communication. The redesign of USDA.gov in April 2011 was only the beginning of changes we’re making with our web program – USDA agencies are working to redesign their websites in 2012 for a consistent user experience and we consolidated many websites to streamline access to information, making it easier to find information that’s important to you.

We chose this launch because it is a shining example of the platform that we at USDA are working to build and maintain that is relevant and responsive to your needs. This redesign was a collaborative effort with our agencies and based on insights and feedback of our users. Your feedback is important to us, and we want you to be sure that your voice is always heard. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: A New Year For Agriculture

As we enjoy the holiday season, it is a great time to celebrate all that American agriculture has accomplished, and to look ahead to a productive new year.

Our farmers, ranchers and growers make incredible contributions each day to the health and strength of this country.  Thanks to their productivity, Americans spend – on average – less than 10 cents out of every dollar they earn on food.  This is far less than families around the world.  It gives us the freedom and the flexibility to spend on our families and invest in our businesses. Read more »

Football Turf a Source of Protein?

The brand of soy-based turf blanketing the Kansas State Wildcats outdoor stadium qualifies for the USDA Biopreferred program, and is an environmentally-friendly alternative to petroleum-based products. Photo courtesy Kansas State Athletics.

The brand of soy-based turf blanketing the Kansas State Wildcats outdoor stadium qualifies for the USDA Biopreferred program, and is an environmentally-friendly alternative to petroleum-based products. Photo courtesy Kansas State Athletics.

When a Kansas State University football player plants his opponent’s face into the turf, the result may be a better-tasting blend of artificial grass. Turf is not a part of the USDA’s MyPlate recommendations, but defensive ends playing in the Wildcats’ stadium can skip their pre-game soy latte and get their fill during the game instead. Read more »