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Just the Facts: State vs. Federal School Nutrition Programs

In the past 24 hours, we’ve seen a lot of chatter online regarding a story from North Carolina in which a pre-school student’s lunch was deemed “unhealthy.”  We’d like to set the record straight.

As established by law, USDA promotes healthier lifestyles for our nation’s school children through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program. The Department sets science-based nutritional standards for and oversees State administration of schools that choose to participate in these national programs. In exchange for meeting those standards, USDA provides reimbursement and other resources to schools so that children get the nutrition they need to learn, thrive and grow.

USDA does not, however, regulate sack lunches or any other food children bring from home to eat at school. That is a responsibility for parents,  not the federal government. The incident in North Carolina involved local education officials and a State-run nutrition program, and USDA had no involvement.

FSA Teams With CT AGvocate Program to Connect Residents With Local Farmers

Connecticut’s AGvocate Program promotes local farmers by inviting the public to area events and demonstrations. One event allowed residents to ride a wagon through a dairy barn to learn how milk is produced and how they can support local dairy farmers.

Connecticut’s AGvocate Program promotes local farmers by inviting the public to area events and demonstrations. One event allowed residents to ride a wagon through a dairy barn to learn how milk is produced and how they can support local dairy farmers.

Windham County Farm Service Agency in Connecticut has taken an innovative approach to connect consumers with their local farmer.

Through the state’s AGvocate program — a program designed to make farming viable in Connecticut towns — the agency received funding to promote agriculture by creating committees and commissions to help residents understand the importance of supporting local farmers. Read more »

US Forest Service releases 2011 Tax Guide for Forest Landowners

Federal Income Tax on Timber, complete with a current update of the new tax law changes, provides timely tax reporting information for woodland owners and their advisors.

Federal Income Tax on Timber, complete with a current update of the new tax law changes, provides timely tax reporting information for woodland owners and their advisors.

The Forest Service recently released the 2011 edition of Federal Income Tax on Timber: A Key to Your Most Frequently Asked Questions, a quick-reference guide to timber tax laws impacting woodland owners. Read more »

South Dakota Communications Cooperative Recognized at White House “Champions of Change” Event

Headquartered in the community of Highmore in the heart of South Dakota, Venture Communications Cooperative is committed to providing friendly, first-rate service.  Commitment to their members and customers has distinguished them as one of several businesses from across the country that were invited to Washington, D.C., today to share their ideas directly with the Obama Administration on how to strengthen rural communities and promote economic growth.  It’s called “Champions of Change”.

Venture Communications Cooperative was selected because of the broadband infrastructure and service expansion improvements they’ve made.  Venture Communications can streamline business communications from local and long distance phone services to Internet access. Read more »

Expanded Tracking Provides Market Insight for Produce Industry

USDA’s Market News produce movement reports track import data for fruits and vegetables coming into the U.S.  We recently expanded our reports to include ten unique crossing points along the Texas-Mexico border, allowing U.S. importers to more thoroughly forecast business needs.

USDA’s Market News produce movement reports track import data for fruits and vegetables coming into the U.S. We recently expanded our reports to include ten unique crossing points along the Texas-Mexico border, allowing U.S. importers to more thoroughly forecast business needs.

Over 13 billion pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables cross the U.S.-Mexican border each year.  Having accurate tracking of the food being imported across our southern border is important for a variety of reasons—including the ability to accurately assess the market price of incoming goods and the growing importance of specific ports of entry. Read more »

2012 Ag Outlook Forum: U.S. Agriculture, the Weather and Climate Change

USDA’s 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum, Feb. 23-24, will present 25 breakout sessions, including three sessions focused on U.S. agriculture and the weather.  In the session Innovations to Minimize Crop Loss in a Changing Climate, Oregon State University will demonstrate their PRISM Spatial Climate Knowledge System which accounts for spatial variations in climate.  Speakers will be Christopher Daly, Director of the PRISM Climate Group and David Hannaway, Professor, Department of Crop and Soil Science, Oregon State University.  Rick Mueller, Head of the Spatial Analysis Research Section for USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, will also present a new analysis tool called Cropscape. Read more »