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Protecting Wheat Crops, Helping Ensure Afghan Food Security

U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry (front in white) and Afghan Agriculture Minister Asif Rahimi (on truck) load seed At Badam Bagh Farm in Kabul.

U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry (front in white) and Afghan Agriculture Minister Asif Rahimi (on truck) load seed At Badam Bagh Farm in Kabul.

In Afghanistan, wheat is not only a diet staple but is also the country’s most widely grown crop.

When an invasive fungus known as Ug99 threatened to damage and destroy Afghan wheat, the USDA joined forces with U.S. Central Command and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan to help stop it. Together in late 2010, they delivered 150 tons of USDA-donated Ug99-resistant wheat seed to Afghanistan. The seed arrived in October 2010 and entered Afghanistan’s seed multiplication program. Read more »

A 73 Year Old Kentucky Widow Becomes a First-Time Homeowner Thanks to USDA

Elizabeth Bonner’s new, energy efficient Kentucky home, funded in part by USDA Rural Development.

Elizabeth Bonner’s new, energy efficient Kentucky home, funded in part by USDA Rural Development.

To Elizabeth Bonner, the single greatest thing about her new home is the serenity she feels as she sits on her covered back porch, listening to the water as it rolls over the rocks that line the creek bed bordering the back of her property. Read more »

USDA Administrator Urges Eligible Applicants to Apply for Flex-Fuel Pump Funding

Last week USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Programs Administrator Judith Canales crossed Michigan’s Lower Peninsula at a series of events to highlight flex-fuel options and the availability of renewable energy assistance.

She addressed the Michigan Business Incubator Association’s conference “Michigan’s Changing Economy:  The Role of Business Incubation and New Venture Creation” in East Lansing.

Afterward she met with Michael Petersen, owner of Petersen Oil in Greenville, and a leader in the flexible fuel movement, and discussed how USDA Rural Development can provide funding for flex fuel pumps.  The application deadline is June 15. Read more »

As Application Deadline Approaches, Solar Workshop Energizes Participants

Design of Small Photovoltaic (PV) Solar-Powered Water Pump Systems (Photo Courtesy of NRCS)

Design of Small Photovoltaic (PV) Solar-Powered Water Pump Systems (Photo Courtesy of NRCS)

Sixty participants packed into the Cochise County Board of Supervisors Hearing Room in Arizona recently for a three-hour workshop on how to write applications for solar grants. One attendee came in for the event from Mohave County, some 400 miles away. Read more »

Bellingham Team Scores Big with Double Winners

With “grate” skill, Bellingham, MA team transforms yams into Tasty Tots as part of Recipes for Healthy Kids competition.

With “grate” skill, Bellingham, MA team transforms yams into Tasty Tots as part of Recipes for Healthy Kids competition.

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

Students at Bellingham (MA) Public Schools found the key to attracting some top individuals to their school for lunch:  they asked a state senator, state representative, a food industry executive, the state Child Nutrition director and me to judge the school’s entries in the national Recipes for Healthy Kids competition.  The school had much to be proud of because their terrific team created not one, but two semi-finalist recipes:  “Tasty Tots” and “Mediterranean Quinoa Salad.” Read more »

Connecticut Students Say, “Si, Si” to Fiesta Wrap on the Menu

Intent on their work, Charter Oak student chefs carefully assemble their competition entry Fiesta Wrap.

Intent on their work, Charter Oak student chefs carefully assemble their competition entry Fiesta Wrap.

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

It’s only natural that when the team from Charter Oak International Academy came up with their entry in the Recipes for Healthy Kids competition it would have true international flavor. The West Hartford, CT school is a magnet school with a global focus, including Spanish language instruction. Their “Fiesta Wrap” stars quinoa and black beans accompanied by vegetables, lime juice, spices and reduced fat cheddar cheese with optional toppings such as fresh tomatoes, corn salsa or fiesta sauce. Read more »