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History and Research Converge in American Chestnut Reintroduction

Leila Pinchot with an American chestnut sapling.

Leila Pinchot with an American chestnut sapling.

You may start out wanting to talk to Leila Pinchot about a Forest Service icon, but the great granddaughter of Gifford Pinchot has much more to say about the future of another legend, the American chestnut.

One of the seminal figures in world conservation, Gifford Pinchot founded and served as the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service. The eastern forests we know today are distinctly different than the forests Gifford Pinchot would have known 100 years ago – they are missing the American chestnut, which dominated forests in the eastern United States. Read more »

Opening Doors for Small and Mid-Sized Farmers in National Retail Markets

A GAP-certified farm field. Through a new agreement, AMS will provide auditing services to verify farmers are meeting Produce GAP Harmonized Food Safety Standards and Wal-Mart specific food safety requirements. Photo provided by Mission Produce

When buying produce, many consumers note food safety as one of the most important things they consider.  Consumers prefer produce backed by trustworthy verified and certified processes. As a result, more retail and foodservice sectors are requiring growers to undergo food safety audits.  In an effort to meet this demand, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Fresh Products Division, which provides voluntary, audit-based programs utilizing Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices (GAP/GHP), recently reached an agreement with Wal-Mart.  Read more »

Building a home, a community, friendships…and values with USDA RD Self-Help Program

The Fonseca family in the living room of their new home.

“Even decades from now, after we die, our son will remember what we did to give him a home,” said Moises Fonseca in the comfortable living room of his new home. His six-year old son, also named Moises, smiled shyly at his dad. Read more »

Ask Karen Ranks As Top Ten Best Federal Mobile Apps

 “Ask Karen,” an online food safety question and answer service provided by the United States Department of Agriculture. Food Safety Inspection Service is now mobile. “Ask Karen” provides 24/7 virtual assistance and tips on preventing food borne illness, safe food handling, storage and safe preparation of meat, poultry and egg products. The "Ask Karen" app was announced at the United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety Inspection Service, Food Safety Education Camp held at Maryland City Elementary in Laurel, MD, on Thursday, May 5, 2011.  USDA Photo by Bob Nichols.

“Ask Karen,” an online food safety question and answer service provided by the United States Department of Agriculture. Food Safety Inspection Service is now mobile. “Ask Karen” provides 24/7 virtual assistance and tips on preventing food borne illness, safe food handling, storage and safe preparation of meat, poultry and egg products. USDA Photo by Bob Nichols.

Last week the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) Mobile Ask Karen app earned high-praise from Government Computer News (link will take you offsite).  The publication gave a tip-of-the-hat to Mobile Ask Karen, ranking it as one of “The 10 best federal mobile apps.” Mobile Ask Karen was heralded as “a perfect example” and “the best of the bunch,” and was the only app to earn perfect scores in the categories of usefulness, ease of use, and coolness factor. Read more »

To Bee Keep or Not to Bee Keep

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Bee Research Laboratory displays a live bee colony in a two-sided glass case at 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Thursday, June 28, 2012 on the National mall in Washington, D.C.  One of the three themes this year is “Campus and Community.” It celebrates the 150 years of the USDA and the Land-Grant University System. The USDA and the Land-Grant system extend education across the country, contributing to American agriculture success and rural prosperity. “Campus and Community” has demonstrations, discussions, hands-on activities, and entertainment to that showcase the many ways that this partnership works to improve American agriculture and rural life.  USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Bee Research Laboratory displays a live bee colony in a two-sided glass case at 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Thursday, June 28, 2012 on the National mall in Washington, D.C. One of the three themes this year is “Campus and Community.” It celebrates the 150 years of the USDA and the Land-Grant University System. The USDA and the Land-Grant system extend education across the country, contributing to American agriculture success and rural prosperity. “Campus and Community” has demonstrations, discussions, hands-on activities, and entertainment to that showcase the many ways that this partnership works to improve American agriculture and rural life. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

This week, representatives from USDA have been down on the National Mall, staffing hands-on exhibits about food safety, bioenergy and even bees.  Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have, for years, been studying Colony Collapse disorder (CCD), which has been attacking honey bee colonies since 2006. Read more »

What Anglers Can Do To Fight Invasive Species

Hi, I’m Dr. Janet Whaley, an aquatic veterinarian and avid angler.  I guess you could say fish are my passion!  I work every day to ensure the continued health of our nation’s fish, so that in my spare time, I can be out on the water with my fishing pole and a camera.

Invasive species can spread unintentionally on land and in the water.  This could damage our waters and our forests – and leave us with unhealthy or fewer fish to catch.  I don’t know about you, but I want to be sure I can bring my family fishing for years to come.  So I take proper steps to help keep invasive species in check.  The basic steps all anglers (and boaters, too) need to keep in mind include: Read more »