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USDA’s Chief Scientist Woteki Helps Connect Scientists from across the Globe to Meet Global Challenges Facing Food and Agriculture

In an effort to advance food and agricultural research that enables farmers and ranchers to meet the growing global demand for food, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Chief Scientist Catherine Woteki will lead the U.S. Government’s delegation to the first-ever Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS) in Guadalajara, Mexico this week. Member countries committed to the meeting earlier this year at the June 2012 G-20 Leaders Summit, as a step to gain greater efficiency and utility from global agricultural research investments. The meeting is being convened by the Mexican government as part of their role heading the Group of Twenty (G-20) this year.

“Over the next 50 years, we will need to produce as much food for the world’s population as has been produced in the entire history of mankind,” said Woteki, who is also USDA’s Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. “A challenge this serious and urgent requires bringing together the best minds in food and agricultural science to chart our course on research. This meeting is the first of its kind, and I believe it is the beginning of a collaboration that will benefit scientists, farmers, and citizens around the world.” Read more »

New Beef Cut List Opens Trade Possibilities for U.S. Producers

In a collaborative effort, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, Foreign Agricultural Service and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) recently published a revised list of beef cuts.  The list now includes U.S. cuts, based on USDA standards, available for export to Chile under the existing Free Trade Agreement. The addition of the new cuts, listed next to their Chilean equivalent, will allow U.S. producers to send more products to Chile.

The U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement became effective January 1, 2004, and was the first such arrangement with a South American country.  It provides America’s farmers, ranchers, food processors, and their businesses improved, and in many cases, new access to Chile’s market of 15 million consumers. The Free Trade Agreement calls for duty-free access on all products and addresses other trade measures for both countries. Read more »

Chimney Rock National Monument Joins Six Others Managed by the Forest Service

Chimney Rock, designed a national monument on Sept. 21, 2012, was home to the Ancestral Pueblo People about 1,000 years ago and is culturally significant for Native American tribes. The dramatic Great House Pueblo was likely was used as an observatory for the annual summer solstice.

Chimney Rock, designated a national monument on Sept. 21, 2012, was home to the Ancestral Pueblo People about 1,000 years ago and is culturally significant for Native American tribes. The dramatic Great House Pueblo was likely was used as an observatory for the annual summer solstice.

Chimney Rock Archaeological Area – the jewel of San Juan National Forest – shines a lot brighter today after President Obama signed a proclamation establishing the area and surrounding land as Chimney Rock National Monument. It is the United States’ 103rd national monument and the seventh to be managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Read more »

Students Get Involved: In Arkansas, a Healthy Garden Means a Healthy School

These cabbages would be the pride of any gardener, but in this case the gardeners are eighty 2nd and 4th grade students from Junction City Elementary in Junction City, Arkansas. They are among the 4,000 students in 54 schools across the country participating in Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth (HGHY) – a project of USDA’s People’s Garden School Pilot Project.

With its southern climate, the schools in Arkansas got a head start on building their gardens and planting crops. On this day, Arkansas HGHY Principal Investigator Laura Connerly and project leads Janet Carson and Julie Treat of the University of Arkansas, along with HGHY Project Director Brad Gaolach and Martha Aitken from Washington State University, watched the students enthusiastically harvest cabbage, beets, basil, and green beans – pounds and pounds of them.

Directing the harvest was University of Arkansas Extension horticulture agent, Robin Bridges, and 4-H Program Assistant, Cynthia Ford, who have taken the Junction City students step by step through building, planning, planting and now, harvesting their garden.  HGHY has enjoyed the full participation of the Junction City Elementary staff from Principal Rebekah West, to the four classroom teachers – Jan Wilson, Dee McKinnon, Connie Hammett and Patricia Murray – to the cafeteria and custodial teams, providing a rich environment for the students to learn about healthy eating. Read more »

Community Members’ Viability, and Support from USDA Advance a South Dakota Rural Community

Expertise, vision, and commitment to see a project through are what put Wagner, South Dakota into the forefront.  The City of Wagner has a lot to celebrate with the open house for the repair and renovation of the Parkview Villa Apartments, and ribbon cuttings for both the Wagner Community Memorial Hospital and Wagner Early Childhood.  USDA Rural Development provided funding, measured with community members’ support towards these projects, and made them possible.

For example, Parkview Villa Apartments has been renovated to include six-two bedroom and 25-one bedroom apartments, roofing, siding, plumbing, electrical, flooring, windows, appliances, and handicap accessibility.  The project has experienced vacancy in recent years, but with the renovation and upgrades being made, it is anticipated that is will soon be fully occupied.  “This project is instrumental in providing quality, safe and affordable housing for the elderly of our community, housing they have earned and deserve.  I am extremely proud of our board, they saw a tremendous need and addressed it head on overcoming numerous obstacles,” said Bryan Slaba, President, Parkview Villa Inc. Read more »

Forest Service Waives Fees on National Public Lands Day

Visitors Hiking on Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming

Visitors Hiking on Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming

The crisp air and vivid colors of fall make forests especially welcoming this time of year. The Forest Service wants everyone to get out and enjoy the natural beautiful of America’s lands, so in observance of National Public Lands Day, on Saturday, Sept. 29, we will again waive the standard amenity fees for a full day at recreation sites nationwide.

This annual fee-waiver event is designed to instill a sense of shared stewardship and educate the public about the importance of natural resources. This is the third time this year the Forest Service is offering fee waivers. Read more »