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The Recovery Act Strengthened Food Security for Low-Income Families

Young mother with baby selects items in produce aisle of grocery store.

Young mother with baby selects items in produce aisle of grocery store.

Much of my work as a sociologist at the Economic Research Service (ERS) involves research on the food security of U.S. households – their ability to consistently obtain adequate food. My colleagues and I were naturally concerned about how the economic downturn that began in late 2007 would affect the food security of economically vulnerable households. It was no surprise that from 2007 to the end of 2008, households’ food insecurity increased in tandem with rising unemployment. Read more »

Organic Farm Provides a Model for New Mexico

Wildlife habitat improvements on the Rio Grande Community Farm.

Wildlife habitat improvements on the Rio Grande Community Farm.

Minor Morgan has promoted organic farming for decades. And since the early 1990s, Morgan, executive director of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Community Farm, has been working with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop a farming process that is economically and environmentally sustainable. Through its innovative use of well and surface water to support a certified organic drip irrigation system year-round, the Rio Grande Community Farm stands alone in the state as a model for sustainable farming. Read more »

USDA Statistician Named 2010 Ag Person of the Year

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 the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Proving that agriculture does indeed count, Director of the Statistics Division at USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Joe Prusacki, was selected as ProFarmer’s 2010 Ag Person of the Year.

This award is a great honor for Prusacki and is shared by all of USDA as it exemplifies the department’s continued commitment to actively listen and be responsive to the needs of its stakeholders.  Previous notable recipients include Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns , a former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Read more »

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Tours Cutting-Edge Renewable Energy Facility in Michigan

Last week, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visited the campus of Michigan State University to participate in a tour of the cellulosic ethanol pretreatment lab at MBI International and conduct a roundtable discussion with key stakeholders in Michigan’s biofuels community.

MBI is owned by the Michigan State University Foundation and its purpose is to “de-risk” emerging technologies, making them more viable for commercial application.  One of MBI’s current projects is developing ways to scale cellulosic ethanol from the laboratory to the marketplace. Read more »

Faces of the Forest Celebrates Nan Christianson

Nan Christianson worked in many jobs during her three decades with the U.S. Forest Service.  She considers them all gifts.

“I think that because I’ve been able to work with communities as well as with natural resources, it is fun to go back and see some of the things I have been a part of over the past 30 years that are making a difference in communities and in the mountains today”, said Christianson, Assistant Director for Communications at the Rocky Mountain Research Station, in Fort Collins, Colo. Read more »

New USDA Grant Aimed at Improving Food Safety for Nation’s Kids

Millions of those who receive nutrition assistance from the federal government are children. Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our kids and so, at USDA, we are working to ensure that kids are being served safe, high quality meals.

To emphasize this priority, Secretary Vilsack has just announced that Kansas State University was selected to establish the Center of Excellence for Food Safety Research in Child Nutrition Programs.  Their important work will provide science-based support to improve the safety of USDA foods, particularly those served in schools and child care settings. Read more »