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DC Quake Rocked the District, but the Tweets Rolled On

Number seven on our list of Social Media Moments was our August Twitter chat with Food and Nutrition Service’s Under Secretary, Kevin Concannon and ABC’s Dr. Richard Besser.  This edition of Dr. Besser’s weekly live chat addressed hunger in America and allowed audience members to pose questions to Under Secretary Concannon via Twitter. This was a great opportunity for us as we opened our virtual doors to many individuals who might not otherwise be able to “speak” directly to our key official on the issue.

Although the Under Secretary and other agency leadership often travel to schools, food banks, community centers and other venues to talk about hunger and nutrition issues, this Twitter chat was a little bit different.  This wasn’t a planned speech or a more common scheduled Tweet from our blog. The Twitter chat was Concannon having a conversation with people he had never met but who gathered virtually around an important issue. Sitting in the room around our laptop with the Tweet-stream projected on the wall, we were able to use our well-established Twitter channel in a more nimble and free-flowing manner, rather than just a broadcast. Read more »

Ag Producers Improve Two Coastal Bayous in Mississippi Through New Gulf of Mexico Initiative

Mississippi’s Gulf Coast is a major environmental and economic resource. Conservationists have worked to improve beaches and coastal rivers, including the planting of sea oats in past years.

Mississippi’s Gulf Coast is a major environmental and economic resource. Conservationists have worked to improve beaches and coastal rivers, including the planting of sea oats in past years.

For Kiln, Miss. resident David Koch, there’s a lot of truth to the expression “everything runs downstream.” Koch’s land borders Rotten Bayou, and he has made great strides to ensure no pollutants wash off his land and into the bayou, which feeds the Gulf of Mexico. Read more »

A Year in the Office of the Chief Scientist

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 USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

2011 is the first full calendar year that the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) has been staffed and running. First established by the 2008 Farm Bill, the OCS has since been filled out with senior advisors and agency scientists working with USDA’s Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics (REE) Dr. Catherine Woteki. Together, they coordinate and translate the science of USDA research agencies into meaningful products and communicate to USDA stakeholders and the general public about USDA science. Here is what OCS has achieved this past year: Read more »

USDA Course Improves Training for Agricultural Development in Afghanistan

USDA agricultural advisors, members of the Wisconsin National Guard and members of the 401st Civil Affairs Battalion learn about irrigation techniques used in Afghanistan while participating in Agricultural Development for Afghanistan Pre-deployment Training (ADAPT) in San Luis Obispo, Calif. from Dec. 12-16.  The week-long course taught the students about farming practices currently used in Afghanistan and ways to help improve efficiency and increase production. Photo by Ryan Brewster, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service

USDA agricultural advisors, members of the Wisconsin National Guard and members of the 401st Civil Affairs Battalion learn about irrigation techniques used in Afghanistan while participating in Agricultural Development for Afghanistan Pre-deployment Training (ADAPT) in San Luis Obispo, Calif. from Dec. 12-16. The week-long course taught the students about farming practices currently used in Afghanistan and ways to help improve efficiency and increase production. Photo by Ryan Brewster, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service

This year, USDA helped create and is funding a standardized training course for individuals going to Afghanistan to support agricultural revitalization efforts. Read more »

Sharing our Harvest Festival, Virtually

@USDA: Check out this #MyPumpkin, @PeoplesGarden style!

@USDA: Check out this #MyPumpkin, @PeoplesGarden style!

We’re fortunate to have a functional garden right at our doorstep in Washington, DC. The People’s Garden is always buzzing with plantings, harvest and learning opportunities for employees and visitors alike. Every fall, The People’s Garden team puts together a Harvest Festival celebrating the end of the growing season with food, recipes, games and entertainment. Although there are People’s Gardens sprouting up worldwide, we know most of our blog readers and Twitter followers wouldn’t be able to attend. Read more »

How One School in Georgia Handles The Most Important Meal of the Day

A student works hard on her assignment while eating a grab ‘n’ go breakfast in Mikelle Caine’s second grade advance class at Lake Forest Elementary School, Sandy Springs, Ga., (USDA photo by Debbie Smoot).

A student works hard on her assignment while eating a grab ‘n’ go breakfast in Mikelle Caine’s second grade advance class at Lake Forest Elementary School, Sandy Springs, Ga., (USDA photo by Debbie Smoot).

Some say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I have to agree especially when it comes to children. Starting the day with a healthy breakfast helps keep kids alert and focused on learning rather than lunch. But not every child eats a nutritious breakfast at home. In fact, even though 32 million students participate in the National School Lunch Program each day, only 12 million students eat a school breakfast daily. That means we have to continue to work to get those school breakfast numbers up! Read more »