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Christmas Tree Cutters: Make Sure Safety is on your List this Year

Young child assists with carrying a cut Christmas tree. The Forest Service  would like to remind those tree cutters to put safety first on their lists this year.

Young child assists with carrying a cut Christmas tree. The Forest Service would like to remind those tree cutters to put safety first on their lists this year.

During this holiday season, tree cutters are looking for the perfect, pristine Christmas tree as they trek through our national forests as part of their holiday tradition.

However, the Forest Service would like to remind those tree cutters to put safety first on their lists this year. Read more »

Forging the Future for Diversity and Inclusion

On Monday, USDA hosted a Hispanic Roundtable on recruiting, hiring and retaining Latino employees. The goal of this meeting was to further our partnerships with Hispanic-serving organization in order to better meet the needs of the populations we serve and to solicit best practices, ideas, and strategies to increase employment of Hispanics at USDA.

If someone had told me when I was younger that I would end up working at USDA—I would have never believed them. My parents were farmers and the reason that I ended up where I am today is because I was given an opportunity. Read more »

Oregon Forest Home for World’s Tallest Living Pine Tree

Tim Lovitt, a seasonal forester, stands next to the base of a 240-foot ponderosa pine, which has a smaller diameter than the ponderosa “Phalanx.” USFS photo.

Tim Lovitt, a seasonal forester, stands next to the base of a 240-foot ponderosa pine, which has a smaller diameter than the ponderosa “Phalanx.” USFS photo.

The ponderosa pine is fairly easy to identify. The orange-hued checked bark is well known to westerners.

What might not be as well known though is that these native trees can grow to sizes rivaling giant redwoods. Read more »

USDA 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum: Two Sessions Focus on International Trade

USDA’s 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum, Feb. 23-24, will present 25 breakout sessions, including the international trade-focused sessions: “Export Opportunities and Competition in Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) Countries” and “Trends in Agricultural Development & Trade in the Americas.” Read more »

Capitol Christmas Tree lights Nation’s Capital

A 63-foot Sierra white fir from the Stanislaus National Forest in California was lit as the 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree during a ceremony Dec. 6 on the west front lawn of the Capitol. The Christmas tree is adorned with about 3,000 ornaments, all homemade by California residents, and 10,000 energy-efficient lights. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

A 63-foot Sierra white fir from the Stanislaus National Forest in California was lit as the 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree during a ceremony Dec. 6 on the west front lawn of the Capitol. The Christmas tree is adorned with about 3,000 ornaments, all homemade by California residents, and 10,000 energy-efficient lights. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

About one week after its arrival to Washington, D.C., the Capitol Christmas Tree flashed its 10,000 lights and dazzled onlookers on the west front lawn of the Capitol Dec. 6. Read more »

Making the Right Connections in New Mexico

The No Kid Hungry New Mexico Campaign, an initiative of the New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger, is gaining partners and momentum.  The campaign is less than a year old, but already progress has been made on the 2011 goals: Increasing participation in the summer meals program, school breakfast, and SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  It’s so important to connect eligible people with the federal nutrition safety net.  And that is exactly what Share Our Strength and its partners are doing in New Mexico and across the nation to end childhood hunger.

Part of the No Kid Hungry New Mexico campaign centers on school breakfast, an area of special interest to me. I can see the potential to reach more children just by changing the way breakfast is offered to students. A healthy breakfast makes a big impact on a child’s well being – physically and mentally.  That translates to better attentiveness, performance and behavior in school, too.   This method also eliminates the stigma for low-income children of coming to school early for a free breakfast in the cafeteria. And many children simply can’t get to school before the first bell. Read more »