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‘Tis the Season for Cut Christmas Trees

Christmas trees

A Christmas tree grove in Oregon.

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.

With the holiday season upon us, many people across the United States are out and about shopping for the perfect Christmas tree to deck their halls with holiday cheer. Sales of cut Christmas trees remain a large part of the U.S. horticulture industry as Americans continue to uphold the holiday tradition of fresh, cut trees – from the White House to state capitals across the United States, the smell of pine is vibrant this time of year. Read more »

Holiday Parties: Spread Cheer, Not Foodborne Illness

Cross-posted from FoodSafety.gov.

It’s that time of year when the parties never seem to end. They’re great occasions for exchanging good will and gifts – but not the dangerous bacteria that cause foodborne illness.

Here are some of the unwanted guests who may try to crash your party: Read more »

A Regional Collaboration in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom

Earlier this month I joined USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Conservation, (NRCS) Ann Mills, and Deputy Director of the Executive Secretariat, David Aten, in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont for a “Great Regions” convening.

Federal, state and local officials joined members of the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative and we shared some of the great progress Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG)  recipients have made and spoke about the challenges the communities of the three-county Kingdom face in securing a healthy, culturally robust and economically successful future. Read more »

The President and First Lady on Child Nutrition Bill: “The Basic Nutrition They Need to Learn and Grow and to Pursue Their Dreams”

Cross posted from the White House blog:

As one of her chief responsibilities and greatest passions, the First lady has dedicated herself to helping our children grow up healthy and reversing the alarming childhood obesity trend — so the President’s signing of the the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act this morning at a local DC school was particularly meaningful for her: Read more »

New Online Resource Links Retired Landowners to Beginning Farmers, Ranchers

A new online resource helps retiring farmers with land in the CRP program meet beginning farmers and ranchers who would like to bring part of the land into  production using sustainable grazing or crop production methods.

A new online resource helps retiring farmers with land in the CRP program meet beginning farmers and ranchers who would like to bring part of the land into production using sustainable grazing or crop production methods.

A new online resource is available to farmers with expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts and beginning farmers interested in obtaining land.

TIP Net is a website sponsored by the USDA Farm Service Agency designed to assist those who are interested in the Transition Incentives Program (TIP). The site serves as a matchmaker to link farmers with expiring CRP contracts to beginning farmers and ranchers who are interested in bringing the land into production. Read more »

An Update on Consultation with Tribes on SUTA from USDA

Throughout this year, USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) consulted with Tribes on the Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA) provision of the 2008 Farm Bill.  This provision directed RUS to develop a strategy to deliver infrastructure program funding tailored and more affordable to the circumstances and challenges facing trust lands in high need of RUS’s electric, telecommunications and water and waste program funding. Second, the provision directed RUS to consult with local governments and Federal agencies in implementing this effort. Read more »