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Going to the Source—FAS International Staff Experience U.S. Agriculture Firsthand

LES participants Amit Aradhey (India), Jennifer Wilson (United Kingdom), Fana Sylla (Senegal), Junyang Jiang (China), and Asmat Raza (Pakistan) discuss cattle feed with Jim Rohe while on a tour of the Rohe Dairy Farm in Freeport, MN.  LES participants Amit Aradhey (India), Jennifer Wilson (United Kingdom), Fana Sylla (Senegal), Junyang Jiang (China), and Asmat Raza (Pakistan) discuss cattle feed with Jim Rohe while on a tour of the Rohe Dairy Farm in Freeport, MN.

LES participants Amit Aradhey (India), Jennifer Wilson (United Kingdom), Fana Sylla (Senegal), Junyang Jiang (China), and Asmat Raza (Pakistan) discuss cattle feed with Jim Rohe while on a tour of the Rohe Dairy Farm in Freeport, MN.

Some of USDA’s international employees were in the United States last month, exchanging information with their stateside counterparts and learning firsthand how U.S. agricultural systems and processes work. Read more »

Faith-based Partner Puts Healthy Food Within Seniors’ Reach

In 2009, thousands of seniors experienced hunger in Ohio because they didn’t know about USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This means they are at risk for food insecurity and malnutrition. For many years now, eligible seniors across America have not participated in SNAP, so when I heard Toledo Area Ministries (TAM) was out in the community helping change that, I had to learn more.

Since receiving a three-year USDA SNAP outreach grant in 2009, TAM has partnered with Lucas County Jobs and Family Services (LCJFS) to identify and enroll eligible seniors in SNAP. LCJFS provides the critical data to target outreach efforts, and TAM goes out into the community to find underserved seniors. The result? Fewer hungry seniors in Lucas County. Read more »

Preservation Kentucky Awards Daniel Boone National Forest for their Rock Shelter Protection Efforts

A hiker explores a rock shelter in the Red River Gorge (photo courtesy of Daniel Boone National Forest).

A hiker explores a rock shelter in the Red River Gorge (photo courtesy of Daniel Boone National Forest).

In the Red River Gorge, archaeological evidence indicates human inhabitance of rock shelters beginning at least 12,000 years ago. The artifacts found at these sites represent the daily lives of Native Americans who once lived in Kentucky. The rock shelters also include the remains of many historic period industries, such as saltpeter mining and moonshining. Read more »

California Tree to Shine Christmas Cheer on the Capitol

Last year's Capitol Christmas Tree from the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming was lit on Dec. 7, 2010.

Last year's Capitol Christmas Tree from the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming was lit on Dec. 7, 2010.

In less than two months, a 65-foot Californian white fir from Stanislaus National Forest will grace the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

Have you ever wondered how the Capitol Christmas Tree is selected? Read more »

New Technology Means Increased Consistency and Efficiency in Grading for Beef Industry

A screenshot from the electronic grading system showing USDA Choice, Yield Grade 2 beef. The left is the natural color view of the cut; the right is the instrument enhanced view that details the amount of marbling, size, and fat thickness. Beef grading is a complex and detailed process, requiring graders to think and calculate quickly with great accuracy.  Using technology to compliment and supplement the onsite human graders generates an efficient and more precise process.

A screenshot from the electronic grading system showing USDA Choice, Yield Grade 2 beef. The left is the natural color view of the cut; the right is the instrument enhanced view that details the amount of marbling, size, and fat thickness. Beef grading is a complex and detailed process, requiring graders to think and calculate quickly with great accuracy. Using technology to compliment and supplement the onsite human graders generates an efficient and more precise process.

The USDA Choice and USDA Prime grade shields are highly regarded, both domestically and internationally, as symbols of high-quality American beef.  Cattle producers and feeders increasingly rely on USDA grades to determine payments for their cattle—a vital link to supporting and sustaining rural America. Read more »

Helicopters Give Fish a Better Chance to Spawn in Oregon

Large wood plays many roles in river systems, including providing needed structure for the proper channel conditions in a stream, enhancing the production of aquatic invertebrates - which provide food for the trout - and essential cover for juvenile and adult fish.

Large wood plays many roles in river systems, including providing needed structure for the proper channel conditions in a stream, enhancing the production of aquatic invertebrates - which provide food for the trout - and essential cover for juvenile and adult fish.

Working collaboratively, the Fremont-Winema National Forest, Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust, Oregon Department of Fish, and Wildlife and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department are completing a restoration project designed to improve redband trout spawning and rearing habitat on the Lower Williamson River in south central Oregon. Read more »