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Tweet with Us before You Gobble! Join USDA for a Thanksgiving Food Safety Twitter Chat

Tomorrow, November 22, celebrity chef Ingrid Hoffman (known for her show, Simply Delicioso) will be joining USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline and a Food and Drug Administration food safety advisor to ease concerns for anyone hosting a Thanksgiving meal. Still haven’t bought your turkey and wondering what size to buy? Is your turkey still frozen, though your recipe calls for thawing? You don’t trust your brother-in-law to fry a bird properly? We have the solutions to these and more!

Log in to Twitter tomorrow from 1 pm to 2 pm EST, and include the hashtag #trkytips as you tweet your Thanksgiving food safety questions. @FoodSafetygov will select questions from the audience so that the chat covers a range of topics, and the panel of experts will respond via @USDAFoodSafety. If you do not have a specific question, just follow the hashtag to see what advice they send to other tweeps. Over the past 25 years, the Meat and Poultry Hotline truly has heard it all when it comes to Thanksgiving conundrums, and for one hour they will have Ingrid’s and the FDA’s extra support. Read more »

Key Partnerships Help Fewer Kids Go Hungry in Arkansas

I was privileged to be part of a recent celebration in Little Rock, Arkansas. Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe hosted a press conference with Share Our Strength and the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance to announce the achievements of the first year of their state-wide campaign to end childhood hunger.

Last October when the initiative was launched, Arkansas had the highest rate of childhood hunger in the nation. The governor was appalled and decided to do something about it. The Arkansas No Kid Hungry campaign kicked off with the main strategy of increasing participation in existing federal nutrition assistance programs. Their first-year goal was to increase participation in SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, by five percent, and to increase participation in the Summer Food Service Program by 10 percent. Read more »

Efforts to Improve Sage Grouse Habitat in California

Western juniper trees expanding into and displacing sagebrush and bitterbrush habitat. (USFS photo)

Western juniper trees expanding into and displacing sagebrush and bitterbrush habitat. (USFS photo)

The annual ritual dance by the chicken-sized male Greater sage grouse attracts potential mates and perpetuates the species. However, this important mating ritual is a rare experience in the Devil’s Garden, a region in northeastern California where the greater sage grouse populations are in serious decline. Read more »

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Encourages Students in Vietnam to Build a Better Future

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (right) speaking at Hanoi University of Agriculture, Hanoi, Vietnem on Wednesday, November 16, 2011.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (right) speaking at Hanoi University of Agriculture, Hanoi, Vietnam on Wednesday, November 16, 2011.

There are many things that Americans are known for, including dreaming big, working hard to turn those dreams into a reality, and reaching out to help others who are also trying to make their dreams come true. During his trip to Hanoi, Vietnam, earlier this week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack—whose own personal story and history of public service epitomizes these very characteristics—challenged a packed auditorium of more than 600 students and faculty at the Hanoi University of Agriculture (HUA) to be the generation whose dreams transform their communities, their country and their world. Read more »

Students Fuel Up to Play 60 in San Antonio

A Jackson Middle School student enjoys a healthy yogurt parfait with fresh fruit at lunch time.

A Jackson Middle School student enjoys a healthy yogurt parfait with fresh fruit at lunch time.

I recently joined Jackson Middle School students in San Antonio, Texas, to help kick-off their Fuel Up to Play 60 program.  The timing was right since September was National Childhood Obesity Awareness MonthRead more »

Natural Resources Conservation Service Provides Assistance to Choctaw Tribe

NRCS provided technical assistance to the Choctaws in the creation of Lake Pushmataha, a 285-acre lake in Neshoba County.

NRCS provided technical assistance to the Choctaws in the creation of Lake Pushmataha, a 285-acre lake in Neshoba County.

November is American Indian Heritage Month and offers a great time to recognize the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians for their stellar record as stewards of the environment. Read more »