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USDA Assesses Freeze Damage of Florida Oranges

A Florida orange showing evidence of freeze damage at the center cut. Cell walls have weakened and separated, leaving a hole from which juice can seep out and evaporate.

A Florida orange showing evidence of freeze damage at the center cut. Cell walls have weakened and separated, leaving a hole from which juice can seep out and evaporate.

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.

This year’s weather has presented some challenges for Florida’s citrus growers. In December, sub-freezing temperatures hit the citrus-growing region in the state, threatening this year’s citrus crops, which account for more than half of all citrus production in the United States. Read more »

New Dietary Guidelines Urge Consumers to Enjoy Food, but watch Calories In, Calories Out

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (seated right) announced the release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans in the George Washington University Jack Morton Auditorium, Monday, January 31 in Washington, DC. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is the federal governments evidence-based nutritional guidance to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (seated right) announced the release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans in the George Washington University Jack Morton Auditorium, Monday, January 31 in Washington, DC. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is the federal governments evidence-based nutritional guidance to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity.

Today I had the honor to join the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius to release the 2010 Dietary Guidelines – a science-based roadmap to give busy individuals, moms and dads the information to make thoughtful choices for themselves and their families. It was inspiring to see so many young people in the audience, followed by important health and nutrition questions from George Washington University students. Read more »

FSA Administrator Stresses Importance of New CRP Sign-Up to Preserve Habitat and Protect Soil from Runoff

Speaking to a packed house at Pheasant Fest in Omaha last week, Farm Service Administrator Jonathan Coppess praised the accomplishments of a lengthy and highly successful partnership between Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Pheasants Forever organization — a partnership that revolves around the success of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

How successful is CRP? According to Coppess, since its inception 25 years ago, CRP acres have resulted in an 8 billion ton reduction in soil erosion, restoration of 2 million acres of wetlands and adjacent buffers, vegetative protection of more than 200,000 stream bank buffers, significant increases in upland wildlife numbers which translates to recreational dollars for many rural economies. Read more »

Custom-Built Tax Resources for Farmers and Ranchers

Farming isn’t easy.  It’s a seven-days-a-week job that requires a diverse set of skills, long hours, and some luck with the weather.  It’s with this in mind that the National Farm Income Tax Extension Committee recently created RuralTax.org, an online tool that provides agricultural producers with a source for agriculturally related income and self-employment tax information that is both easy to understand and continually updated to reflect changes in tax laws.

The Committee has a 50-plus year history of working with the IRS to edit Publication 225: The Farmer’s Tax Guide. It’s comprised of representatives from more than 12 land-grant universities around the country, who realized the need to partner with USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) to provide more information for farmers about Federal taxes. We at RMA are dedicated to providing useful tools for farmers to access crucial information and are proud to have provided support for the website. Read more »

Rural Development Maine State Director Says USDA is Leading the Way in Renewable Energy Development Efforts

The Maine Wind Energy Conference entitled Maine’s Wind Energy Future: New Opportunities, New Challenges, was held at the Augusta Civic Center on January 24 and 25. As State Director I was asked to address a crowd of nearly 200 stakeholders in Maine’s energy future, giving a keynote in which I addressed USDA Rural Development’s vital role as a leader in the future of renewable energy development in Maine and across the country. Read more »

USDA Removes Two New York Townships from Regulation for Golden Nematode

By itself, it would have been great news when USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently announced the absence of golden nematode in the townships of Elba and Byron in Genesee County, New York, and removed these areas from regulation.  APHIS and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets have been working together since 1944 on an aggressive survey, quarantine, and control program to combat one of the world’s most damaging potato pests from the State.  The success in these townships demonstrates the effectiveness and importance of these continuing cooperative efforts. Read more »