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Celebrating Nature’s Hidden Treasure – The Mushroom

As a mushroom enthusiast, National Mushroom Month is one of the most anticipated times of the year for me.  It’s a chance to eat as many of the mushroom’s healthy, tasty varieties as possible in new and classic heart-warming recipes.

Mushrooms are a great source of nutrients – including vitamin D, riboflavin, niacin, potassium, selenium and B vitamins – that can help every American meet the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) MyPlate guidelines for healthy eating. Because mushrooms are low in calories, fat and cholesterol-free, and low in sodium, their hearty, meaty texture provides a satisfying meal option that can fill you up while helping you sustain healthy eating habits.

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US Forest Service Symbol Woodsy Owl Turns 40

The U.S. Department of Agriculture debuts Woodsy Owl in Washington, D.C. in 1971. His signature motto then was “Give a hoot; don’t pollute!”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture debuts Woodsy Owl in Washington, D.C. in 1971. His signature motto then was “Give a hoot; don’t pollute!”

Did you know that Woodsy Owl has been giving a hoot for 40 years? This week, the furry and big-eyed environmental and antipollution steward marks 40 years of being a U.S. Forest Service symbol. Read more »

Defense of our Nation’s Food Supply – What is USDA Doing and What Can You do to Help?

National Preparedness Month is a good opportunity to reflect on progress towards ensuring the security of our Nation’s food supply.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers defense of the food and agriculture sector critical– all the way from farm to fork. Some animal or plant diseases could have drastic consequences on our economy – yet another reason it’s important that we continue our efforts to improve food and agricultural emergency preparedness and response.

You probably are familiar with many of the USDA agencies whose animal, plant and or food inspection programs have touched your life at some point whether traveling or simply buying meat or poultry sold in grocery stores.

For example, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) enhance agricultural security through numerous programs.  These programs range from inspecting native and foreign agricultural products, to evaluating food system vulnerabilities,  to maintaining laboratory networks that can rapidly identify diseases and pests.  To illustrate, some of our efforts over the last year include: Read more »

NRCS Works with Partners to Help Endangered Dusky Gopher Frog

Julie Grogan-Brown and Al Garner, both with NRCS, meet a gopher tortoise, one of the threatened species that call longleaf pine forests home.

Julie Grogan-Brown and Al Garner, both with NRCS, meet a gopher tortoise, one of the threatened species that call longleaf pine forests home.

Recently I got an intimate tour of a longleaf pine forest, a rapidly vanishing Southeastern ecosystem that is home to one-of-a-kind wildlife. Longleaf pines once dominated the landscape of coastal Mississippi, but deforestation and urbanization have decreased both these forests and the unique plants and animals that call them home. Read more »

Forest Service Waives Fees for National Public Lands Day, Sept. 24

River Clean Up Crew on Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania

River Clean Up Crew on Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania

Just one day after the start of autumn,  the Forest Service is waiving fees at hundreds of recreation sites across the country on Saturday, Sept. 24 in recognition of Public Lands Day. Read more »

With USDA Assistance, an Arizona Ranch Family Finds Savings “Blowing in the Wind”

The folks in the small community of Taylor, Arizona, have a reputation for creative problem solving. Back in the late 1800’s local blacksmith Joseph Hancock came up with an ingenious solution for celebrating the Fourth of July in the tiny town. The tradition then was for towns to fire their cannons to celebrate Independence Day.

But the Town of Taylor was without a cannon. So Hancock offered up two historic anvils and the tradition of “firing the anvil” became an annual event for the town. At dawn every Fourth of July, the Jennings Band members climb onto a flatbed truck and ride up and down the neighborhoods in Taylor, stopping on street corners while the anvil is fired and patriotic music is played for the sleepy residents. Read more »