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Improvements in LGM Dairy Insurance

We here at USDA have been working on improving insurance coverage for America’s farmers and ranchers.  In particular, we have been working hard to improve insurance coverage for dairy producers.  In recent years, dairy farmers across the country faced a crisis and thousands considered bankruptcy.  One of the ways in which USDA has taken action is by improving the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle plan of insurance. Read more »

USDA Programs Are Available to Assist Local Farm Owners

Farm owner Andy Dunham (wearing cap) explains his crop production system to John Whitaker, FSA Iowa State Executive Director

Farm owner Andy Dunham (wearing cap) explains his crop production system to John Whitaker, FSA Iowa State Executive Director

Recent estimates indicate only nine percent of family farm income comes from farming and fewer than half of our nation’s farmers and ranchers list farming as their primary occupation. Read more »

A USDA Home Repair Grant Helps a Limited-Income Texas Homeowner Save Energy, Make Improvements

Julia Reyna was in need of assistance to repair her roof, replace the front and back doors, and replace falling sheetrock.  She manages her bills with monthly income from Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and SNAP (food assistance) however this did not provide her with enough income to pay for additional expenses.

Julia is 67 years old and suffers from arthritis. The condition of her house allowed cold and rain to penetrate.  During a visit to the USDA Rural Development office in Amarillo, Julia said that her roof had been severely damaged by hail, wind, and rainstorms that are prevalent in the Texas Panhandle. Due to the roof damage, there was extensive ceiling damage in the utility room and the bedrooms. The sheetrock had fallen from the ceiling in a number of places. Read more »

Good Morning America Visits Chicago to Highlight a Healthy School

 Good Morning America staff visited Chicago's Academy for Global Citizenship, a Gold of Distinction Healthier US School, as part of a segment that featured Secretary Vilsack who announced proposed rules for new meal patterns as recommended by IOM. The piece aired on Thursday, January 14th.

Good Morning America staff visited Chicago's Academy for Global Citizenship, a Gold of Distinction Healthier US School, as part of a segment that featured Secretary Vilsack who announced proposed rules for new meal patterns as recommended by IOM. The piece aired on Thursday, January 14th.

Yesterday, an ABC Good Morning America (GMA) crew visited the Academy for Global Citizenship in Chicago. Why was GMA at a small neighborhood school on the Second City’s southwest side on a frosty day in January? To help underscore the importance of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s recent announcement of proposed changes to school meal standards. Read more »

Meeting the Nutritional Needs of the Nation’s Schoolchildren

Cross-posted from the Let’s Move! Blog:

Ensuring our nation’s schoolchildren have the necessary nutrition to learn, grow, and thrive is commitment that we take very seriously at U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). On the heels of the historic passage of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, USDA has now released a proposed rule to enhance the quality of school meals by requiring more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk in our national school meals programs.  In addition to these healthy offerings, schools will have new standards to limit the levels of saturated fat, sodium, calories, and trans fats in those same meals.

As children now eat as many as two meals a day at school, it’s clear that the school food environment plays a more vital role in their health and welfare.  The science-based recommendations are, in fact, consistent with an Institute of Medicine report on improving the health of children. Read more »

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Art Contest Yields Beautiful Harvest

Steve Tava’s piece will be displayed in the Farm Service Agency Hawaii State Office in Honolulu.

As part of its approach to community outreach, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) American Samoa office sponsored a week-long effort to catalyze high school students and the public to think about pursuing a career in agriculture.

American Samoa consists of 7 islands and is 77 square miles, an area just slightly larger than Washington, D.C.  Due to the limited land area, traditional farming depends largely on “interspersed” farming of taro planted among banana crops, although local production is diversifying toward modern hydroponic operations. Read more »