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Construction Begins on South Dakota Wind Project

Today, November 18, 210, Basin Electric Power Cooperative based in Bismarck, ND, will receive a USDA Rural Development Rural Utilities loan guarantee for $153,396,000 for two wind projects in Mina, ND.  Together these projects will provide 120 MW of renewable electricity.  Combined with Basin’s previous wind investments, they are expected to represent over 600 MW of wind generation – enough to power the average annual needs of 175,000 homes. Read more »

USDA Offers Funding To Help Farmers Turn Manure into Energy

Right now, across the country, innovative agricultural producers are turning farm animal manure into renewable energy through a process called anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion is a proven technology – available to farmers today – that represents a huge economic opportunity for rural America, while simultaneously addressing our nation’s energy and climate challenges.  This technology utilizes bacteria that breakdown waste and produce a biogas that contains methane and carbon dioxide. The biogas is then captured and used as a source of renewable energy, primarily by combusting the gas to generate electricity. Read more »

A Nudge in the Right Direction: USDA Sponsors Behavioral Economics Research to Promote Healthy Eating at School

Drs. Brian Wansink (left) and David Just will head the new USDA-funded Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs. The Center will help researchers, Food Service Directors and policy makers develop and implement sustainable, research-based strategies for guiding children to make healthy food choices at school. Researchers visit with  students at the Beverly J. Martin Elementary School in Ithaca, NY.

Drs. Brian Wansink (left) and David Just will head the new USDA-funded Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs. The Center will help researchers, Food Service Directors and policy makers develop and implement sustainable, research-based strategies for guiding children to make healthy food choices at school. Researchers visit with students at the Beverly J. Martin Elementary School in Ithaca, NY.

Across the nation, schools are responding to the Let’s Move! initiative by providing students with a wide range of healthy food choices.  But making the healthy option available is not enough—it’s not nutrition unless children select it and eat it. So the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is complementing these efforts with research on how to encourage children to make healthful food choices at school, drawing on the new field of behavioral economics.  We recently announced a $1 million USDA-funded award to establish the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Program. Headed by David Just and Brian Wansink, the Center will lead, coordinate and disseminate research that applies behavioral economics to child nutrition program operations and activities. Read more »

Webinar Offers Insight on Exporting to our Neighbor to the North…Canada!

Did you know that Canada is the United States’ largest agricultural trading partner, accounting for 16 percent of all U.S. agricultural trade? In 2009, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada were valued at $15.7 billion. Geographical proximity, similar business practices and eating habits make Canada an attractive export market for new-to-export and new-to-market U.S. companies. Some of Canada’s major agricultural imports from the United States include: fresh vegetables, snack foods, fresh fruits, processed fruits and vegetables, fruit juices, red meats, forest products and fish and seafood. Read more »

USDA Rural Development Programs Benefit Bois Forte Tribe in Minnesota

The Bois Forte Tribe in northeastern Minnesota has taken a proactive approach toward economic development. As recently as 10 years ago, there were areas of the Bois Forte community that did not have safe and sanitary drinking water. Building safe and affordable housing for tribal members also was an issue, along with other infrastructure and facility needs. Read more »

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Buying the Holiday Turkey

Cross-posted from the FoodSafety.gov blog.

What would Thanksgiving be without the turkey? Most of us plan our entire holiday dinner around the turkey. That’s a lot of pressure on one bird! Read more »