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Time is Ticking! Final Days to Submit Your Favorite Recipe

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

As schools across the country entered the holiday break, we sent out a friendly reminder that the Recipes for Healthy Kids Competition is coming to a close December 30 at 5:00 p.m.  But it is not too late for teams across the country to get their winning recipes in and make a difference in the lives of millions of kids. Read more »

Holiday Food Safety Bloopers

Cross-posted from the FoodSafety.gov blog.

The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline talked to about 350 people on Thanksgiving Day about thawing, preparing and storing turkey. Most people were right on track and just needed some reassuring about handling the big bird. Some people, however, called about situations that could be disastrous – or even deadly.

Even though these problems involved turkey, the same food safety principles apply if you’re cooking ham, duck, goose or any another holiday meat. Read more »

From Ship to Shore: U.S. Soy to Benefit Afghan Families

Associate Administrator Janet Nuzum, center, with WISHH executive director Jim Hershey, left of Nuzum, ARREFF president John Fornazor, far left, and soybean producers from Virginia, Illinois and North Carolina with bags of soy flour bound for Afghanistan.

A view of the Port of Norfolk from the Virginia Port Authority’s (VPA) tenth-floor conference room. The soy flour is expected to leave the port on Dec. 23 and arrive in Afghanistan by Feb. 1.

As we approached Norfolk, Va. yesterday, we could see the big seaport cranes in the distance, hovering over neat stacks of multicolored containers. Hulking cargo ships moved in and out of the port, one of the East Coast’s busiest, collecting and carrying U.S. products to millions of consumers overseas. Truck drivers, longshoremen, port police – so many careers make up a bustling port city. Somewhere in this flurry was the container we had come to see. We found it at the facilities of ARREFF, just beyond the water’s reach in the town of Portsmouth. ARREFF is a “transloader,” a business that packs, repacks and helps to transfer U.S. products destined for foreign markets. Read more »

After 500 Loans, Beadle and Spink Enterprise Community (BASEC) is Still Going Strong

Beadle and Spink Enterprise Community (BASEC) just made its 500th loan and through its revolving loan program has loaned over $16 million dollars to improve the economic and housing climate of part of South Dakota since 1996. BASEC (named after the two counties it serves) has less than a 1 percent default rate and has made loans to all income levels with the majority being low to moderate income applicants.  Some of the borrowers have had excellent credit histories and some not so good.  Executive Director Lori Hintz feels the key to the low default rate besides the fact that great people live in the service area, is that when times get tough, they try to work out a plan that works for them, their cash flow and their situation. Read more »

Hitchhiking at Christmas

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.

Even in a tropical paradise like Hawaii, Christmas just isn’t Christmas to some folks without an evergreen tree decked out with twinkling lights and sparkling ornaments. But some USDA scientists worry about that Yule tree being decked out with something else: invasive western yellowjackets. Read more »

Students Participate in Pajaro Project Planting Day

Pajaro Valley High School students plant trees, shrubs and grasses along the Pajaro River at an ARRA project site near Watsonville, CA.

Pajaro Valley High School students plant trees, shrubs and grasses along the Pajaro River at an ARRA project site near Watsonville, CA.

As many as 28 students from the Pajaro Valley High School recently planted wetland trees, shrubs and grasses as part of a Pajaro River Watershed project near Watsonville, California.

For this project, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is working with the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County, Watsonville Wetlands Watch and the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County to restore wetland habitat in the Pajaro River floodplain. Read more »