Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

A Year in the Office of the Chief Scientist

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.

2011 is the first full calendar year that the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) has been staffed and running. First established by the 2008 Farm Bill, the OCS has since been filled out with senior advisors and agency scientists working with USDA’s Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics (REE) Dr. Catherine Woteki. Together, they coordinate and translate the science of USDA research agencies into meaningful products and communicate to USDA stakeholders and the general public about USDA science. Here is what OCS has achieved this past year: Read more »

USDA Course Improves Training for Agricultural Development in Afghanistan

USDA agricultural advisors, members of the Wisconsin National Guard and members of the 401st Civil Affairs Battalion learn about irrigation techniques used in Afghanistan while participating in Agricultural Development for Afghanistan Pre-deployment Training (ADAPT) in San Luis Obispo, Calif. from Dec. 12-16.  The week-long course taught the students about farming practices currently used in Afghanistan and ways to help improve efficiency and increase production. Photo by Ryan Brewster, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service

USDA agricultural advisors, members of the Wisconsin National Guard and members of the 401st Civil Affairs Battalion learn about irrigation techniques used in Afghanistan while participating in Agricultural Development for Afghanistan Pre-deployment Training (ADAPT) in San Luis Obispo, Calif. from Dec. 12-16. The week-long course taught the students about farming practices currently used in Afghanistan and ways to help improve efficiency and increase production. Photo by Ryan Brewster, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service

This year, USDA helped create and is funding a standardized training course for individuals going to Afghanistan to support agricultural revitalization efforts. Read more »

Sharing our Harvest Festival, Virtually

@USDA: Check out this #MyPumpkin, @PeoplesGarden style!

@USDA: Check out this #MyPumpkin, @PeoplesGarden style!

We’re fortunate to have a functional garden right at our doorstep in Washington, DC. The People’s Garden is always buzzing with plantings, harvest and learning opportunities for employees and visitors alike. Every fall, The People’s Garden team puts together a Harvest Festival celebrating the end of the growing season with food, recipes, games and entertainment. Although there are People’s Gardens sprouting up worldwide, we know most of our blog readers and Twitter followers wouldn’t be able to attend. Read more »

How One School in Georgia Handles The Most Important Meal of the Day

A student works hard on her assignment while eating a grab ‘n’ go breakfast in Mikelle Caine’s second grade advance class at Lake Forest Elementary School, Sandy Springs, Ga., (USDA photo by Debbie Smoot).

A student works hard on her assignment while eating a grab ‘n’ go breakfast in Mikelle Caine’s second grade advance class at Lake Forest Elementary School, Sandy Springs, Ga., (USDA photo by Debbie Smoot).

Some say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I have to agree especially when it comes to children. Starting the day with a healthy breakfast helps keep kids alert and focused on learning rather than lunch. But not every child eats a nutritious breakfast at home. In fact, even though 32 million students participate in the National School Lunch Program each day, only 12 million students eat a school breakfast daily. That means we have to continue to work to get those school breakfast numbers up! Read more »

Giving Citrus this Holiday Season? Four Things You Need to Know

If you are looking to give a thoughtful, healthy gift this holiday season, citrus is the way to go. But beware of infected citrus fruit and plants, especially if you plan to buy citrus online.

Before you give citrus, here are four things you should know: Read more »

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Our Favorite Social Media Moments from 2011

As 2011 draws to an end, this is a time where we begin to look back on things we learned or achieved, and to make resolutions for the year ahead.  We wanted to take the end of 2011 to look back on the wide range of social media activities that we had the pleasure of planning, executing and watching unfold across the Department in an effort to better serve you, our most important audience. From Twitter chats, to video challenges, to new ways to share valuable data, we think USDA really upped the ante on the social media front this year.

Read more »