Cross posted from the Council on Environmental Quality blog:
Last week, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and I announced our intent for finalizing a new planning rule to govern management of the National Forest System. The 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands are critical to President Obama’s vision of an economy built to last, providing clean air, clean water, habitat for wildlife, opportunities for healthy outdoor recreation, jobs and growth in rural communities, and a range of other benefits for all Americans.
When finalized, a new rule will replace outdated procedures that have been in place since 1982 that no longer reflect the best science, public values, or agency expertise. Land management plan revisions under the preferred alternative would cost less money and take less time, while protecting and restoring our forests, water and wildlife and supporting vibrant rural communities. Read more »
This month marked an important step forward for the health and well-being of our nation’s youngsters. USDA announced changes to improve the quality of school lunches that are served to 32 million American children each day. This will help them learn and better prepare them for the jobs of the 21st century.
These new standards – based on the most up-to-date science – will make the same kinds of practical changes that many parents are already encouraging at home:
They’ll make sure students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week – and increase opportunities to eat whole grains. They’ll substantially reduce the amount of saturated fat, trans-fats and salt in meals. And they’ll ensure appropriate portion size, limiting calories based on how old a child is. To drink, kids will be offered fat-free or low-fat milk. Read more »
The owners of the Chapel Hill (NC) Creamery, got a grant to help them expand their cheese operation. The VAPG grant will supply working capital to help the farm meet its goals. (Photo courtesy of the Chapel Hill Herald Sun.)
Earlier today, I had the honor of joining non-profit organizations, state and federal agencies, institutions, CEOs and others involved with agriculture and economic development to kick off the “The Many Faces of Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” conference hosted at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. I was there to continue the work that President Obama highlighted in his State of the Union address last month. Read more »
NRCS Soil Scientist Dr. Dylan Beaudette developed the SoilWeb application for mobile devices while he was a graduate student at UC Davis. The app provides soil survey information in a mobile form and is particularly useful for those working in the field.
A new smartphone application, or “app,” is available as a free download for both iPhone and Android users to access soil survey information. The app, SoilWeb, combines online soil survey information with the GPS capabilities of smartphones. Read more »
Snowshoeing enthusiasts enjoy a guided trek on the Lassen National Forest in California. (Photo credit: Esther Miranda-Cole, Public Affairs Specialist, Lassen National Forest)
Crisp, sunny winter days are an invitation to play in and enjoy the great outdoors and the Lassen National Forest in California has just the ticket for people of all ages to enjoy! Read more »
NRCS Civil Engineering Technician, Minzenmeyer and Fayette County SWCD technician, Milton Koenning visit with David Brooks about his conservation plan for continuing improvements on the ranch.
Many hungry families in Central Texas enjoyed beef this past summer as a result of a Fayette County rancher’s big heart for charity and conservation. Read more »