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

USDA Promotes Breastfeeding

Audrey Rowe, USDA Deputy Administrator of Special Nutrition Programs, chats with the Shenandoah Valley Community Breastfeeding support group August 6 in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Audrey Rowe, USDA Deputy Administrator of Special Nutrition Programs, chats with the Shenandoah Valley Community Breastfeeding support group August 6 in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

I recently had the pleasure to spend a little time with some expecting and nursing mothers in Martinsburg, West Virginia.  It was the first meeting of a newly formed community breastfeeding support group planned to coincide with World Breastfeeding Week.  My friend Mitch Greenbaum, Director of Shenandoah Valley WIC and Nutrition Services, and his team of trained WIC nutritionists, board-certified lactation consultants and breastfeeding peer counselors, hosted nearly two dozen pregnant and nursing mothers to talk about how important breastfeeding is for both mother and child and how to have a satisfying and healthy breastfeeding experience. Read more »

USDA Officials in the Midwest Look at Novel Ways to Create New Energy from Waste Material

An ethanol plant in Bairstown, Iowa, may soon begin producing fuel from waste materials.

An ethanol plant in Bairstown, Iowa, may soon begin producing fuel from waste materials.

After visiting a cutting-edge biofuels facility in rural Iowa recently, a group of USDA Rural Development state directors are thinking about the tremendous global implications of that plant. Read more »

Know Your Sooner, Know Your Food

Glynis Coleman and her son sell peppers and berries at a KYF2 Conference at the Kerr Center in Oklahoma.

Larry Wright leaned to his right and said, “I just realized that when I was up there introducing the conference, I forgot to tell everyone who I was.”Larry is the Oklahoma area coordinator for the Great Plains Resource Conservation and Development’s (RC&D) and worked tirelessly for five months planning a conference that would help build the rural communities his council serves.  After his first Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Conference and Gala more than 250 attendees know exactly what Larry does, and will be telling their friends about him, too. Read more »

Conservation on the Ground in Kansas

The hayrack provided transportation for those on the conservation tour. Rep. Moran stands in the field as he listens to John Bradley explain plans to improve the field on the left. John’s low-stress grazing system benefits both his cattle and the environment (and makes life a lot easier on him as well).

The hayrack provided transportation for those on the conservation tour. Rep. Moran stands in the field as he listens to John Bradley explain plans to improve the field on the left. John’s low-stress grazing system benefits both his cattle and the environment (and makes life a lot easier on him as well).

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is a federal agency that provides one-on-one conservation assistance to farmers, ranchers and other private landowners. We help landowners grow food and other crops in more efficient, environmentally friendly ways to protect the natural resources that we all depend upon—water, soil, air and wildlife. With 70 percent of land in the lower 48 states in private hands, the choices these landowners make truly determine the health of the environment. Read more »

USDA Joins Maryland in Celebrating Farmer’s Markets

Under Secretary Kevin Concannon discusses SNAP benefits at Park Heights Community Farmers’ Market in Baltimore.

Under Secretary Kevin Concannon discusses SNAP benefits at Park Heights Community Farmers’ Market in Baltimore.

I recently visited the Park Heights Community Farmers’ Market in Baltimore, Maryland.  At USDA we’re enthusiastic about farmers markets because they help fulfill two of our primary missions – promoting good nutrition and supporting United States agriculture, especially family farmers.  Farmers’ markets also boost local communities through increased outlets for local farmers.

Park Heights is one of nine farmers’ markets in Maryland to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and one of 97 that accept WIC and Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program checks.  Like thousands across the country, the Park Heights market provides access to farm-fresh, affordable foods for low-income individuals, seniors, children and families.

Increasing the number of farmers’ markets that participate in our federal nutrition programs, especially SNAP, is a priority for USDA because farmers markets help introduce low-income families to a wide variety of nutritious foods and help them get into the habit of making healthier choices.

I am pleased to say that over the past five years, the number of farmers’ markets participating in SNAP has increased by 250 percent, with over 1100 farmers markets participating nationwide.

Farmers’ market foods are also important in getting our youngest children off to a healthy start – even before they are born.  In Maryland, more than 42,000 WIC participants have access to fresh, healthy food through the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program, which serves low-income pregnant women, nursing mothers, their infants, and young children.

Nearly 7,000 low-income seniors in Maryland have used Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program benefits at local markets.

I really enjoyed my time at the Park Heights Community Farmers Market.  When I think about the time I lived in Maine, Oregon and Iowa, I remember the delicious blueberries, crisp pears and fresh sweet corn – all grown locally.  Hopefully, working together, we can help ensure that all Americans can experience the health and well-being that comes with supporting farmers markets.

USDA Forest Service, Partners, Go Live for Pollinators from the USDA National Arboretum

The USDA Forest Service, Prince William County School District and other partners will host a live webcast – “PollinatorLIVE:  A Distance Learning Adventure – on Wednesday, Sept. 29 from the Washington Youth Garden at the USDA National Arboretum. Read more »