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USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone Hails to the Natural State—and Makes the Local News!

On October 16 and 17, the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone was able to reach Arkansas consumers at two excellent venues. The first was the Arkansas State Fair, a crowded and busy bacteria haven, and the second was a local Kroger grocery store where consumers were buying the food they should be keeping safe. The Discovery Zone was such a hit that it even made the Little Rock evening news! Sharing their food safety information with families, kids, and some misguided shoppers, the Discovery Zone staff agreed this road trip was well worth the drive. Read more »

A Glacier in DC

The 1500-pound glacial ice coming to the October 23-24 Science Fair came from a calved piece of the Mendenhall Glacier, like these seen floating in Mendenhall Lake on the Juneau Ranger District of the Tongass National Forest. (US Forest Service photo by Phil Sammon)

The 1500-pound glacial ice coming to the October 23-24 Science Fair came from a calved piece of the Mendenhall Glacier, like these seen floating in Mendenhall Lake on the Juneau Ranger District of the Tongass National Forest. (US Forest Service photo by Phil Sammon)

It started as a three-quarter ton chunk of ice taken out of Mendenhall Lake on the Tongass National Forest in Juneau, Alaska. Read more »

USDA to Use iPad For Survey Work in 2011

"Don Phillips, NASS interviewer, uses iPad for data collection for the September Agricultural Survey."

"Don Phillips, NASS interviewer, uses iPad for data collection for the September Agricultural Survey."

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 the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), will take a technological leap forward in 2011 by using Apple’s new iPad as the data entry device to collect survey responses. This is an exciting step forward from the old pencil to paper method, still in use today. The iPad, coupled with NASS’s unique approach to computer assisted personal interviewing (CAPI), will revolutionize the NASS survey process and will open the door for future innovative opportunities. Read more »

Farmer Co-ops: Taking a Seat at Our Table

As well as helping them market and process their crops, co-ops also help farmers obtain farm supplies and provide them with important agronomy services, such as mapping their fields to ensure they use only the proper amounts of fertilizer, thus avoiding runoff problems.  Photo courtesy GROWMARK

As well as helping them market and process their crops, co-ops also help farmers obtain farm supplies and provide them with important agronomy services, such as mapping their fields to ensure they use only the proper amounts of fertilizer, thus avoiding runoff problems. Photo courtesy GROWMARK

The famous chef and food writer James Beard once said, “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”  From our potluck dinners to an after-church brunch, food is the tangible connection between us and our communities.  Studies have shown the positive impact family dinners have on the individuals who take part in them. Read more »

Local Milk in the Heartland

We’re just finishing a trio of new videos introducing programs within the Rural Development mission area that can be used to support local and regional food systems.

Prairieland Dairy of Hallam, Nebraska had a vision: they wanted to expand their operation to meet growing demand for sustainable, source-verified products.  In their mind, Nebraskans needed fresh, wholesome milk products produced in their own backyard.  With the help of USDA’s Rural Development office and a Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan, Prairieland was able to secure a $650,000 loan through a community bank, and today they are marketing products made with “local, farm-fresh Nebraska milk.” Read more »

The Midwest Regional Office Eases Hunger in the Greater Chicago Area

Angela Jones and Michelle Stewart with part of the donations collected by the Midwest Regional Office for the Feds, Farmers, and Friends Feed Families food drive.

Angela Jones and Michelle Stewart with part of the donations collected by the Midwest Regional Office for the Feds, Farmers, and Friends Feed Families food drive.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Midwest Regional Office collected 4100 pounds of food to support the Feds, Farmers and Friends Feed Families Initiative. We decided to make it fun event and include some of our partners and rename the Food Drive the Yellow Brick Road Food Drive, a spinoff of the Wizard of Oz.  We successfully recruited help and support from the Girl Scouts, CITGO Petroleum and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.   With the support of our partners and our managers, the MWRO team was victorious in defeating that “Wicked Witch” of hunger. Read more »