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USDA and MANRRS Help Cultivate the Next Generation of Agricultural Leaders

A USDA scientist teaching MANRRS students about tomato grafting

A USDA scientist teaches MANRRS students about tomato grafting at the High School Symposium.

Recently, the National Society of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) hosted its 31st National Career Fair and Training Conference. MANRRS is a non-profit organization that promotes academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences, and has more than 1,650 members in 38 states.  Welcoming people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, MANRRS works to increase diversity of talent in the field of agriculture.

As a longstanding partner with this organization, USDA helped sponsor the 2016 MANRRS conference, where over 950 participants from across the Nation gathered to discuss ways to grow the next generation of leaders. Participants ranging from high school students to professional members explored the latest developments in the agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences along with professional development, networking, and mentoring. Read more »

Veteran Now Serves Escondido Agriculture Community

Commander Everest and a landowner inspect an insect trap as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) conservation practice

Commander Everest and a landowner inspect an insect trap as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) conservation practice. NRCS photo.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is celebrating National Volunteer Week April 10-16, 2016, by thanking and honoring its Earth Team volunteers for their service to conservation.

After service in the U.S. Navy, that included deployment to Kuwait and Afghanistan, Commander Theresa Everest knew farming was her next step.

Two traumatic brain injuries ended her career with the Navy and lead her to Operation Warfighter―a Department of Defense internship program that matches qualified wounded, ill and injured service members with federal agencies to gain valuable work experience during their recovery and rehabilitation. Everest became an Earth Team volunteer with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Read more »

New What’s Cooking? Recipes and Cooking Videos Help School Food Service and Home Cooks Make Mouthwatering Meals

Sesame Asian Noodle Chicken Salad

Sesame Asian Noodle Chicken Salad; a new USDA recipe just posted!

USDA’s Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services just released 50 new, mouth-watering recipes for schools chefs on our What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl website.  Some are existing USDA recipes that we’ve updated, while others are brand new recipes that students will love.  These tasty, kid-approved recipes are tailored for large quantity food service operations in 25, 50, or 100 portions.  And each recipe includes a nutritional breakdown as well as crediting information on how the recipe contributes toward updated meal pattern requirements for the National School Lunch Program and other USDA child nutrition programs.

The 50 recipes include main dishes and side dishes featuring more nutrient-rich ingredients such as whole grains, dark green and red/orange vegetables, and beans/legumes than ever before.  And an additional 150 recipes are being developed and will be posted throughout the next year!  These recipes will provide a ready-to-go resource for school nutrition professionals looking for delicious, nutrient-rich dishes that will make it easy to meet meal pattern requirements and satisfy hungry kids. Read more »

Helping Organics Grow with Clear Livestock and Poultry Standards

Proposed Rule Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices infographic

USDA has proposed changes to ensure consumer confidence in the growing organic market by promoting consistency across the organic industry, supporting the continued growth of the organic livestock and poultry sector. Click to enlarge.

The mission of the National Organic Program, part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), is to protect the integrity of USDA organic products in our country and throughout the world. This means clearly defining what it means to be organic and enforcing those rules.  Consumers look for and trust the organic seal because they know that USDA stands behind the standards that it represents.

Today, USDA is taking action by announcing that we will soon publish and invite public comment on a proposed rule regarding organic livestock and poultry practices.  It’s an important step that will strengthen consumer confidence in the label and ensure that organic agriculture continues to provide economic opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and businesses around the country. Read more »

Chinese Cultural History in the American West Put in Spotlight by Forest Service, Partners

Current range permittee Lynn Sanguinetti and Fred Wong, U.S. Forest Service district ranger, stand in front of a cabin

Current range permittee Lynn Sanguinetti and Fred Wong, U.S. Forest Service district ranger, stand in front of a cabin once used by Chinese cowboys in 1907. The cabin is on the Stanislaus National Forest. (U.S. Forest Service)

The often-forgotten footprints of Chinese immigrant laborers cover the floor of America’s national forests, railroads and mines. These laborers left behind physical and cultural remnants of the past woven into the fabric of our country.

The U.S. Forest Service is partnering with The Chinese American Historical Society and others to ensure the legacy of these early American immigrants is long remembered. The partnership is working on a website scheduled to launch in April 2016 that will highlight more than 50 Chinese heritage sites with self-guided tour information for destinations in California and Nevada. The partnership goal is to schedule guided tours during the summer of 2016 in both states. Read more »

For Ethiopian Schoolchildren, McGovern-Dole Helps Mitigate Effects of Devastating Drought

A parent volunteer using USDA-supplied corn-soy blend to prepare a nutritious porridge

A parent volunteer uses USDA-supplied corn-soy blend to prepare a nutritious porridge for school children in eastern Ethiopia.

With Ethiopia facing its most devastating drought in decades, a school feeding project supported by the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program is providing sustenance to vulnerable children and families in some of the country’s hardest-hit areas.

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) are partnering to provide meals to 263,000 children in the Afar and Somali regions of eastern Ethiopia. As the only international donors offering school feeding in those areas, FAS and WFP are currently serving an estimated 20 percent of all Afar and Somali schoolchildren. Read more »