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The USDA and Department of Energy Team Up to Fight Hunger

By Stacy Porto, Special Assistant

Federal employees from across the country are coming together to do what the USDA does every day – increase food security and reduce hunger by providing low-income people access to food.

Inspired by President Obama’s United We Serve Act, the Feds, Farmers, and Friends Feed Families food drive began as a response to serve in your own community. USDA is leading the effort and Secretary Vilsack reminded us that while the needs of those who are hungry are great, “our opportunity to make a difference in their lives is also great.”   No one should go hungry, and no one should be without access to healthy, nutritious foods. Read more »

So That’s Why You Make Us Eat Fruits and Veggies!

By Lisa Wallenda Picard, Food Safety and Inspection Service Chief of Staff

“Stop!  She has to eat some fruit!  Don’t give her MORE chips!  MOM – Cassie’s going to kill her daughter with all this junk food!” Ceci Picard, aged 11, while playing one of the Apps for Healthy Kids entries.

I admit the quote above isn’t the usual nightly exchange I hear between my two tween daughters.  This week they have been happily trying all the new games in the Apps for Healthy Kids gallery.   Since their mom works at the Department of Agriculture, they have been exposed to the idea of healthful, safe food frequently in their young lives.  But as all parents finally admit, kids often choose to do the opposite of what we tell them to do.  These apps have been great at reinforcing the points I’ve been making for several years now, but in a much cooler way! Read more »

USDA Officials Tell National FFA Officers to Become Leaders, Risk Takers

By Wayne Maloney, Office of Communications

Officials from USDA and the Department of Education met at the Agriculture Department yesterday with National FFA student leaders from across the country.  The students are visiting Washington, D.C., for the annual National FFA State President’s Conference.

Among those addressing the students was Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education Brenda Dann-Messier, Dr. Roger Beachy, Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager. Read more »

High Tunnels: A Three-Year Pilot Practice

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service supported the construction of over 4,200 high tunnels on farms throughout the country in 2010 and 2011.

As a heat wave consumes much of the country, especially here in Washington, DC, winter seems a long way off—unless you’re a farmer.  For the 2.2 million farms that grow our nation’s food, fiber, and fuel, it’s likely a good time to be thinking ahead to the upcoming harvest and preparing for the colder months.  One thing that may come to mind is a high tunnel, or a hoop house. Read more »

Value Added Grant Will Help Minnesota Winery Reach More Customers

Written by Adam Czech USDA Minnesota Public Affairs Specialist

If Tami and Kim Bredeson have their way, Minnesota will be known as more than just the Land of 10,000 Lakes. It also will be recognized for its wineries and vineyards.

The Bredeson’s own Carlos Creek Winery in Alexandria, Minn. During a special event on July 12, USDA Minnesota Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer recognized Carlos Creek for receiving a Value-Added Producer Grant. The grant will help Carlos Creek grow its customer base and increase distribution of its locally produced wines. Read more »

USDA Grant Helps Tribal College Grads Gain Needed Workplace Skills

By Jill Lee, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Jim Hafer’s passion for teaching is second only to his savvy in leveraging opportunity.  He noticed many retirements at the local power plant and coal mines and saw opportunity for his agriculture students at Chief Dull Knife College in Lame Deer, Mont. With funding from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), he decided to train students to fill the upcoming talent gap. Read more »