The ‘Sound and Sensible’ initiative is about removing barriers to certification, and working with farmers, like the one pictured here, to correct small issues before they become larger ones.
This is the twelfth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.
Consumers purchase organic products expecting that they maintain their organic integrity from farm to market. Under the USDA organic rules, organic farmers must demonstrate they are protecting the environment, supporting animal health and welfare, and producing their products without the use of prohibited substances (including synthetic pesticides). Read more »
Earlier this year, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published the first Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) Wholesale Pork reports. This was the culmination of a process that started when Congress passed the Mandatory Price Reporting Act of 2010, which added wholesale pork cuts to the commodities required to be reported by packers. Cattle, swine, sheep, boxed beef, boxed lamb, and imported lamb meat already were covered under the program.
Using negotiated rulemaking – a process that allows more interaction with stakeholders than formal rulemaking – AMS developed the rule with the Wholesale Pork Reporting Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, which included pork producers, pork packers, processors, retailers, buyers, and other interested stakeholders. By working directly with a range of stakeholders, USDA ensured that the final rule had support throughout the industry. Read more »
2009-2012 stand as the strongest four years for agricultural exports in history.
Today, the American brand of agriculture is surging in popularity worldwide. Fiscal years 2009-2012 represent the strongest four years in history for agricultural trade, with U.S. agricultural product exports exceeding $478 billion over these four years. Overall, American agriculture supports 1 in 12 jobs in the United States and provides American consumers with 83 percent of the food we consume, while maintaining affordability and choice. And 2013 is off to a roaring start already – with agricultural exports on track to set a new record.
Just last week, USDA announced three initiatives that expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade. These announcements support President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double all U.S. exports by the end of 2014, as well as underscore USDA’s commitment to a strong and resilient agricultural economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth nationwide. Read more »
The Patriot High School cafeteria in Nokesville, Va. Students and parents from the Prince William County School District were invited to the annual food tasting to sample some potential items on the school menu. Photo by Hakim Fobia, AMS
When you walk around many of the nation’s cafeterias, you will notice that plenty of changes have taken place on school lunch menus. Thanks to new standards and other efforts by the USDA, the lunches for our children have become healthier.
The new standards, which were implemented for the 2012-2013 school year, made significant improvements to the National School Lunch Program. Some of the changes include offering only fat-free or low-fat milk options, ensuring that fruits and vegetables are served every day of the week, and increasing the amount of whole grain-rich foods on menus. Read more »
It’s amazing what can happen when you combine a great idea, commitment to community, love of agriculture, fresh air, good earth, and energized volunteers. In the Cotton and Tobacco Programs, a part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, we found this to be the perfect combination to cultivate our own People’s Garden – the Cotton Patch.
The People’s Garden initiative brings USDA employees and more than 700 local and national organizations together to create community and school gardens inspiring locally-led solutions to some of the challenges facing our country – from hunger to the environment.
Here in Memphis, creating the Cotton Patch was a collaborative series of fortunate events that began when employees from our local office requested to overhaul the facility’s landscaping and create our own People’s Garden. Read more »
Spring foods infographic (click for larger version) with more facts, figures and food safety tips.
Although in some parts of the country record snow fall and colder temperatures have masked it—spring is officially here. With the change of seasons come traditions and observances that date back to ancient times, many focused on growth, new life and change. Among these traditions are some holiday and seasonal mainstays that evolved because of more practical reasons, like the process involved in making them or their chemical properties. Read more »