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Posts tagged: Iowa State University

RISE Volunteers Mentor Young Gardeners

RISE Volunteers with the People’s Garden national leadership team at Grandview Elementary School

RISE Volunteers with the People’s Garden national leadership team at Grandview Elementary School

In 2011, Washington State University won a USDA People’s Garden School Pilot Project grant. The University used the funds to start the “Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth” project, a multi-year research project that engages elementary students in creating edible gardens in schools across the country.  School gardens are an effective way to introduce kids to healthy foods and create a passion for agriculture and Washington State is helping lead the way.  We’re excited to provide an update on how the project is going. The following post was written by Brad Gaolach, the Project Director for the program.

Guest post by Brad Gaolach, Project Director, Washington State University Extension

Grandview Elementary School in Monsey, NY is one of 50 schools across the U.S. taking part in USDA’s People’s Garden School Pilot Project – “Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth” (HGHY). This research and education project aims to understand the impact of school gardens on fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, science and math learning, and other outcomes.

Grandview Elementary also enjoys a unique partnership with another research project: “Retirees in Service to the Environment,” or RISE. Created by Cornell’s Institute for Translational Research on Aging, RISE provides opportunities for older adults to become involved in local environmental projects.  Research has shown there are greater mental and physical health benefits from environmental volunteering compared to other types of service. As environmental stewards, older adults not only gain from being engaged in civic issues, they also contribute their knowledge and passion to sustaining the environment for future generations. Read more »

The Next Generation of Statisticians

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 USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

One of the most exciting aspects of my job as the head of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and an advocate for statistical literacy is to see students coming into the profession of statistics. We are fortunate, according to Bob Rodriguez, past-president of the American Statistical Association (ASA) in a column published in ASA’s AMSTATNEWS, “that the number of students majoring or minoring in statistics is soaring because of positive experiences in AP Statistics courses. The word is out that statistics is a ‘must’.”

Engaging students even earlier than high school is important not only for developing future statisticians but also so that they understand the importance of responding to surveys.  Both private and government statistics, including those about agriculture from my agency, are dependent on voluntary survey response. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Reducing Pain at the Pump for Americans

As Americans joined family and friends to celebrate America’s independence, tens of millions took to our highways and Interstates – and I know that gas prices were on the minds of many.

President Obama understands the impact gas prices can have for families, and he is committed to an “all of the above” energy approach to solving our nation’s energy challenges – including reducing pain at the pump.

That includes developing the homegrown biofuels that save Americans money at the gas station and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Read more »

USDA Scientists Make Breakthrough in PRRS Research

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.

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is a disease that costs the U.S. pork industry an estimated $664 million per year. Recently, scientists have made a breakthrough in research efforts to curb the disease.

A consortium of scientists from around the country, with funding from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Agricultural Research Service (ARS), have discovered a genetic marker in pigs that identifies whether or not a pig has reduced susceptibility to PRRS. Read more »

Growing Jobs in Rural America

In President Obama’s July 11 press conference, he asked us all to look at the steps we can take short term in order to put folks back to work.  At the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), we have been promoting the domestic biobased industry because we know green jobs represent a growth investment.  On July 14, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry will hold a public hearing during which biobased product manufacturer representatives will testify about how they are trying to help the United States win the future by investing in and creating domestic job growth.

As defined by USDA, biobased products are goods – other than food or feed – that are made from biological ingredients, including renewable domestic agricultural materials, forestry products, or intermediate chemicals.  The USDA BioPreferred® program, established by the 2008 farm bill, encourages the development, purchase, and use of innovative biobased products through preferred Federal Agency procurement and a voluntary biobased product labeling program. Read more »

Rural America has Plenty to Share with Global Partners

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack accompanied by Pakistani Agriculture Minister Nazar Muhammad Gondal and Afghan Agriculture Minister Mohammad Asif Rahimi during their visit to the Keith and Sue McKinney’s farm in Colo, IA, on Wednesday, October 13, 2010.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack accompanied by Pakistani Agriculture Minister Nazar Muhammad Gondal and Afghan Agriculture Minister Mohammad Asif Rahimi during their visit to the Keith and Sue McKinney’s farm in Colo, IA, on Wednesday, October 13, 2010.

The little farming town of Colo sits just east of Ames, Iowa, in the central part of the state. It’s harvest season here. Farm families are trading shifts in their combines to harvest their crops before winter. Rows of soybean and corn stubble disappear into the yellow and brown rolling hills. Folks are hard at work, but some pause and begin to collect at Keith and Sue McKinney’s farm when Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack arrives, followed by Pakistani Agriculture Minister Nazar Muhammad Gondal and Afghan Agriculture Minister Mohammad Asif Rahimi. Secretary Vilsack invited Ministers Gondal and Rahimi to be his guests in Des Moines at the World Food Prize, and their meeting all together at the Colo farm was their first since May 2009 in Washington. Still, folks were standing around asking: What does Colo have to do with Afghanistan and Pakistan? But, as Secretary Vilsack, the McKinney family and faculty from Iowa State University explained, Colo could be a model not only for Afghanistan and Pakistan, but developing agricultural economies around the world. Read more »