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Posts tagged: OCE

Thanksgiving Is a Great Time to Start Reducing Food Waste with Friends & Family

On average, these polts will take 4 to 5 months to make weight.  It takes a lot of natural resources, energy, labor, and love to raise the estimated 46 million turkeys that will be consumed this Thanksgiving.  Show your appreciation by making sure you waste as little food as possible. Photo courtesy of USDA.

On average, these polts will take 4 to 5 months to make weight. It takes a lot of natural resources, energy, labor, and love to raise the estimated 46 million turkeys that will be consumed this Thanksgiving. Show your appreciation by making sure you waste as little food as possible. Photo courtesy of USDA.

Thanksgiving is a time to appreciate all that is good in our lives and to spend it in the company of friends and family while enjoying great food.  It is also a time to reflect on the bounty of our food supply.  Each year, as I put away the leftovers from my Thanksgiving dinner, I marvel at the abundance.

I also can’t avoid pausing to consider how much food is wasted in this country.

USDA estimates that on average, American consumers waste about one-fifth of food that is available to them, equivalent to about $371 per person annually.  That’s enough money to buy about 21 whole turkeys for each person in the country. Read more »

USDA, Environmental Protection Agency and Partners: Working Together to Support Water Quality Trading

A water sample taken from the last wetland in a filtering system in use on a farm in Taylor County, Iowa. Wetlands and other conservation practices on agricultural land can improve water quality, and may allow producers the option of selling water quality credits in a water quality trading market. Photo Credit: NRCS

A water sample taken from the last wetland in a filtering system in use on a farm in Taylor County, Iowa. Wetlands and other conservation practices on agricultural land can improve water quality, and may allow producers the option of selling water quality credits in a water quality trading market. Photo Credit: NRCS

USDA has a long history of working with partners to meet the needs of America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners while striving to sustain the natural resources we rely on. American farmers produce food for the U.S. and the world, and also provide benefits for air, water and habitats through the adoption of conservation practices.  In recent years, USDA has taken a more innovative approach to conservation by supporting the development of water quality trading markets.

Water quality trading can lower the costs of cleaning up waterways by allowing sources of pollutants with high costs of reducing pollution to purchase credits from others with lower costs. Often agricultural producers have relatively low costs of improving water quality, which makes farmers and ranchers prime candidates to generate water quality credits for sale. This offers the agricultural sector opportunities to improve the natural resource base and earn additional income through credit sales. Read more »

Donating Wholesome Unsold Food

Liability Concerns Stop Many Restaurants and Supermarkets from Donating Wholesome Unsold Food – Join USDA for a Nov. 12 webinar and learn more about Liability, Food Safety & the Good Samaritan Act.

Liability Concerns Stop Many Restaurants and Supermarkets from Donating Wholesome Unsold Food – Join USDA for a Nov. 12 webinar and learn more about Liability, Food Safety & the Good Samaritan Act.

14.3% of American households found it difficult to put food on the table at some time in 2013, yet 31% of food at the consumer and retail level goes uneaten (USDA ERS).  Of the estimated 133 billion pounds of food that goes uneaten every year, much of it is perfectly safe and nutritious and could have been donated to hunger relief organizations to feed hungry people.  Sadly, much of this perfectly good food ends up in landfills.

How can we change this situation? Many managers at farms, food processors, supermarkets, dining facilities, and restaurants say they are worried about donating wholesome unsold food because of fear of liability.  Some say they don’t have the proper food safety processes in place to handle food recovery and donation programs. Read more »

Scientific Climate Info Now Available for Producers in the Northern Plains

The new Climate Hubs Northern Plains website provides producers with science-based information.

The new Climate Hubs Northern Plains website provides producers with science-based information.

This fall, ranchers, farmers, and land managers in the Northern Plains from Bartlett, Nebraska to the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming will be making decisions that will affect their operations in the coming year. Land managers often consider markets, weather and changing climatic conditions using data and information from various sources including newspapers and popular press publications, Cooperative Extension agents, State Climatologists, and the Internet.

With the recent launch of the USDA Northern Plains Regional Climate Hub website, ranchers, farmers, and land managers have a new source for region-specific, science-based information, practical management and conservation strategies, and decision-support tools.  The national Hubs site features links to the latest climate news, events, thematic climate highlights (e.g. Croplands, Forestland, Grazing Lands and Livestock) as well as educational materials, factsheets, and regional contact information. Read more »

USDA Climate Hubs Website: Connecting Stakeholders to the Hubs

The USDA Climate Hubs home page.

The USDA Climate Hubs home page.

I’m happy to announce that as of today, the USDA Climate Hubs have an official home on the web. The new site provides a portal for farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, and others to find useful, practical information to help cope with the challenges and stressors caused by a changing climate. We hope this site will serve as a gateway not only to the information and tools provided by the regional Hubs, but also to the larger network of USDA programs that provide conservation and planning support to land managers.

The Hubs Site comprises a suite of pages specific to each region across the country.  By browsing through the pages for each region, you can find information on agriculture and forestry vulnerabilities related to climate change and tools to cope with these changes. You’ll also find more information about the Hubs program, and contact information to get in touch with the right specialist in your area. Read more »

USDA Teams Up with Vermont Beef Producers to Provide Local Market Data

Our new local and regional Market News reports are just one way USDA is ensuring that farmers and ranchers get access to the resources they need to thrive in the local market sector. Photo courtesy of Cascade Brook Farm.

Our new local and regional Market News reports are just one way USDA is ensuring that farmers and ranchers get access to the resources they need to thrive in the local market sector. Photo courtesy of Cascade Brook Farm.

It wasn’t too long ago that beef was far less traveled, and families often put a side of beef away in the freezer for the winter. Modern day conveniences make beef and the beef buying experience more suitable to a faster pace of life, but old traditions are hard to let go. Across the board, we’re seeing a return to buying local, and—although modern conveniences are still enjoyed—local beef is also more accessible.

USDA Market News, part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, recently created a series of market reports on locally or regionally produced agricultural products, including beef.  As a part of the 2014 Farm Bill, the reports provide farmers, other agricultural businesses and consumers with a one-stop-shop for market and pricing information for local and regional food outlets. Read more »