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March 2017

California Community Hosts Second Annual MyPlate-Inspired Fun Run

MyPlate reminds and empowers Americans to make healthy choices that work for them. One California elementary school got creative with MyPlate, hosting a fun and educational event that emphasized the importance of healthy eating and being active. Learn more about how this highly successful activity impacted its community in the guest post below, written by organizers of the event:

Climate Hubs and 4-H: Partnering with Tomorrow's Leaders to Sustain Agriculture Today

Agriculture in the United States faces significant challenges in the years ahead, perhaps none greater than the projection of approximately 9 billion people worldwide to feed by mid-century. Meeting this challenge will require an estimated increase in agricultural production of more than 70%. This increase that will need to occur over an ever-declining land base and one that will necessitate a paradigm shift in agricultural equivalent to that of the green revolution.

Celebrate National Ag Day: Make Sure You're Counted in the 2017 Census of Agriculture

In just a few months, America’s farmers and ranchers will have the opportunity to strongly represent agriculture in their communities and industry by taking part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. This National Ag Day, we are sharing the three things you can do now to help us in this tremendous endeavor.

National Ag Day: Giving Thanks for Agriculture, From Farm to Fork

Today is National Ag Day, a day to recognize the role of American agriculture in our daily lives and the efforts of those who shape the American food system. The average American farmer feeds approximately 144 people worldwide, and with agriculture being our number one export, agriculture is critically important to sustaining the U.S. economy.

Using the World's Oldest Apple Trees to Supply New Ones

Considering the many different types of apples we see at farmers markets and supermarkets, it may be hard to believe that apple trees are not as diverse as they should be. But it isn’t the fruit-bearing part of the apple tree that’s the problem, it’s the apple tree’s rootstock.

Most of today’s commercially produced apples are from trees that were bred in two parts—the fruit-bearing scion that makes up the higher branches and tree tops, and the rootstock that forms the roots and lower trunk.

USDA Supporting the National Native Seed Strategy

The use of native plant material in conservation, restoration and land management results in healthy ecosystems countering the effects of invasive plant species, altered wildfire regimes, extreme weather events and human-caused events. The National Seed Strategy for Rehabilitation and Restoration 2015-2020 (PDF, 12MB) promotes the use of native plant materials to restore plant communities and support healthy ecosystems. The National Seed Strategy, a collaboration between 12 federal agencies and over 300 non-federal partners associated with the Plant Conservation Alliance and led by the Bureau of Land Management, facilitates coordination among tribal, state, federal, local and private entities, including commercial growers.

Celebrating International School Meals Day 2017

Just like reading, writing and arithmetic, making healthy food choices is a learned behavior. And as with those vital academic skills, schools also play an important role in helping students build a healthy foundation for their lives through sound nutrition – not just here in the U.S. but in schools around the world.

International School Meals Day, held on March 9 this year, provides a wonderful opportunity to highlight that fact by raising awareness of nutritious school meals and their importance to the health of our kids. In fact, nearly every country provides some form of school meal for about 368 million children each school day worldwide, including more than 30 million children here in the U.S. through USDA’s National School Lunch Program. And International School Meals Day brings the world a little closer, helping kids understand the importance of healthy nutrition to a healthy future.

In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Kelly Stange

Every month, USDA shares the story of a woman in agriculture who is leading the industry and helping other women succeed along the way. In honor of International Women’s Day, today we hear from Kelly Stange, an Agricultural Counselor for Germany, Austria, Hungary & Slovenia with USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service who started her career on a Missouri family dairy farm and working in University Extension.

To learn more and connect with other women leaders in agriculture across the country, we encourage you to visit https://newfarmers.usda.gov/women-in-ag. If there is a leading woman in agriculture you’d like to see on the blog, please send us your suggestions at AgWomenLead@usda.gov.