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May 2017

In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Sarah Jovan

Every month, USDA shares the story of a woman in agriculture who is leading the industry and helping other women succeed along the way. This month, we are proud to share the story of Sarah Jovan, a Research Ecologist with the US Forest Service in Portland, Oregon. Sarah, along with her colleague Geoffrey H Donovan, is a 2017 Finalist for the Promising Innovations Medal of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (also known as the “Sammies”). Together, they led the first-ever study using tree moss to detect air pollution in a major city, including cancer-causing heavy metals, prompting enforcement actions and offering a new, cost-effective way to identify threats to public health. Read their full story.

Farm Service Agency Tree Assistance Program Provides Aid to Florida Citrus Growers Combatting Greening

Adversity isn’t a stranger to Florida citrus growers. Throughout Florida’s history of citrus production, producers have dealt with damages left in the wake of multiple hurricanes and freezes.

Larry Black is a fifth-generation citrus grower and general manager of Peace River Packing Company in Polk County, Fla. His family has been a part of the citrus industry for over a century, planting citrus trees when they settled in Fort Meade in 1852.

Food Allergies: Supporting Safety in the School Environment

May is peak time for seasonal allergies, so it’s also a great time to learn more about how food allergies affect children and the critical role schools play in keeping children who suffer from them safe at school.  Understanding food allergies and identifying allergic reactions could even help save lives, which is why the Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has designated it as “National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.”

Trade: An Economic Engine for Agriculture and Rural America

May is World Trade Month, a time set aside to acknowledge and reflect on the importance of global trade. But here at USDA, you could say that every month is “Trade Month” because few industries depend more upon – and benefit more from – trade than American agriculture.

How Ohio State Students Stay Healthy with MyPlate

A variety of students, faculty, and wellness organizations promote the messages of MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans through our MyPlate On Campus initiative. As many colleges and universities prepare for the end of the semester, we wanted to look back on MyPlate activities conducted this past year by our partners at The Ohio State University (OSU). Check out their guest post below to learn more about their MyPlate-inspired events!

Guest Post by: Michaela Martin, Wellness Coordinator, Office of Student Life Student Wellness Center; Kelsey Scherer and Lauren Jedlicka, Student Wellness Ambassadors at The Ohio State University

Spring Weather Events Cause Devastation and Planting Delays

April showers bring May flowers. That is what many would like to have seen Mother Nature deliver this spring. Instead, late April brought an onslaught of unusual weather across the country.

Excessive rainfall caused record-breaking floods in the central U.S., a blizzard pelted the High Plains, devastating tornadoes tore through Texas and wildfires continued to blaze in the southeast.

ARS Scientist’s Life-Saving Work Fighting Parasite Earns Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal Recognition

By probing the life cycles of parasites, Jitender Dubey’s research during the past 40 years has been instrumental in saving lives, curbing disabilities in newborn infants and greatly reducing the number of horses, cattle and lambs killed each year by infectious diseases.

Dubey, a parasitologist with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Beltsville, Maryland, is being honored today as a finalist for a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, also known as the “Sammies.” The Sammies are given each year to federal employees who have distinguished themselves by making our country safer, healthier and stronger.

Focus on Fruit: Berries, 5 Different Ways

It’s that glorious time of year when spring is in full effect – everything is green, the weather is warm, flowers are in bloom, and the birds are chirping. It’s hard not to have an extra spring in your step this time of year, no pun intended. Your local farmers market is likely brimming with a wide variety of delicious foods from all of the MyPlate food groups. But the warmer months are extra special for the fruit group when berries start making their appearance. These juicy nutrition powerhouses help you meet your daily fruit target and brighten up all kinds of dishes with their sweetness and color. Check out the recipes below for five healthy ways to prepare berries – for breakfast, in a salad, smoothie, and more.

The Summer Meal Programs Get Ready for Another Year of Feeding Kids in the Summer; Helpful Site Finder Tool to Launch May 12

Reducing the summer nutrition gap has been an ongoing priority of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), as part of the agency’s greater mission of ending both hunger and obesity among Americans.  FNS is now ready to receive and begin processing the summer meals site locations from all states and territories.   Starting May 12, parents, caregivers, teachers and kids can visit the updated Summer Meals Site Finder, with planned weekly updates as sites are provided by states and territories through the first week of September 2017.

U.S. Fresh Beef Back in Brazil!

U.S. fresh beef exports are back in Brazil! Following a 13-year hiatus, the first shipment of U.S. fresh beef has arrived in Brazil, ushering in promising long-term market opportunities for the U.S. beef industry. In 2016, the United States exported $6.3 billion in beef and beef products globally. With Brazil’s large market reopened to the United States, U.S. beef exports are poised for new growth.