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Cranberries, Nature’s Garnets, are Ripening Across the Country

As we celebrate the autumn season and as holidays approach, many of us will also be thinking of family gatherings and special menus which may include the colorful and healthy cranberry.  Knowing some of the plant’s history may just help us enjoy this fruit even more.

Vaccinium oxycoccos L. or Small cranberry is widespread in boreal North America extending southward to California’s Cascade Range and to the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. It is a circumpolar boreal-montane species which means it is absent from the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

Secretary's Column: Why I’m Thankful for Rural America

This week, Americans across our nation will gather around Thanksgiving tables with family and friends.   Every year at this time, I am reminded how blessed we are to have a strong, vibrant rural America which provides so much for each of us, every day.

Rural America provides our families with a safe, secure, affordable food supply, unrivaled outdoor recreational opportunities, healthy soil and clean water.  Our nation’s leading efforts in renewable fuel and energy are based in rural America, as are millions of American jobs.

Our farmers, ranchers and growers are the most productive on earth.  Their work allows us to feed people at home and around the world. It means that American families pay less for their food than the people of any other developed nation. It strengthens our economy, with agriculture supporting one in 12 U.S. jobs.

In New Jersey, Neighbors Helping Neighbors Recover from Hurricane Sandy

When Hurricane Sandy was forecast to hit the east coast a little more than two weeks ago, no one would have imagined all the devastation and destruction the storm would leave behind.  In days leading up to the mandatory evacuation of our coastal areas, many residents wondered if this would be a false alarm similar to last years’ evacuation, when Hurricane Irene came barreling through many of our towns.  Although Irene caused considerable power outages, flooding and wind damage up and down the Garden State, nothing can compare to Sandy.

Thanksgiving Holiday Help: Plan Ahead

Cross posted from the blog:

Let’s face it, in November, a turkey will most likely find its way onto your menu. Planning ahead can help ensure that your special meal is successful, safe, and stress-free. If you have questions, the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline offers planning tips and shares their top turkey questions and answers.

Creating Healthy Landscapes through the Power of Partnerships

One of the world’s largest wildlife conservation centers, The Wilds, is nestled among the rolling hills of southeastern Ohio’s Muskingum County. Uniquely, the safari park and conservation center is located on top of 14 square miles of reclaimed surface mined lands.

It’s on this reclaimed landscape that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and The Wilds have partnered together on a grasslands prairie project through a 3-year Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG).

US Forest Service Provides Support for Hurricane Sandy Clean-up Efforts in New York City

At the height of the hurricane response effort, approximately 1,200 interagency firefighters organized by the U.S. Forest Service were sent to the impacted areas to provide assistance to communities in need. There are many incredible stories to tell of their work, with one fine example coming from a team dispatched from Portland, Ore.

Pest v. Pest: ARS Offers Method for Combating Whiteflies

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.

Some Arizona growers rely on broad-spectrum insecticides to treat whiteflies, but scientists with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are studying the option of letting nature lend a hand in combating the costly pests.