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farming

Food Insecurity And Feds Feed Families

Each year, federal employees across the United States donate millions of pounds of food to those in need as part of the Feds Feed Families food drive. Through this food drive, employees give in a variety of ways – from bringing in canned goods to “gleaning” leftover produce from already harvested farm fields. Local food pantries, emergency kitchens, and similar organizations then use this food to feed those in need in their communities.

Macro Trends in the U.S. Food System: A Q&A with Anne Effland, Senior Economist, USDA Office of the Chief Economist

What are the macro trends in food production and policy? In this blog, USDA Senior Economist Anne Effland gives an overview of how consumers are shaping the way food is grown and how USDA is supporting the evolving food system. Read more in the article Effland co-authored with Carolyn Dimitri in the journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.

USDA Announcement of CACFP Training Grants Kicks Off FNCS Visits to Farm to School Program and WIC Clinic in San Antonio

Last week, USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services (FNCS), Brandon Lipps, made a whirlwind trip to San Antonio, Texas, to serve as the keynote speaker at the National Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) National Child Nutrition Conference and visit local sites operating FNCS programs. The highlight of his conference remarks was announcing the availability of $5.4 million in training grants to help child and adult care providers deliver first-class meal service.

USDA Programs Empower Arkansas Farmer

From the time Brittany Caskey was a toddler, she lived her life in the dirt and on tractors, learning from an early age the kind of work it takes to make things grow.

In the small community of Hunter, in Woodruff County Arkansas, Caskey grew up with a dream of becoming a farmer. In 2017, the 26-year-old’s dream came to fruition with help from USDA.

Farm Loan Programs – Making a Difference for Thousands in Rural America across the Country

Capital is the lifeblood of any farming and ranching operation, and in the recently completed fiscal year the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Loan Programs pumped $5.9 billion in support to a diverse group of producers across America, which was the second highest total in Farm Service Agency (FSA) history. Over $2.5 billion of that total was direct and guaranteed operating loans, and another $3.5 billion was allocated for direct and guaranteed farm ownership loans. The $5.9 billion in new lending continued the recent growth in FSA’s farm loan portfolio. By the end of the fiscal year, FSA was providing credit, either directly or guaranteed through commercial lenders, to 120,000 family farmers across the country.

Quantifying Water Quality Benefits of Conservation Practices

Although we know that farm conservation practices, like cover crops, reduced tillage and nutrient management, as well as improve overall performance and environmental outcomes, it’s difficult to say exactly how these practices affect resources, such as water quality. We can say that the water coming off of a field with conservation practices might “look cleaner,” but what does this really mean in terms of nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment? These challenges can make it difficult for producers to decide which practices to implement, because there’s no way to determine which are the most effective at improving their soil health or reducing their environmental impact. There’s an element of risk as well, because it’s difficult to predict how new conservation practices might affect yield.

Saving Money, Time and Soil: The Economics of No-Till Farming

For farmers across the country, it comes as no surprise to hear that conservation tillage practices – particularly continuous no-till – can save time and money compared to conventional tillage. The potential benefits of no-till are well-documented, from improving soil health to reducing annual fuel and labor investments.