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Black History Month 2021: Agriculture, Family and the Land

Every February, the APHIS community celebrates Black History Month and honors the many and varied contributions of African Americans to U.S. history. This year’s Black History Month theme is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.” This feature, a personal narrative by APHIS employee Langston Hull, is the first in a two-part series recognizing Black employees at APHIS and their connection to agriculture, family, and the land.

At the Heart of The Buckeye State

Ever wonder where Ohio’s nickname came from? Ohio is commonly referred to as “The Buckeye State” due to the prevalence of the Ohio Buckeye, named Ohio’s official state tree in the 1950s. According to USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the name refers to the tree’s nuts and their resemblance to the eye of a deer. But don’t eat these nuts! NRCS warns that all parts of the Ohio Buckeye are toxic to humans and livestock. Luckily there are many other things we can eat that come out of this great state.

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.