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In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Hanna Lisenbe

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 hear from Hanna Lisenbe, a high schooler from Texas with a passion for 4-H, FFA, Student Government, and Junior Student Council. Hanna exhibits lambs, goats, and swine and participated in the Texas 4-H Ambassador Program. She completed her ambassadorship by participating in the Livestock Ambassador Short Course, Advocacy Academy, Legislative session at the Capitol in Austin, and was selected to travel to Argentina and Uruguay for the Ambassador International Experience.  Hanna was recently awarded the 2017 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Scholarship. After graduating from high school, she hopes to pursue a degree in Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M University.

Earthworms Work Wonders for Soils

Think earthworms are only good for fish bait? Think again! Earthworms play a valuable role in soil health and viability in forests, prairies, gardens and even on farmland.

Earth Day is a good time to recognize earthworms as environmental helpers. They feed primarily on organic material in soils, eating fresh and decaying material from plant roots, including crops like corn and soybeans. As they feed, they move and mix their waste with the soil in a moist, microbe-rich environment. Earthworm tunnels bring in oxygen, drain water and create space for plant roots. Their natural feeding habits mean that small amounts of soil pass through their bodies and, surprisingly, when they excrete it, it is in better condition—what goes in comes out much better!

A Deeper Look into the USDA.gov Website Redesign

We hope you are finding it easier to get the information you need on USDA.gov following the launch of our site redesign in March. We’ve already welcomed over 1 million visitors to the new site and we are pleased with the positive feedback we’ve received thus far.

Our redesign makes it easier for you to get the news you care about quickly and get on with your busy life. Now, you can explore “USDA in Action,” an area designed to quickly share what’s happening across the department. And another friendly feature is being able to sign up for email updates with the click of a button from any page on the site. It’s all part of our strategic efforts to improve upon digital communications across USDA, strengthen collaboration with all of our USDA agencies, and expand our digital capabilities.

Caring for the Land and Serving People through Agroforestry

People become interested in agroforestry for a wide range of reasons including improving water quality, enhancing wildlife habitat, reducing soil erosion, and increasing crop and livestock production.

Agroforestry, the intentional combination of trees with crops or livestock, is designed to support landowners’ conservation and production goals. Through U.S. Forest Service, state agency, and other technical assistance providers who work with landowners, the National Agroforestry Center works with partners to care for the land and serve people.

The Benefits of Studying a Domestic Goat with an Interesting History

In much of the developing world, goats are essential for survival and are highly valued for their meat, milk and hides. So it should come as no surprise that Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and academic and industry colleagues, working with DNA from a domestic goat, used new technologies to develop a vastly improved and relatively inexpensive reference goat genome. This information will serve as a kind of instruction manual for scientists showing them how to use the same technologies to lower the cost of developing improved livestock genomes.

Neither Rain nor Sleet nor Snow Stops Wildlife Disease Biologists from Collecting Samples

On a cold and blustery day, APHIS wildlife disease biologist Jared Hedelius sits in his truck by the Bighorn River in Montana and waits. Although the temperatures outside are well below freezing, the mallards on the river are busy searching for food, oblivious to Jared’s swim-in live trap just a few feet from the shoreline. Soon, enough ducks have entered the trap and Jared leaves his warm truck and heads to the water. He sets up his equipment and begins collecting samples.

Spring Food Fun for Kids with MyPlate’s Food Groups

Spring is here! Whether you’re looking for a fun activity to do with kids while they’re home for Spring Break or hunting for afterschool activities for kiddos, MyPlate has you covered. Get kids excited about healthy eating with this easy kid-friendly activity that incorporates all five of the MyPlate food groups -- Fruits, Vegetables, Protein Foods, Dairy, and Grains!

Healthy Culverts Make for Healthy Drinking Water

Culverts provide an abundance of benefits to us every day. They allow us to pass over water, and for fish and wildlife to pass beneath us. And they allow us to go about our daily lives and ideally, for fish and wildlife to do the same. But when they’re badly designed, the results can be disastrous for people, communities, and the environment.

'Turnip the Beet' Recognizes High Quality Summer Meals

When thinking of summer meal programs, what comes to mind? Hot lunches and fresh produce bars? Themed menus made with fresh, local foods? Taste tests and cooking lessons? Summer meal sponsors nationwide are working hard to make sure these practices are the new norms, and the positive movement is spreading.