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In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Dr. Jodi Williams

In this blog, we feature Dr. Jodi Williams, Senior Advisor for Food Safety, Nutrition, and Human Health with USDA’s Office of the Chief Scientist. Dr. Williams’ work focuses on policy development and operational planning pertaining to food safety and nutrition, and human health programs and activities. She reviews, evaluates, and critiques a broad range of policy and program management issues related to USDA’s coordinated food safety and nutrition science programs.

Find Where Your Food is Grown Using NASS Cropland Data Layer

Whether you are interested in seeing what’s grown in your area or you are a researcher with more in depth informational needs, NASS’s CropScape is a valuable tool for you. CropScape is the public user interface for the national land cover geospatial data product called Cropland Data Layer (CDL). The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the latest annual CDL at 30 meters resolution on Feb. 5, 2020. The entire archive of historical CDL products are available on CropScape for you to browse, interact, visualize, download, and query the CDL dataset without needing specialized software tools.

A Story of Plant Protection: Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Day Gift to President Trump

Plants can serve as a profound symbol of friendship, especially when they cross an ocean to help two nations strengthen their bonds. I witnessed this firsthand on March 9, when I visited the Irish Embassy in Washington, D.C., joining Irish Ambassador to the United States Daniel Mulhall as he received a shipment of Ireland’s iconic shamrock plants. Embassy staff later arranged those shamrocks in an elegant, engraved crystal bowl for Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to present to President Trump as a St. Patrick’s Day gift. That token of goodwill continued an annual tradition spanning 50 years.

Setting the Stage for Innovative Research

We’re fortunate to have robust food, fiber, fuel, and ag-related industries in America. Our food is safe, nutritious, and plentiful. Our fiber helps clothe people around the world. And we’re using value-added agricultural products to fuel machinery. However, agriculture is at a crossroads with the convergence of a growing global population, a changing climate, and limited natural resources. Fortunately, USDA science agencies work every day to develop new knowledge, technologies, and applications that help our farmers and ranchers work smarter, not harder.

In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Dr. Neena Anandaraman

In this blog, we feature Dr. Neena Anandaraman, Veterinary Science Policy Advisor with USDA’s Office of the Chief Scientist. Dr. Anandaraman’s work focuses on zoonotic infectious diseases (those that can be transmitted between humans and animals), antimicrobial resistance, and biosecurity. Her work provides science-based advice to senior leadership to help inform their policy decisions.

School Meals that Rock

When the USDA Food and Nutrition Service released new school meal flexibilities in November 2017, Kristin Hilleman, a Food & Nutrition Services Director in southern California, breathed a big sigh of relief.

Why the Trees Outside Forests Count

Windbreaks and other agroforestry practices provide a wide range of agricultural production and conservation benefits, helping farmers and furthering the goals of U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Perdue’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda (PDF, 196 KB). Windbreaks are designed to increase crop yields, reduce erosion, and improve soil health while also providing other conservation benefits like wildlife habitat.

Educational Opportunities Spread with Broadband Expansion in Rural America

“If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.”

I was reminded of this powerful proverb while preparing for our ReConnect program announcement. As a former teacher, education and its long-reaching benefits are dear to my heart. While joining Deputy Under Secretary Donald “DJ” LaVoy at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky, to announce over $55.3 million in ReConnect funding, I thought of the impact this funding would have on the education of our fellow Kentuckians.