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In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Kelly Stange

Every month, USDA shares the story of a woman in agriculture who is leading the industry and helping other women succeed along the way. In honor of International Women’s Day, today we hear from Kelly Stange, an Agricultural Counselor for Germany, Austria, Hungary & Slovenia with USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service who started her career on a Missouri family dairy farm and working in University Extension.

To learn more and connect with other women leaders in agriculture across the country, we encourage you to visit https://newfarmers.usda.gov/women-in-ag. If there is a leading woman in agriculture you’d like to see on the blog, please send us your suggestions at AgWomenLead@usda.gov.

Celebrating School Breakfast Week: Giving Students a Great Start to Their School Day!

Did you skip breakfast today? Remember that feeling of discomfort and distraction as you counted down the time until lunch? Staring at the clock, the minutes just didn’t move fast enough. Now imagine yourself as a child, with a packed morning full of writing, thinking and learning in front of you – no way will you be at your best!

A Complete Redesign with You in Mind

We're excited to launch a complete redesign of USDA.gov featuring stronger visual storytelling components, a more modern user-experience with easy to find services and resources, and to top it off, a completely mobile-friendly design. 

Drought Conditions at Lowest Point since Autumn 2010

Nationally, we are seeing extreme to exceptional (D3 to D4) drought conditions fall to their lowest point in more than 6 years. Nowhere is that change more dramatic than in California. The current (February 21, 2017) Drought Monitor for California notes the disappearance of D3/D4 from California. At the California drought’s peak from August-October 2014, that percentage was nearly 82 percent. As recently as early-December 2016, coverage of D3/D4 in California stood at 43 percent.

U.S. Agricultural Production Systems of the Future: What Research is Needed Now?

Depending on where you live in the United States, the first thing that likely comes to mind for agriculture production systems are the large fields of corn, soybeans, wheat or cotton seen growing each summer. But spend a few minutes looking at CropScape, a color-coded map that charts where almost a hundred different types of U.S. crops are grown currently, and you begin to appreciate the diversity and regionality of production systems. This map shows that although there are U.S. regions where crop production is dominated by a few commodity crops, there are others where U.S. farmers are growing a wide array of fruit, vegetables, and other “specialty” crops. Agricultural Atlas maps produced by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service show similar diversity in livestock production, including land in pasture and range production.

In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Kristina Fast

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 Kristina Fast, a civil servant with USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Minnesota. To learn more and connect with other women leaders in agriculture across the country, we encourage you to visit https://newfarmers.usda.gov/women-in-ag. If there is a leading woman in agriculture you’d like to see on the blog, please send us your suggestions at AgWomenLead@usda.gov.

MyPlate Helps You Put Your Best Fork Forward during National Nutrition Month

What do you think of when March rolls around? Basketball fans are probably gearing up for March Madness, history buffs might think of Caesar and the Ides of March, and then there’s the proverb that March comes in like a lion and out like lamb (or is it in like a lamb and out like a lion?)… Anyway, for dietitians and other nutrition professionals, March means National Nutrition Month®! It’s the month when we really shout our healthy eating message from the rooftops! Not that we’re shy about it the rest of the year, but still, March is special!

Whether you are a dietitian, educator, parent, or someone who is just trying to eat a bit better, ChooseMyPlate.gov has lots of materials to support your efforts during National Nutrition Month®. Here are some key resources to check out:

Honey: A Sweet Topic with New Data this Spring

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.

Every day, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) statisticians work hard to produce timely, accurate and useful statistics to U.S agriculture. In addition to producing hundreds of reports each year on crops, livestock and economic indicators for the agriculture industry, NASS collects and reports annual data for honey bee colonies. Historically, we’ve only surveyed operations or farms with five or more colonies, but in 2015 we expanded the survey to cover operations of all sizes. As a statistician who is also a beekeeper, I am pleased to provide valuable information about honey as a public service and decision-making tool.

Flushed Away...Probing For Antibiotic Presence in Our Food Supply

It’s a question with major public-health implications: Could antibiotics and other widely used medications get into our food supply when they are flushed into our sewers?

To try to answer that question, researchers from USDA and Penn State University (PSU) assessed whether some commonly used pharmaceuticals could get into a wheat crop irrigated with recycled wastewater.

Research Can Help the Economy and Inform Policy

When most people think of forests, science isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but, perhaps, it should. That’s because the U.S. Forest Service Research and Development program oversees projects across many science disciplines including forestry, genetics, wildlife, forest products and wildfire.

And the agency has been using this science to deliver returns on investments for stakeholders, industry partners, and the public.