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Focus on Fruit: Berries, 5 Different Ways

It’s that glorious time of year when spring is in full effect – everything is green, the weather is warm, flowers are in bloom, and the birds are chirping. It’s hard not to have an extra spring in your step this time of year, no pun intended. Your local farmers market is likely brimming with a wide variety of delicious foods from all of the MyPlate food groups. But the warmer months are extra special for the fruit group when berries start making their appearance. These juicy nutrition powerhouses help you meet your daily fruit target and brighten up all kinds of dishes with their sweetness and color. Check out the recipes below for five healthy ways to prepare berries – for breakfast, in a salad, smoothie, and more.

The Summer Meal Programs Get Ready for Another Year of Feeding Kids in the Summer; Helpful Site Finder Tool to Launch May 12

Reducing the summer nutrition gap has been an ongoing priority of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), as part of the agency’s greater mission of ending both hunger and obesity among Americans.  FNS is now ready to receive and begin processing the summer meals site locations from all states and territories.   Starting May 12, parents, caregivers, teachers and kids can visit the updated Summer Meals Site Finder, with planned weekly updates as sites are provided by states and territories through the first week of September 2017.

U.S. Fresh Beef Back in Brazil!

U.S. fresh beef exports are back in Brazil! Following a 13-year hiatus, the first shipment of U.S. fresh beef has arrived in Brazil, ushering in promising long-term market opportunities for the U.S. beef industry. In 2016, the United States exported $6.3 billion in beef and beef products globally. With Brazil’s large market reopened to the United States, U.S. beef exports are poised for new growth.

Too Hot for Coffee! Warming Temperatures in Puerto Rico Present a Challenge to Coffee Growers

Climate projections indicate Puerto Rico may be warmer and drier, likely impacting one of the Island's most iconic crops. This could result in less-favorable growing conditions in the coming decades for coffee. A new study by the USDA Caribbean Climate Hub shows that if greenhouse gas emissions and temperatures continue to increase, we may see a reduction in lands with highly-suitable conditions for coffee. Climate adaptation practices and research can help growers respond to new conditions and keep Puerto Rican coffee growing and flowing.

Reforestation Tool to Help Determine Where to Plant Tree Seedlings

After timber harvest or a forest fire, reforestation is essential for a productive working landscape and healthy ecosystem. When replanting you need to decide where you will get tree seeds or seedlings. To help you and other forest land managers, reforestation scientists at the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, Oregon State University, and the Conservation Biology Institute developed a web-based mapping application, the Seedlot Selection Tool.

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.