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Spurring Agricultural Innovation Across the Nation

“He would often dream up new ideas and inventions that he would build in his shop and implement on his farm. Most all of them worked better than anything else available. He never faced a hill that he didn’t think could be flattened with a lot of hard work and determination, and he taught those around him to question the conventional wisdom and not be afraid to boldly seek new ways of doing things.” -from Leroy Isbell’s obituary in the Stuttgart Daily Leader, 2014

Chris Isbell didn't set out to make history. He was just following in his father's footsteps.

In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Josepha Ntakirutimana

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 World Refugee Day, this month we hear from Josepha Ntakirutimana, a refugee from Rwanda who settled in Tucson, Arizona in 2013. Josepha is now an invaluable part of the Tucson New Roots Program which brings together refugees and their community around production and nutrition education activities.

Being Serious about Saving Bees

Pollinators are a vital part of agricultural production. In the United States, more than one-third of all crop production – 90 crops ranging from nuts to berries to flowering vegetables - requires insect pollination. Managed honey bee colonies are our primary pollinators, adding at least $15 billion a year by increasing yields and helping to ensure superior-quality harvests.

Celebrate National Dairy Month with Yogurt 5 Ways

June is an exciting month filled with picnics, cookouts, and outdoor time. Along with sun and fun, June also brings us National Dairy Month. Most Americans do not meet recommendations for the dairy food group, which includes milk and many of the foods made from milk, such as yogurt and cheese. Calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage) is also part of the dairy food group, as well as lactose-free and lower-lactose milk products. When choosing foods from this group, choose fat-free or low-fat options.

Celebrating Cultural Heritage with Mouthwatering Meals

Looking for recipes that are both flavorful and nutritious? Nutrition.gov has added new resources that can help you. The newly enhanced Nutrition.gov includes an Ethnic Cooking section on the Shopping, Cooking & Meal Planning page designed to fit the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Nutrition.gov collaborated with a range of government agencies to feature links to educational materials, videos, books and websites offering a wide array of healthy, culturally-based recipes.

Farm to School Grows with USDA Grants

Omar, the school garden club coordinator, instructs a group of seventh grade students to “pick an adult” and leads them to the greenhouse. The bright blue sky and expansive mountain range set a dramatic backdrop for the six raised beds and two greenhouses. Mona, a precocious 12 year-old student at Magdalena Middle School in New Mexico, wastes no time charging into the greenhouse and swiftly picking red leaf lettuce. She instructs me on proper harvest techniques while happily munching on Swiss chard, kale and lettuce straight from the garden – she clearly has no need for salad dressing.

Employment and Training Programs: Jobs and So Much More

Recently, I was privileged to visit Portland, Ore., and had yet another opportunity to appreciate why the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) Program is so important. SNAP E&T, which is available in all 50 states, is a skills and job training program designed to help SNAP participants prepare for and secure jobs that lead to economic self-sufficiency. Along with Oregon Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Administrator Belit Burke, I visited Central City Concern (CCC), an organization that partners with DHS to provide E&T services to those in need.

Secretary Perdue Affirms USDA’s Commitment to Indian Country

Within a month of his start, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue followed through on his promise to Indian Country to visit tribal leaders. Joining tribal representatives, Senators Rounds and Thune, and Congresswoman Noem at Oglala Lakota College’s Rapid City Extension Center, Secretary Perdue aimed to learn more about the topics significant to both tribal nations and colleges in South Dakota. When the meeting closed, one thought was clear: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) stands ready to partner with tribal nations in their pursuits.