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USDA Helping Growers Build Success with New Technology

Everyone loves that burst of flavor you get when you eat a fresh fruit or vegetable. But we often don’t think about all the research, propagating, and growing by plant breeders that happens prior to giving us that great food experience. Plant breeders work hard to develop new varieties, which are crucial to continued agricultural production, at levels that provide us with food security. New varieties help address the challenges we face - from plant pest and disease outbreaks to an increasing world population.

Wildlife Partners Unite to Protect Iconic Species from Deadly Plague

Last month, researchers, wildlife biologists and managers from several federal, state and local agencies gathered at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ (USFWS) National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center to celebrate a breakthrough in wildlife management— the development of an oral vaccine bait that helps protect prairie dogs against deadly sylvatic plague and assists in the recovery of endangered black-footed ferrets (BFF). Sylvatic plague, caused by Yersinia pestis, is a bacterial disease transmitted by fleas that afflicts many mammalian species, including humans.

In the Face of Natural Disaster, USDA Answers the Call to Action

Over the last few weeks, we have seen parts of our country devastated by natural disasters. People in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands experienced devastation that affected every part of their life, including food, housing, and their livelihood. President Trump called on leaders and government officials at all levels to put bureaucracy aside and lend a helping hand to those in need. At USDA, we have done our best to answer that call.

A Million Acres Scorched by Montana Wildfires

Dry conditions plagued Montana this summer, with multiple wildfires torching over 1 million acres throughout the state. The largest fire, the Lodgepole Complex fire, impacted over 270,000 acres. Recent rain and snow, and the forecast for continued precipitation, help to suppress the fires and provide welcome relief for Montana residents.

Students Helping to Shape School Lunches

What’s new with school lunch this year? In several school districts across the nation, this question is being answered by students themselves. Collaborations between school staff and students have resulted in school cafeterias that provide a welcoming environment for eating together, while offering healthy, appealing choices for their students. With the help of Team Nutrition Training Grant funds, many states have created these changes and developed ways to include kids in menu planning, taste tests, cafeteria makeovers and more.

Nutrition.gov Brings You More Nutrition Resources in Spanish

In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Nutrition.gov announces its enhanced “En Español” website, making it easier to navigate and find credible nutrition resources in Spanish. Forty web pages were translated into Spanish. Now Spanish-speaking users and nutrition professionals in need of Spanish resources can browse a wide array of translated information on nutrition topics such as infant and toddler nutrition and nutrition as it relates to diabetes, heart health and obesity.

Go Where the Wild Colors Are

Fall is here and it’s time to go wild! Or at least go to where nature’s brilliant hues of reds, yellows, and oranges are dotting our autumnal landscape: America’s national grasslands.

In fact, there are millions of square miles of these grasslands, and more than 16 million acres of them are managed by The Forest Service alone. While a lot of folks may not be aware of this, our 2017 theme of “Where the Wild Colors Are” is designed to let them know that fall is also beautiful in our National grasslands.

In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Aissata Abdou and Marcia Maposse

Every month, USDA shares stories of women in agriculture who are leading the industry and helping other women succeed along the way. We hear from two young ladies this month, Aissata Abdou from Niger and Marcia Maposse from Mozambique, who were recipients of the prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship of the Young African Leaders Initiative. They were additionally selected to participate in the fellowship’s 6-week Professional Development Experience which they just completed at Penn State Extension and USDA’s Michigan Rural Development Office in Traverse City respectively.

Introducing the New USDA Climate Hubs Web Portal

Since 2014, the ten USDA Climate Hubs have been helping farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, resource managers, and rural communities plan for and manage weather- and climate-related risks and vulnerabilities. A key element of that effort has been the distribution of information resources via the Climate Hubs web portal. Our national and regional webpages are important components of our program’s outreach and communications efforts, and complement our on-the-ground work to provide practical, pragmatic, and science-based approaches to address climate change impacts on working lands.