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The Dollars and Cents of Soil Health: A Farmer’s Perspective

Last year, the United States lost 2 million acres of land in active crop production. As the global population grows towards a projected 9.8 billion people by 2050, so too does demand for the food, fuel and fiber grown in America. The result? American farmers are looking for sustainable ways to produce high yields year after year.

Building High-Quality, Employer-Driven SNAP E&T Programs

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of welcoming 39 people from all across the U.S. and a variety of different sectors to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) Learning Academy. These devoted leaders have committed eight months to becoming experts in SNAP E&T so they can share what they’ve learned with their networks back home and ultimately build successful E&T programs that help individuals find – and keep – gainful employment.

The Next Generation of Agriculture at the Ag Outlook Forum

On February 22-23, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hosted the 94th Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum (AOF), welcoming hundreds of current and rising agricultural leaders. The event brought together public and private stakeholders to discuss key issues in U.S. agriculture. Among those representing the future of American agriculture were this year’s USDA Student Diversity Program winners, students from the Virginia chapter of the National FFA Organization, and students from the 1994 Tribal Colleges and Universities. These special guests shared their impressions of the event.

Farmers Markets Can Grow with “VegU-cation”

Everyday USDA works to develop tools for farmers and ranchers that support their financial success. The USDA Farmers Market on the National Mall is a “living laboratory” for farmers market operations across the country. During our 2017 market season, we tested “VegU-cation” and found that this fruit and vegetable education program was popular with our visitors and increased sales for our farmers. Visitors to our market attended a 10-minute demonstration class in the VegU tent, on how to grow, pick, and prepare that week’s featured fruit or vegetable.

A Healthy Start to the School Day Leads to Bright Opportunities Ahead

Wholesome meals at school support educational achievement – and bright opportunities ahead for our nation’s kids and teens. Which is why, each year, during National School Breakfast Week (March 5-9), USDA recognizes the importance of a healthy start and the many ways the School Breakfast Program improves the health and nutrition of school children nationwide.

USDA Disaster Program Helps Texas Farmer Recover from Hurricane Losses

Doug Harper, a fifth-generation farmer, moved to the Texas Gulf Coast area in 2012, looking forward to the potential for increasing corn, cotton, milo, and watermelon production there.

Texas farmer Doug Harper comes from a long line of farmers. Growing up in the business, he knows there are always ups and downs, and the importance of insurance coverage to prevent against the “what ifs?”

Reaching American Indian Nation Project Brings Outreach to Tribes on Invasive Species

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is helping Tribes in Washington State find and fight invasive species with funds from the 2014 Farm Bill Section 10007. The Reaching American Indian (RAIN4) project helps tribes identify and combat invasive species that are harmful to native plants, fisheries and animals that are harvested for food. Invasive species—including knotweed, Asian gypsy moth, zebra mussels, and a wide range of other foreign organisms—threaten these valuable resources.

CAFTA-DR: A Trade Partnership that Works

Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney is leading a USDA trade mission to Central America this week, making it a good time to review where we stand as far as CAFTA-DR, the United States’ free trade agreement with five Central America countries and the Dominican Republic. It’s been just over 10 years since we started cutting agricultural tariffs on both sides, and the deal has delivered exactly as trade agreements are supposed to. Going forward, a deal that has been a solid positive for U.S. agriculture has the potential to get even better as further market openings create more opportunities for U.S. exports.