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Farms and Schools – A Critical Link for a Healthy Future

One of my fondest childhood memories was helping my grandma tend to the fresh fruits and vegetables in her garden. After a morning’s work outside in the sunshine, the fresh-picked corn was a feast for the taste buds and a sweet reward for our hard work. Working alongside my grandma taught me many important lessons – notably, that food on the table across the nation is a result of the dedication and effort of America’s farmers.

Co-ops: By the Community, For the Community

Tina Borg knows all too well the challenges of limited internet access.

At home, her family in Barnes County, N.D., often relied on a cell phone hotspot. However, their ability to access information was frequently constrained by their phone plan’s data limits. Tina routinely had to drive to the next town to access the internet, or she had to rely upon whatever books happened to be available for the four children that she home schools.

Stats to Spice Up Your Pumpkin Knowledge

As you are enjoying fall pumpkin treats, consider that every U.S. state produces pumpkins. However, the top five pumpkin producing states between 2016 and 2018 – Illinois, Texas, California, Indiana, and Pennsylvania – harvested about 40 percent of U.S. pumpkin acres, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture. In 2018, Illinois harvested twice as many acres of pumpkins as any of the other top states.

From Vacant Lot to Community Gathering Place, Water Quality Program Awarded for Innovation

Deep in the heart of the Corn Belt, a different kind of agriculture is taking root in the city of Peoria, Illinois. Back in 2016, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) awarded Chicago-based Greenprint Partners a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG). Partnering with the city and other local community groups, a long-vacant lot in downtown Peoria has been transformed into a vibrant community gathering space with green infrastructure, an urban forest, and a working farm.

Wood Waste Helps Keep the Lights on in Rural Communities

Perched at the edge of the Great Basin, the city of Susanville, California, has experienced high winds, heavy snowfalls, and wildfires that disrupt power supplied on the regular grid. Fortunately, the city’s 20,000 residents, as well as those in surrounding rural communities, aren’t left in the dark for long.

Georgia: A Peach of an Agricultural State

While growing up, we’re taught to mind our Ps and Qs. When it comes to Georgia agriculture, it’s all about the Ps – poultry, peanuts, pecans, peaches, and people. As the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture show, Georgia continued to lead the nation in poultry, peanut, and pecan production and ranked third in peaches.

Agriculture in the Sunshine State

Florida’s recognized signature crop is citrus. The 2017 Census of Agriculture shows 502,886 acres in orchards (known as groves in Florida), second only to California. The bulk of Florida’s orchard acreage includes citrus. Florida had 474,540 total citrus acres – 57 percent of the national total. Breaking down citrus further, the census data show 422,421 orange acres in Florida – 70 percent of the national total. Florida Valencia orange acreage totaled 226,052, 86 percent of the total orange acreage. Florida’s grapefruit total acreage in the 2017 Census of Agriculture was 40,248 – 59 percent of our nation’s total grapefruit acreage.

Farmers and Ranchers: The Foundation of our Nation’s Nutrition Assistance Programs

You may be familiar with Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” speech that he delivered to the FFA Convention in November 1978. What he said then still rings true today. He describes the hard work and sacrifices as well as the gentle family spirit and sense of community that farmers and ranchers have provided from generation to generation across our great country. Farmers and ranchers are the backbone of America, working from sun-up to sundown, taking care of the land and livestock and providing food for their fellow citizens and the rest of the world.