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Today, USDA announced a final rule regarding organic livestock and poultry production practices. The rule strengthens the organic standards, and ensures that all organic animals live in pasture based systems utilizing production practices that support their well-being and natural behavior. The rule clarifies how organic producers and handlers must treat their animals, brings clarity to the...
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USDA Blog » Supporting Organic Integrity with Clear Livestock and Poultry Standards

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Streambank restoration halts erosion, improves water quality and restores a healthy equilibrium to the stream corridor.
Welcome to Week 3 of our 5-week MyPlate New Year’s Challenge! Last week we focused on the Fruits Food Group and healthy solutions for breakfast. There are still three weeks remaining in the Challenge and it isn’t too late to join – sign up today and invite others to participate with you. This week, we will focus on the Vegetables Food Group and how small changes during lunch can help add more...
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USDA Blog » Lunchtime: Small Changes – Healthy Rewards

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USDA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partner to support conservation on ag lands to help monarch butterflies.

NRCS, USFWS Partner to Accelerate Conservation on Agricultural Lands for the Monarch Butterfly | NRCS

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$252M available for Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Pre-proposals due by 4/21. [ Go.usa.gov Link ]

USDA Announces $252 Million Available for Regional Conservation Partnership Program | NRCS

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USDA recently issued Expenditures on Children by Families, 2015. This report is also known as “The Cost of Raising a Child.” Based on the most recent data from the Consumer Expenditures Survey, in 2015, a family will spend approximately $12,980 annually per child in a middle-income ($59,200-$107,400), two-child, married-couple family. Middle-income, married-couple parents of a child born in...
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USDA Blog » The Cost of Raising a Child

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Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack sent the following message to all USDA employees:

USDA Blog » A Farewell Message from Secretary Tom Vilsack to Employees

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Over the last eight years, our agencies have worked to expand the availability and adoption of broadband in recognition of the increasingly important role that the Internet is playing in every facet of society. Today, we are pleased to report that the 25 participating agencies have made considerable progress toward completing their commitments.

USDA Blog » Agencies Making Progress to Connect America

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USDA and the Governance Lab at New York University (GovLab) are teaming up again to design and deliver a “summer camp” in 2017 for middle- and high-school students that focuses on using Open Data related to Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Math (STEAM). In preparation for 2017, an Open House will be held on from 4-6 pm on Friday March 14 on the patio of USDA’s Whitten...
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USDA Blog » Open Data Summer Camp Plans Gaining STEAM for 2017

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USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Arizona Department of Agriculture, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other partners are working together to restore grassland habitat across Arizona through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). In the first year alone, through RCPP, the...
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USDA Blog » Regional Partnerships Help De-Clutter Arizona Grasslands

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A new study from ICF which was released today, titled “A Life-Cycle Analysis of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Corn-Based Ethanol,” finds that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with corn-based ethanol in the United States are about 43 percent lower than gasoline when measured on an energy equivalent basis. This is comparable to reducing GHG emissions in the U.S. transportation sector...
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USDA Blog » Innovation is Driving Down Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Corn-based Ethanol

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the release of a report studying the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) balance of corn ethanol: [ Usda.gov Link ]
Local foods, pollination, organic products, fats and oils—these are just a few of the topics on which USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) recently began collecting and reporting data to meet data interests and requests. One of our newest advancements is the development of an improved Internet-based way to respond to surveys. NASS is developing a new, more modern online...
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USDA Blog » Bringing it Home at the End of the Year

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In Maryland, USDA Rural Development (RD) spearheaded an effort to convene rural stakeholders for conversations about the economic benefits of regional collaboration. As a result, rural communities across the Delmarva Peninsula are now engaged in regional economic thinking, action and collaboration. To encourage regional economic development, RD worked alongside local partners in Maryland to...
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The USDA Foods Available List is a lot like any other menu, with dozens of healthy options for state agencies to order and distribute through USDA’s nutrition assistance programs. At this fall’s annual meeting for USDA and state agency staff working on school meal programs, attendees had the opportunity to go “behind the scenes with USDA Foods.” This pre-conference session included background...
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USDA Blog » Taste Test: Behind the Scenes with USDA Foods

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USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced the availability of more than $27 million in grants to help ensure the livelihoods of our nation’s farmers and ranchers while strengthening rural economies. The announcement included $26 million in AMS grant funding from the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program through the Local Food Marketing Promotion Program (LFPP) and the...
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USDA Blog » USDA Offers Grants to Help Expand Marketing and Local Food Opportunities

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Natural systems always tend towards more diversity, rather than less. #SOSH
Thanks to USDA Rural Development’s (RD) Rural Utilities Service funding and Home Communications, Inc., (HCI) those who live and work in a rural Kansas community don’t have to travel miles for broadband service. HCI, based in Gypsum, Kan., is one example of how rural telecommunication service providers are investing in the future of their communities. With the help of funding from RD to upgrade...
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USDA Blog » USDA Works to Deliver Broadband to Rural Communities

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In the Washington State communities of Ellensburg, Cashmere, Selah and Leavenworth, market forces were encouraging the removal of older multi-family properties in favor of development of higher-end single-family homes. To help preserve affordable rural rental housing for very-low to low-income residents in the area, USDA Rural Development provided a guarantee on a $4.63 million loan, from...
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The New Year is here and most of us are making resolutions about how to improve our lives in 2017. Well, we at the Natural Resources Conservation Service believe that learning about farming and conserving natural resources should be at the top of everyone’s list of resolutions. How can you make that happen? By signing up for a farm field day. Field days will give you plenty of opportunities to...
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USDA Blog » Here’s a New Year’s Resolution that You’ll Want to Keep

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