USDA In Case You Missed It - #USDAResults: New Markets, New Opportunities

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.




Office of Communications Header

In Case You Missed It Header

President Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama at the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Initiative during a Kids’ State Dinner in the East Room of th

Today, USDA supports and invests in local and regional food projects from coast to coast, in every state—that was not always the case. When Secretary Vilsack took office in 2009, “local food” was still a relatively new concept. Right out of the gate, USDA gave new priority to giving consumers what they had been asking for: a stronger connection to their food.

Between 2009 and 2015, from the smallest on-farm projects like high tunnels, to large-scale investments like food hubs, USDA has invested over $1 billion in more than 40,000 local and regional food businesses and infrastructure projects. Today, more than 160,000 farmers and ranchers nationwide are selling into local markets, from farmers markets and CSAs to local restaurants, grocery stores and institutions, contributing huge returns for local communities. Two-thirds of rural counties have demonstrated job growth and unemployment in rural areas has fallen considerably.

Industry data estimate that U.S. local food sales totaled at least $12 billion in 2014, up from $5 billion in 2008—that value could hit $20 billion by 2019.  At the same time, consumer demand for organic products continues to increase, with U.S. retail sales growing from $13 billion in 2005 to more than $39 billion in 2014. Today, the number of certified organic operations in the United States has grown to more than 21,700—nearly a 300 percent increase since 2002.

Join us throughout the month of April as we take a look at how significant and transformative USDA investments have supported a growing movement to better connect producers with consumers and expand rural economic opportunities. Follow along on, on the USDA blog and by using #USDAResults, or catch up on Chapter IV on our Medium site:

The Week in Pictures
Potus Quote

In April we’ll take a look at how USDA’s programs evolved to support a growing movement to better get to know our farmers, connecting producers with consumers and expanding rural economic opportunities to help more farmers stay on the farm:


Child at the 2016 White House Easter Egg Roll
Children at the 2016 White House Easter Egg Roll on the south lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on Monday, March 28, learn about the
USDA People’s Garden Initiative.


FoodShare boxes sorted and ready for buyers
FoodShare boxes sorted and ready for buyers looking to improve their healthy eating choices.


A red-cockaded woodpecker
Forest Service employees monitor the red-cockaded woodpecker as part of the species’ translocation program.

The first U.S. dairy cattle shipped to Pakistan in 17 years are loaded onto trucks for their journey to the FAS-supported demonstration farm at the Un
The first U.S. dairy cattle shipped to Pakistan in 17 years are loaded onto trucks for their journey to the
FAS-supported demonstration farm at the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences near Lahore.

ICYMI on the USDA Blog

Addressing the Heroin and Prescription Opioid Epidemic

Last week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a series of upcoming rural town halls as well as funding rural communities can use to conduct health and safety outreach around prescription painkiller and heroin abuse.

Silent Cultural Symbols that Speak Volumes

On your next outdoor adventure, for a memorable and literal walk through history, why not add cultural awareness to the beauty all around you and visit one of the many cultural sites protected by the Forest Service.

SNAP-Ed Helps Spur Healthy Choices

USDA released SNAP: Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Grant Program, the rule which finalizes and fully implements the SNAP nutrition education provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

USDA Provides Nutritious U.S. Peanuts in Humanitarian Effort for Haiti

USDA will ship 500 metric tons of packaged, dry-roasted peanuts grown in the United States to Haiti where the United Nations will distribute the peanuts to school children.

A Visitor’s Perspective: What Everyone Should Know about USDA and their Impact on Nutrition

White House Fellow Sara Bleich discusses her experiences this year as a Senior Policy Advisor to Under Secretary Kevin Concannon in Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services.

Helping Kids Stay Active and Healthy This Summer

New materials developed under USDA’s Team Nutrition initiative offer suggestions for practical ways to keep the whole family healthy during the summer. All of Team Nutrition’s new summer materials are available in English and Spanish.

As Summer Draws Near, We Set Lofty Goals to Feed More Kids than Ever

Rural Housing Service Administrator Tony Hernandez talks about the efforts of USDA’s Rural Housing Service (RHS) to increase the number of RHS affordable rental communities participate in in the Food and Nutrition Service’s Summer Food Service Program.

Spotting Trends Based on ‘What We Eat in America’

Observing trends in U.S. diets is possible based on food-consumption data collected during the annual “What We Eat in America/NHANES” dietary-intake survey. USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is responsible for the consumption interview, one of several components of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Raising Awareness of CACFP Across the Nation

Vicki Lipscomb, President, National CACFP Sponsors Association, discusses the association’s work with USDA to raise awareness across the nation about how USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) can help communities address the food insecurity of one in four Americans.

USDA Helps Military Veterans Answer the Question, “What’s Next?”

Lanon Baccam, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, serves as the department’s Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison and recently visited Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas, as part of the Hiring Our Heroes Transition Summit.

Investments in EFNEP Pay Big Dividends, Now and in the Future

USDA’s Expanded Food, Nutrition, and Education Program (EFNEP) has consistently proven its ability to improve the health and well-being of low income families and youth. The program teaches participants how to improve their diets, be more physically active, stretch their food dollars, and increase their knowledge of food safety.

FoodShare Columbia: Another Great Way to Increase Access to Healthy, Affordable Foods with SNAP

FoodShare Columbia, in cooperation with the University of South Carolina and other partners, is revolutionizing the way the community addresses food insecurity.

Stretching the Clock and Enhancing the Food Aisles Make for Better Eating in Tribal Nations

In one of the first-of-its-kind initiatives at an Indian reservation, children at Pine Ridge will have access to supper at Pine Ridge School thanks to the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), which will provide federally-funded meals on the reservation through its At-Risk Afterschool Meals program.

Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Populations Begin Rebound

It isn’t often that an endangered species successfully recovers, which is why the story of the red-cockaded woodpecker is so inspiring. Once found throughout 90 million acres of longleaf pine forests in the southeast, the red-cockaded woodpecker’s population on National Forest System lands has increased 60 percent from the low of 1,981 active clusters in 1990 to today’s approximately 3,150 active clusters of typically one to five birds each.

People’s Garden Initiative Launches New Website to Celebrate National Garden Month

The new People’s Garden website has tools and resources gardeners can use to start or expand a home, school or community garden, including gardening checklists created in partnership with Let’s Move.

Listen Header

Bringing More Healthful Foods to Corner Stores
Broadcast Date: Wed, March 30, 2016
Researchers are working on ways that might bring more healthful food products to your local corner store. (Gary Crawford and Joel Gittelsohn)

A New Economic Toolkit for Local Food Systems
Broadcast Date: Tue, March 29, 2016
Supporters of local and regional food systems can now explain their economic benefits to community leaders and decision makers by using a toolkit developed by the USDA. (Rod Bain and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack)

An Example Of Regional Partnership Tackling Water Issues
Broadcast Date: Mon, March 28, 2016
Stakeholders in Northwestern Missouri who have water concerns have spent the past decade in partnership to address water issues. (Rod Bain and Beverly Maltsberger of University of Missouri Extension)

A National Drug Summit This Week
Broadcast Date: Mon, March 28, 2016
How do we stem the tide of a growing drug abuse problem in this country? Hundreds of people with a stake in doing that are attending a national summit on the problem. (Gary Crawford. President Barack Obama. Sec'y Tom Vilsack)

White House Egg Roll Tradition Continues
Broadcast Date: Mon, March 28, 2016
The yearly White House Easter egg roll is a tradition that is well over a hundred years old. (Gary Crawford and Michelle Obama)

Read About Us in the News

Food LINC aims for bumper crop of local foods in Memphis (The Commercial Appeal)

Memphis has been chosen to participate in a new federal program that aims to boost the sale of locally produced farm goods and give consumers better access to healthy, locally grown foods.

Local food hubs get boost from feds
(The Pueblo Chieftain)

Pueblo is one of 10 communities selected for a federal program that will link farmers with local markets. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is announcing the LINC or Levering Investment for Network Coordination program today, and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union is among those chosen to participate.

'Food LINC' To Boost Farm Sales, Grow Local Foods Sector In Ten Regions
(Perishable News)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials today joined 15 national and regional philanthropic partners to announce a new initiative to bolster the supply chain for local food systems around ten key U.S. cities.

USDA partners with local organizations
(Bristol Herald Courier)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is teaming up with Appalachian Sustainable Development and other organizations around the country to help farmers connect with wholesale retailers.

U.S. agriculture secretary shares tragic story before visit to Atlanta
(The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack remembers his adoptive mother struggling with alcohol and prescription drug addictions when he was growing up. Vilsack recently shared his story in an exclusive interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as he prepared to speak at a national drug abuse summit in Atlanta Monday.

This Program Will Make Cutting Carbon Emissions Lucrative For Farmers (ThinkProgress)

When Mark Isbell, a third-generation rice farmer in central Arkansas, tallies up his profits for this year, he’ll count a few extra dollars from a unique source: the greenhouse gases that his 3,200-acre farm didn’t emit.

Tom Vilsack: USDA summer plan seeks to reduce child hunger/Let’s improve the odds for rural families
(Commercial Appeal/Clarion Ledger)

No matter where we live, from the heartland to the coast, our dreams for our kids and grandkids are simple: that they enjoy long, happy, and healthy lives. But for too many families in rural America, that dream remains out of reach.

Share Header

A new way to help YOU plant for pollinators from @PeoplesGarden @Pollinators  →
Learn how we're partnering to strengthen supply chains for #localfoods in 10 regions #KYF2

April is here and it's #NationalGardenMonth! Declared by @USDA →  #LetsCelebrate

  Superheroes come in all sizes at #EasterEggRoll! Bats, [batmen], other pollinators save the  for future generations

Getting big!  #dceaglecam