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Daily Access to Local Foods for School Meals: Key Drivers

by Katherine Ralston, Elizabeth Beaulieu, Jeffrey Hyman, Matthew Benson, and Michael Smith
USDA Economic Research Service

What Is the Issue?

local foodsUSDA’s Farm to School Program was established in 2012 to improve access to local foods in eligible schools through grants and technical assistance. Farm-to-school programs bring locally or regionally produced foods into school cafeterias; provide hands-on learning activities such as school gardening, farm visits, and culinary classes; and integrate food-related education into the regular, standards-based classroom curriculum. Promotional activities and experiential learning also serve as an additional form of nutrition education to increase student awareness and interest in healthier foods. Frequent use of local foods in school meals has also been suggested as a way to expand the market for local agricultural producers. Read the rest of this entry »

Florida FFA Beast Feast is Saturday

Florida FFAThe 14th annual Florida FFA Foundation Beast Feast & Auction is scheduled for this Saturday, March 25 at the Florida FFA Leadership Training Center near Haines City. Executive Director of the Florida FFA Foundation, Michael Rogalsky, says their annual event also includes the inaugural Future Farmer Classic sporting clay event. Read the rest of this entry »

??2017 National Ag Day

Agriculture Council of America Announces 2017 National Ag Day Date & Theme

The Agriculture Council of America (ACA) will host National Agriculture Day on March 21, 2017. This will mark the 44th anniversary of National Ag Day which is celebrated in classrooms and communities across the country. The theme for National Ag Day 2017 is “Agriculture: Food For Life.” Read the rest of this entry »

Beef 101 Courses Supported by Checkoff

beef 101 tenderness surveyMany Beef 101 courses have taken place over the years to help those interested in expanding their knowledge of the total beef industry. In this weeks “Getting to know your beef checkoff” brought to you by your beef checkoff, head of the Animal Science Department at Auburn University, Dr. Wayne Greene, says they appreciate the efforts of the beef checkoff to help get this information out to many people. Read the rest of this entry »

2020 Vision for School Nutrition in Georgia

Georgia nutritionThe Georgia Departments of Agriculture is proud to be involved in an effort known as the 2020 Vision for School Nutrition in Georgia. Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black has an update on this program. Read the rest of this entry »

USDA Invests $4.8 Million in University Agricultural Programs

agricultural education
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 19 grants totaling $4,790,100 to support agricultural science programs at non-land-grant universities. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Capacity Building Grants for Non-Land-Grant Colleges of Agriculture (NLGCA) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Read the rest of this entry »

ABAC Student Enjoys being a Georgia Beef Team Member

Georgia Beef Board
The Georgia Beef Board’s Beef Team is out again this semester talking with consumers. One of those members is ABAC student Chelsey Daughtry, who told me she is really enjoying getting out and talking with consumers about beef. Read the rest of this entry »

Gaskalla Joins National Agriculture in the Classroom



Lisa Gaskalla, executive director of Florida Agriculture in the Classroom for 13 years, has been named executive director of the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization (NAITCO).

Gaskalla served as interim executive director of NAITCO while the organization conducted a national search to fill the position in 2016. Before that, she served as president of the organization in 2014-15, and hosted a National Agriculture in the Classroom National Conference in Florida in 2011.

“National Agriculture in the Classroom has grown to a point where it needed a full-time executive director to oversee the business of our growing organization,” said Chris Fleming, president of NAITCO and the Tennessee Agriculture in the Classroom state contact. “Lisa Gaskalla’s experience managing a successful program in Florida will serve NAITCO well.” Read the rest of this entry »

Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc. Hires New Executive Director

Florida agriculture classroomFlorida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc. (FAITC) is pleased to announce, effective February 15, 2017, Rebecca Sponholtz will be its new Executive Director. Sponholtz has been with the organization since June 2013 as Education Program Manager and will provide a seamless transition in this next phase.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to continue to educate youth and adults about the importance of Florida agriculture and help this important industry share their message.” said Sponholtz. Read the rest of this entry »

$1.7 Million to Support Research at Tribal Colleges and Universities

colleges universities funding land grant
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced $1.7 million in funding to build research capacity at land-grant tribal colleges and universities. Funding is made through NIFA’s Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program (TCRGP).

“1994 land-grant universities represent a critically important part of our nation’s construct of academic institutions providing the leadership to address nutritional security amongst tribal populations while protecting our environment and natural resources, and at the same time ensuring young people are receiving education that prepares them for the workforce,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. Read the rest of this entry »

ANCW’s Collegiate Beef Advocacy Program

American National CattleWomen’s Collegiate Beef Advocacy ProgramThe American National CattleWomen’s Collegiate Beef Advocacy Program was created for beef industry advocates interested in bridging the gap between the farm and the fork. This program connects the Collegiate leaders to the beef industry where they can have unlimited access to leadership, their peers, cattlemen and cattlewomen and beef industry professionals. And during last week’s Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, a few awards were given out during the Emerging Leaders Luncheon. Read the rest of this entry »

Florida Agriculture Literacy Day Set for May 2

Florida agriculture literacy
The 14th annual Florida Agriculture Literacy Day is scheduled for Tuesday, May 2, 2017, and the third in a series of new non-fiction children’s books has been developed that will highlight Florida’s aquaculture and seafood industries. Read the rest of this entry »

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