The Know Your Farmer interactive map shows USDA-supported projects and programs related to local and regional food systems for the years 2009-2011.
February 29, 2012 Obama appointees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture say grants and loans supported by its Know Your Farmer initiative are a win-win that create new jobs and more locally produced food. Critics say the program serves the foodie elite and urban locavores at the expense of conventional farmers in rural America.
Perigord truffles for sale in southwestern France. American farmers say they've figured out how to make the delicacy flourish in Appalachian soils.
Regis Duvignau/Reuters /Landov
February 29, 2012 New techniques and years of patience are helping American farmers produce black Perigord truffles, once a rare European delicacy. Chefs and foodies love the rich, earthy flavors and freshness; growers love the boutique price.
Almond trees rely on bees to pollinate during their brief bloom for a few weeks in February.
February 14, 2012 This month, the bees from 1.6 million hives — many of them trucked in commercially from as far away as North Dakota — will pollinate California's almond orchards. Then beekeepers will pack up their colonies and drive them back to the northern Plains, where bees can graze for the summer. But scientists says that floral feast in the Great Plains is shrinking because of high corn prices.
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Breeding sows in crates at a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods in 2010. The photo was shot by the Humane Society as part of an undercover investigation.
Humane Society/Associated Press
February 14, 2012 The animal rights organization, a longtime critic of factory farming practices, has collaborated with McDonald's to require pork suppliers to figure out how to phase out crates that confine pregnant sows.
One of the few baby Cochin chicks that survived the trip to Sara Sarasohn's home in Berkeley, Calif. last week.
February 13, 2012 When an urban farmer loses some baby chicks she was going to raise in her backyard, she's reminded that nowadays the consumer rarely has to bear the risks or costs of raising food.
At the JS West egg farm, south of Modesto, Calif., one chicken house has the new, spacious cages that egg producers and animal welfare advocates say keep chickens happier.
February 10, 2012 The president of the Humane Society of the United States and the president of the United Egg Producers are an unlikely duo to lobby Congress to approve new rules for egg farmers. But they agree on the need for a law that would allow farmers to keep their chickens in more spacious cages.
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The S&W Seed Co., in Five Points, Calif., will grow these seedlings of zero-calorie stevia in the fields of California's Central Valley.
February 6, 2012 The first big fields of stevia ever grown in the U.S. will spout this summer in California's Central Valley. One company is trying to turn this semiwild, zero-calorie plant into an industrial crop at Silicon Valley speed.
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A holding pen for lambs at the Will-O-Wood Farm in southeastern Ohio.
Meta Van Nostran
January 31, 2012 Lamb prices are at an all-time high, but American sheep farmers are worried. They say they need more farmers to raise sheep. And they want existing sheep farmers to increase the size of their flocks to meet growing demand.
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The new version of the map includes 13 zones, with the addition for the first time of zones 12 (50-60 degrees F) and 13 (60-70 degrees F).
U.S. Department of Agriculture
January 26, 2012 Gardeners: Take heed. An updated plant map shows that the United States is getting warmer. That means spring planting may come earlier and some plants can tolerate new northern latitudes.
Heirloom beets served at Bibiana Restaurant in downtown Washington, D.C.
Joseph Silverman/The Washington Times /Landov
December 30, 2011 From chi-chi restaurants to chains like Jamba Juice, beets are appearing on restaurant menus around the country. But one scientist says beets could be even more popular, so he's studying the compound that gives beets their distinctive flavor.
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Georgia O'Neal harvests winter greens at the Tree and Leaf Farm in Unionville, Va., on March 16, 2011.
December 28, 2011 Winter veggies from your local farmer may be coming to you or may already be near you, says says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But even though more farmers are finding a way to maintain the harvest, coaxing vegetables out of the ground when the air is chilly and the wind is brisk is tough work.
December 14, 2011 With the release of a new standard, the federal government wants farmers to stop the spread of nutrients outside farm fields into waterways. It involves putting farmland on a sensible diet.
Because of a butter shortage, there will be fewer krumkake cookies eaten in Norway this Christmas.
December 14, 2011 The cause of the butter blackout on the eve of the year's biggest baking holiday isn't entirely clear. But some Norwegians say the country's biggest dairy cooperative didn't import butter even when it became clear it might run out.
A Chinese beekeeper harvests honey beside a rapeseed field in Anhui province. China is a major producer of honey and bee products.
December 13, 2011 More than half of the honey that Americans consume today is imported from abroad, but some say the industry is plagued by forgery and illicit products from Asia. Five of the biggest American honey retailers are now setting up a system that they hope will clear away suspicion that illegal Chinese honey has infiltrated the honey supply.
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Maryland farmer Josie Johnson listens to a lecture on extending the farming season using caterpillar tunnels. The lesson was part of a conference for young farmers held in Tarrytown N.Y., in early December.
December 12, 2011 There's a surge of youthful vigor into American agriculture — at least in the corner devoted to organic, local food. Thousands of idealistic young people who've never farmed before are trying it out.
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