USDA

A little boy in an orange shirt walks up to a grab-and-go meal site at an elementary school in Salt Lake City, Utah. A school worker wearing a mask uses a bullhorn to let kitchen staff know the boy's there. Then a staffer sets a bag lunch and some extra strawberries on a table and backs away.

 


Wild mushroom foragers in the Mountain West may soon have a new and easy way to tell if their pickings are poisonous. 

You might not know it but there’s a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture whose job includes killing wild animals – to the tune of millions each year.  It used to be called Animal Damage Control. Now it’s simply called Wildlife Services. Depending on who you talk to, the agency is controversial and secretive or, well-managed and essential.

Daniel Sancho / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The Nevada Department of Agriculture is offering a grant to help stimulate specialty crops in the state. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick has that story.

Specialty crops are plants used for human consumption that are not animal- or grain-based: things like fruits, nuts and herbs. The Nevada Department of Agriculture is offering $250,000 to promote this industry.

Ashley Jeppson is with the department, and she says the purpose of the grant is to enhance human food production.

Kim Shiflett / NASA

Two federal agencies are teaming up in effort to help farmers in Nevada and other parts of the county better predict and prepare for an increasingly dry future.

Farm industry officials in Nevada say a more innovative and accurate drought response system can help production efforts going forward. That's where a new partnership between the US Department of Agriculture and NASA comes in. The agencies are expanding the use of satellite technology to gather data on soil moisture and create space-borne maps showing drought effects in specific regions.