Inside these posts: USDA

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USDA to help gas stations fund new ethanol pumps

The Department of Agriculture will soon begin helping gasoline stations install new pumps that can dispense ethanol to curtail the nation’s dependence on petroleum-based fuel, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said Friday. Get the full story »

USDA warns of food-price shock

U.S. consumers could see food costs spiking to levels seen during the food crisis of 2008 on higher commodity and energy prices, the Agriculture Department said on Thursday.

Food prices are forecast to rise 3.5 percent this year — nearly double the overall inflation rate. The lion’s share of the increase is expected in the second half of 2011, when the recent uptick for commodities, such as corn and soybeans, makes its way through the food system. Just last month, USDA forecast an increase of 2.5 percent in 2011. Get the full story »

Strawberry genome may mean cheaper berries

Farmers have long struggled with getting ripe strawberries to market in good shape, but scientists say the recent mapping of the wild strawberry’s genome may help them produce berries that are cheaper and easier to grow and arrive in stores in peak condition. Get the full story »

Farm income seen rising 20% on grain prices

U.S. farm income will jump nearly 20 percent this year, with soaring grain prices boosting farmer profits even as production costs climb, according to a government report.

Net farm income is expected to reach $94.7 billion this year, which would be the second-highest, inflation-adjusted total in 35 years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farm income includes all production regardless of when sales take place. Get the full story »

USDA moves e-mail to Chicago-area cloud

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is moving to a cloud-based system for e-mail, with its data being stored in Microsoft’s data center in suburban Chicago.

Cloud computing moves applications to the Internet, cutting costs and facilitating easier access to information. The USDA said it awarded a contract in May to Dell for Microsoft Online Services, aiming to move all of its e-mail, instant messaging and collaboration applications to the cloud.

Microsoft’s data center in Northlake opened in September 2009 and is home to thousands of servers that provide processing power and storage for the company’s cloud services. Get the full story »

USDA to again OK genetically altered sugar beets

The U.S. Department of Agriculture unveiled Tuesday controversial plans to again approve genetically modified sugar beets in time for planting next year, a move that would nullify a federal court ruling in August that invalidated the approval the USDA issued five years ago.

The USDA’s proposal, published Tuesday, represents the preliminary stage of the process and will be followed by a 30-day comment period before  a final decision. The USDA laid out three  options in the proposal, including an option not to re-approve the sugar beets, but said its preferred  action would be to “authorize the commercial production” of genetically modified sugar beets under strict regulations.
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USDA sued over genetically altered sugar beets

Groups opposed to genetically modified foods have sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture Thursday over the agency’s recent decision to allow limited plantings of altered sugar beets. Get the full story »