What to Read for National Agriculture Day

March 11, 2016

800px-Grain-field“For amber waves of grain” is my favorite lyric in the song America the Beautiful. I picture fields of honey-colored wheat, undulating in the mild breeze. Such imagery is a real thing in rural America. Those fabled farmlands of song have fed, clothed, and employed real people for generations. The agriculture industry, a linchpin of the American economy, remains competitively strong and significant today.

National Agriculture Day on March 15th recognizes the plentiful contributions of U.S. agriculture. To boost your knowledge of the essential role of agribusiness in our daily lives, check out these U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) resources available from the GPO bookstore.

Running a Food Hub: A Business Operations Guide

001-000-04766-3This handy USDA report centers on decision points for food hub operators. What’s a food hub, you ask? It sources, aggregates, and distributes a wide array of local and regional food products. Food hubs can take on many different forms, from corporation to cooperative. Whichever way they legally and operationally organize, each has an assortment of logistics, regulations, and risks to consider.

Successful food hubs operate with the community in mind; many have a social-based mission. This guide certainly recognizes that. It includes tips on how to customize a service strategy, build in customer incentives, and chose a sale focus. Ultimately, food hubs can have “a tremendous impact on their producer-members by returning a percentage of food dollars spent.”

Read “Running a Food Hub” and grow your agribusiness acumen!

Agricultural Statistics 2014

9780160930393037USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service compiled this “reliable reference book” of data tables on agricultural “supplies, consumption, facilities, costs, and returns.” It’s fifteen chapters of estimates on field crops, livestock, forestry, horticulture, and other subcategories. Foreign trade data is also represented.

Big export staples like corn, cotton, wheat, potatoes, and soybeans have lots of stats on them. So, naturally, they have several data tables in this tome. Not quite the case for pickles, lima beans, inedible tallow, and pink pelts. Their part is small but vital in an industry that contributed $835 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service.

To wrap up, here are a few ag stats to impress your friends with:

  • In 2013, the U.S. produced over 97 billion eggs
  • In 2012, milk cows produced over 200 billion pounds of milk
  • In 2013, the value of U.S. cotton production exceeded 5 billion dollars.


Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Just for Fun: Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes

April 19, 2010

When I first got the idea to blog about Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes, I figured that I’d be shedding light on a totally forgotten Government publication. I remembered Aunt Sammy as the title character of an odd-sounding booklet that GPO was selling in my early days here. When I searched the Internet, though, she was everywhere. Cooking sites, old time radio sites, newspaper sites – who knew?

On October 4, 1926, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Bureau of Home Economics and the Radio Service launched its Housekeeper’s Chat show, featuring Aunt Sammy – Uncle Sam’s wife, of course. In addition to meals and recipes, she talked about all kinds of other household matters, but it was the recipes that got listeners’ attention. In 1927 USDA put the most popular recipes into a pamphlet: Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes. According to the introduction to the 1976 USDA reprint (the one I remembered hearing about),  “The demand was so great that it had to be reprinted after only a month. ‘Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes’ was revised and enlarged three times between 1927 and 1931. In 1932 it became the first cookbook published in braille.”

Aunt Sammy vanished in 1934 and the show did likewise in 1946, yet her memory lingers on. I discovered that the 1931 edition has been reprinted by a private publisher and is still available. I like the 1976 edition, which you can find here, because it has contemporary recipes from USDA as well as some 1920’s favorites. It’s all what I think of as “hearty fare” or “comfort food” – definitely BA (before arugula). What with diners and such making a comeback, our Aunt Sammy may be more contemporary than we think. Maybe I’ll have meatloaf tonight…

Dr. Seuss, U.S. Army

March 31, 2010

When I was a kid, I loved to rummage through a bunch of pamphlets that had belonged to my Uncle Teddy. I never knew my uncle because he went missing in action in the Pacific during World War II, so for me his memory was perpetuated mainly by these little U.S. Government booklets about getting along in China, North Africa, Iran, and other wartime hot spots. One of my favorites was “Meet Ann…She’s Dying to Meet You,” a 36-pager about the perils of contracting malaria from the Anopheles mosquito. The illustrations were cartoons, usually showing some poor sap (it’s easy to fall back into the slang of the era) getting bitten by Ann or failing to employ mosquito netting.

Fast forward a good many years to a Federal depository library conference featuring a talk on “Government Publications as Rare Books.” The presenter said, “This booklet goes for $600 and up” and flashed the cover of “Meet Ann” on the screen. Yikes! The cartoonist was Dr. Seuss when he was Captain Ted Geisel, U.S. Army, and this little pamphlet is one of his hardest to find publications. The author of the text was no slouch, either: Munro Leaf, author of “Ferdinand the Bull.” As soon as I got home, I put my little pamphlet in a safer place! My copy probably would be worth even more if I hadn’t “autographed” it on the back cover when I was about 10. Oh, well…

 If you’d like to take a peek at “Meet Ann” online, try this USDA site.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,120 other followers

%d bloggers like this: