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USDA'S REPORT TO CONSUMERS
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE- OFFICE OF INFORMATION- W-
May 1968 No. 52 19,8
MAY--SENIOR CITIZENS MONTH *
Housing Aid. Nearly 12,000 housing units for senior T
have been made possible through the U. S. Department of
Agriculture's rural credit agency, the Farmers Home Adminis-
tration. Senior citizens (62 or over) who live in the country-
side, and in towns up to 5,500 in population, are eligible for
loans for rental and cooperative housing. Rural housing loans--
to construct or improve an owner-occupied home--also are avail-
able through the Farmers Home Administration. These loans are
to eligible senior citizens who usually cannot qualify for
credit elsewhere. This program aids rural development by
boosting the economy in the construction and furnishings indus-
tries. Now in its sixth year, the FHA program has assisted
senior citizens who have moved from inadequate and substandard
dwellings into housing where they can live with pride.
TV MUSICAL SPECTACULAR
Don't Miss It! "Ballad of Smokey the Bear"--the animated color
musical film will be repeated on national television for the
second year on Sunday, May 5. Smokey--symbol of the Fire Preven-
tion campaign of the Forest Service of the U. S. Department of
Agriculture, was frightened by fire as a young, carefree cub.
He became a legend and has received nationwide acclaim. The
hour-long film points out the increased need for fire prevention
each year because of the many new parks and recreation areas--
and more and more people visiting them.
Plant Swapping. This is the time of year when Americans develop
green thumbs and begin seeding everything from window boxes to
lawns. But, the U. S. Department of Agriculture cautions gar-
deners about bringing plants and shrubs home from out-of-state.
Dirt, orchids, rose bushes, tulip bulbs, and wild plants are
harmless by themselves. But--they may harbor destructive plant
pests and diseases. Crossing state lines with plants and soil
may violate Federal and State quarantines designed to prevent the
spread of insects and other pests that damage plants, lawns, trees,
shrubs, and agricultural crops. The Department points out, however
that plants and soil can usually be brought home legally and safely
if gardeners first check with Federal or State plant pest control
officials or with a county agricultural agent.
CITRUS CROP SMALLER
Fruit--Noct So Plentiful. U. S. Department of Agriculture reports that crop pro-
duction on the 1967-68 citrus crop is expected to be 30 percent smaller than last
year. Oranges are expected to be 34 percent less than last year; grapefruit 24
percent; lemons 8 percent, and tangerines 43 percent less. Florida limes and
tangelos, however, will be above last season's production.
WITHIN SAFE LIMITS
Pesticide Residues at Low Levels. Consumers in the United States,the Federal
Republic of Germany, and The Netherlands have been reassured that any pesticide
residues detected in the food they eat are well within the safety limits for
human health set by all three governments. At a recent meeting in Washington,
leading scientists and officials of the three nations agreed that the generally
low levels of residue found in food products need not impede the substantial
flow of agricultural trade between their countries. They concluded that each
country has adequate legislation to assure a wholesome, safe food supply for the
consumer. The international talks on the pesticide residue problem were arranged
jointly by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Health, Edu-
cation, and Welfare's Food and Drug Administration.
Breakthrough for Safety. A completely flame-resistant mattress by a major bedding
manufacturer has been introduced as a result of the achievements of Department of
Agriculture research scientists working in cooperation with industry. The mattress
has been rigorously tested and is creating considerable interest in industry. In
addition to its important economic implications, its main value, in the words of
industry sources, is a "dramatic breakthrough in the field of safety." The product,
Cotton Flote, is a resilient, moldable cotton batting developed first for use in
automobile upholstery. It is now made flame-retardant by the use of a special com-
pound that is applied to the batting at the same time the resins that make it
resilient are applied as reported in the March issue of SERVICE.
Landmark Study. Enhancement of man's environment is the subject of a new publication
"Wastes in Relation to Agriculture and Forestry," issued by the U. S. Department
of Agriculture. The soil, water, and air in which food, fiber and timber are
produced and in which people must live is the subject of the report. The report
surveys the complex problem of modern waste control and disposal as it relates to
the Nation's agriculture and forestry operations which both suffer from the problem
and contribute to it. Among the types of pollutants it examines are detergents,
pesticides, fertilizers, animal wastes, sewage and animal and plant disease agents.
The publication suggests that the challenges posed by wastes must be met by a com-
bination of enlightened leadership, modern technology, and public support. This
publication can be obtained for 60 cents from the Superintendent of Documents,
Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C. 20402. Please include your zip code.
- 3 -
Braille Trail. High in the Colorado Rocky Mountains in the White River National
Forest is the first nature trail ever constructed especially for the sightless.
Known as the Roaring Fork Braille Trail, located 13 miles east of Aspen, Colorado,
it runs for some 600 feet through a carefully graded wooded area. Along its
route are 23 Braille inscribed markers. Nylon parachute cords along either side
of the trail guide the blind visitor from one marker to the next. Each of the
markers describes a unique type of natural phenomenon and advises the visitor to
listen to the wind and the roar of the stream; to smell and feel the foliage and
girth of the trees. The trail was formally dedicated last fall and is the joint
cooperative endeavor of the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service; the
Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center; the Colorado Lions Club, the Foundation
for the Blind, the Denver Federal Executive Board of the National Rehabilitation
Association, and the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind.
Check Your Soil. Advance conservation planning will protect the value of the rural
or suburban lot, according to specialists in the U. S. Department of Agriculture.
An examination of the soils helps determine whether they are capable of growing
grass, flowers, and vegetables. It will show in advance whether soils will make
stable footings for buildings and whether they will readily absorb the effluent
from septic tanks. Conservation measures such as terracing, grading, waterways,
and grassing that are used on farms are just as workable on the suburban or urban
tract. Through their use, you can avoid the disappointment of a flower bed cut to
pieces by discharge from a roof gutter or loss of good topsoil. Perhaps you can
save having your lot covered by sediment from the grounds of your neighbor, or
other soil and water problems faced by the city and suburban dweller. USDA publi-
cation "Soil Conservation at Home" AIB 244, shows land use problems encountered by
the small tract owner and gives suggestions on how to solve them. The booklet
may be ordered through the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing
Office, Washington, D. C. 20402, for 20 cents. Please include your zip code.
SALAD DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN
Longer Shelf Life. New ways of prolonging the life of eAstern iceberg lettuce may
help the spring and summer salad-bowl fanciers. Accordig to tests made by the
U. S. Department of Agriculture researchers, proper packaging--such as plastic film--
from the original shipping point could prolong the shelf-life of lettuce. Pack-
aging materials that keep out humidity would save cost/for growers and shippers
on transportation. Retailers would eliminate in-stor trimming costs. The con-
sumers could use the whole head of lettuce instead of/throwing away all the wilted
parts after only a few days--and save money. Prepac ged lettuce has been a sub-
ject of research since the 1930's.
Pick the Plentifuls. Eggs will be featured in most stores during the month of May.
Other good buys include turkeys, potatoes, milk and dairy products.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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Instant Juice. Wide acceptance of the recently developed new convenience
food--orange crystals-- from commercial frozen orange concentrate is in evi-
dence by the U. S. Department of Agriculture scientists. It was developed
with the cooperation of the Florida Citrus Commission. It meets the world-
wide needs of the Armed Forces, which are currently using about 1 1/2 million
pounds of orange crystals a year--one third of which are produced by the new
process. The crystals are made from commercial frozen orange concentrate by
a continuous foam-mat dryer process. The product is lightweight and has a
shelf-life of at least six months at 85F. It is attractive for commercial
export as well as domestic consumption. Industry production is expected to
increase initially to 20 million pounds of orange crystals a year, equivalent
to 5 million boxes of oranges.
To Expand Industry. Two million peach trees of the new clingstone variety
"babygold" have been planted recently in Arkansas, the Carolinas, Michigan,
New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Canada. The superior processing
quality of this peach was discovered as a result of the U. S. Department of
Agriculture contract research at the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.
Babygold peaches rate high for making baby food puree, hence the name, and for
canning as halves and slices. The first commercial crop was harvested in
Arkansas in 1966. A leading baby-food manufacturer processed all of it into
peach puree for nationwide distribution. The babygold variety is of special
importance to Eastern growers who depend almost entirely on the fresh market
as the sole outlet for their peaches. It is expected that the babygold
plantings will lead to the construction of new processing plants and to the
development of a sizable peach processing industry in the Eastern states.
Garden Pleasures. Whether you have a tiny plot, or a large acreage, and
whether you're young or old, a garden is a delight. But is your garden
growing as well as it cculd? Cultivation tips for 62 different vegetables
are given in "Suburban aid Farm Vegetable Gardens" Home and Garden Bulletin
No. 9. This booklet is available for 30 cents from the Superintendent of
Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C. 20402.
Please include your zip code.
SERVICE is a monthly newsletter of consumer interest. It is designed for those
who report to the individual consumer rather than for mass distribution. For
information about items in this issue, write: Shirley E. Wagener, Editor of
SERVICE, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Information, Special Re-
ports Division, Washington, ). C. 20250.
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