Current Activities

How Will New Dietary Guidelines Affect Agriculture?

In January 2005, USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services issued updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans. As the official statement of Federal nutrition policy, the Dietary Guidelines influence nutrition education, labeling, and regulations for Federal food assistance and nutrition programs. Updated every 5 years, the 2005 Dietary Guidelines continue to recommend including foods from all the major food groups, while balancing calories to avoid overweight. New emphases include recommendations to consume at least three servings of whole-grain foods daily, and to eat more fruit, dark-green and orange vegetables, legumes, and low-fat and nonfat dairy products. These increases should be balanced by decreasing intake of saturated fats, added sugars, and refined grains. USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion is updating its food guidance system, popularly known as the Food Guide Pyramid, to reflect the 2005 Dietary Guidelines. ERS is examining the potential impact of the guidelines on agriculture and food processing. Joanne Guthrie

How Is Rural Hispanic Growth Affecting Rural Public Schools?

The Hispanic population in rural areas has doubled since 1980 and is now the fastest growing demographic group in rural and small-town America. This growth has a significant impact on rural public education. Increasing numbers of school-aged Hispanic children have increased demand for educational facilities, contributed to school overcrowding, and increased the need for translators and English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers in many rural areas. But, infusions of new students can bring additional State funding to schools, helping rural communities avoid school closures and other problems associated with declining school-age populations. Researchers from ERS and Duke University are assessing the effects of rapid Hispanic population growth on the demand for public education and on measures of schooling quality, such as crowding, standardized test scores, and completion rates.