Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Expanding Wildlife Habitat on Private Lands

Forest undercover where invasive species have been removed.

Forest undercover where invasive species have been removed.

Joe and Jon Higgins are brothers who are working with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to improve the environmental quality of the 36 acres of land they share in Pomfret, Connecticut. Read more »

Payroll Tax Cuts – Now is the Time for Congress to Act

We’re getting down to the wire. Congress has until December 31, to pass the Payroll Tax Cut or 160 million Americans will see their taxes go up on January 1st and the typical middle class family will see a tax hike of about $1,000 in 2012.

This isn’t a time for politics.  This payroll tax cut is about the economy and how we can take steps now to get our economy on strong footing.  It will make a real difference to working Americans.  It will help families pay the bills.  And it is the right thing to do. Read more »

Renewable Energy: Creating Jobs In Rural Communities

Are there cost effective steps that rural communities can take to attract and grow competitive, sustainable energy-related businesses? That was the central question being examined by visiting members of the Organization for Economic and Community Development (OECD) during a series of meetings this fall hosted by USDA Rural Development in four states.

OECD economists and USDA staff met with state and local officials as well as non-profit research organizations and private businesses in Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon and Tennessee during October and November. The meetings examined the impact of federal and state investments in renewable energy production and the impact they have had on economic development in rural communities in recent years. Read more »

A New Hiring Guide for America’s Agricultural Employers

Cross posted from the Department of Labor blog:

Agricultural businesses large and small rely on seasonal workers.  When U.S. workers are not available, employers can utilize the H-2A program to hire temporary foreign workers to perform certain types of agricultural work.

Our Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) is charged by Congress with protecting the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers while also providing a legal means for employers to access foreign workers with critical skills.  OFLC is strengthening America’s economic competitiveness through a foreign labor system that reflects our values and meets employers’ needs. Read more »

2012 Ag Outlook Forum: Food Price and Farm Income Outlooks

USDA’s 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum, Feb. 23-24, will present 25 breakout sessions, including the annual Food Price and Farm Income Outlooks.  Economist Richard Volpe with the Economic Research Service (ERS) will discuss USDA’s forecast for food price inflation, including recent historical trends in food expenditure patterns and the relationship between food prices and inflation in the general economy.  Read more »