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Nebraska Commemorates the 150th Anniversary of USDA

President Abraham Lincoln’s Legacies of USDA, the Morrill Act and the Homestead Act were commemorated on May 20 at the Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice, Nebraska.  More than 225 people attended a special panel presentation in the Education Center, moderated by Dr. Kenneth Winkle, Lincoln Scholar and Professor of History at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, who introduced the work of President Lincoln.

Panelists were, for USDA:  U.S. Senator Mike Johanns, former Secretary of Agriculture; the Morrill Act:  Dr. John Owens, Vice-Chancellor Emeritus, University of Nebraska Lincoln; and the Homestead Act:  Mark Engler, Superintendent, Homestead National Monument of America.   A dialogue with the audience took place after the presentations. Read more »

Spot the Purple Trap for EAB Awareness Week May 20-26

Look for purple traps like this one during EAB Awareness Week.

Look for purple traps like this one during EAB Awareness Week.

This is Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Awareness Week.  Before the Memorial Day holiday and summer travel season begin, we take this time to remind everyone to be careful not to spread the EAB unintentionally.

EAB is one of many “Hungry Pests” that can cause significant damage to our country’s natural resources.  Since first being identified in 2002, EAB is responsible for the destruction of tens of millions of ash trees in 15 states in the Midwest and Northeast. Read more »

Volunteers Shine at Sierra National Forest 2011 Volunteer Awards Ceremony

During an early April annual volunteer awards ceremony held in Clovis, Calif., the Sierra National Forest recognized the dedication, commitment and accomplishments of more than 400 individuals and groups that provided services valued at more than $770,000 to the forest in 2011.

“Our volunteers contributed over 35,000 hours of their personal time.  Their contributions are essential to our mission of ensuring forest health,” said Scott G. Armentrout, Forest Supervisor for the Sierra National Forest. “Their great ideas, hard work and inspiration toward ‘caring for the land and serving people’ helps to ensure our success.” Read more »

Water Quality Innovations of a Mississippi Delta Farm

Stovall Farms is the oldest farm in Coahoma County, Mississippi, and it still owned and operated by the same family.

Stovall Farms is the oldest farm in Coahoma County, Mississippi, and it still owned and operated by the same family.

Preventing fertilizer from rushing into a nearby bayou is not rocket science, but it does take a dedicated farmer and Pete Hunter of Stovall Farms is one of those dedicated Mississippi farmers.

Last month Pete spoke with the Mississippi River/ Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force when they toured his farm in Coahoma County, telling them about the steps Stovall Farms has taken to lower its environmental footprint. Read more »

Celebrating USDA’s 150th Anniversary at the Iowa Birthplace of Former Agriculture Secretary Henry A. Wallace

I had the distinct pleasure of visiting the birthplace of former Agriculture Secretary Henry A. Wallace during a recent trip to Iowa.  In fact, my tour of the farm near Orient in south central Iowa happened to be May 15, the day the USDA celebrated its 150th anniversary.

Wallace was Secretary of the Agriculture from March 4, 1933 until September 4, 1940.  He served as Vice President of the United States from 1941 to 1945 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was also Secretary of Commerce from 1945 to 1946.

Wallace is perhaps the 20th Century’s most well-known Ag Secretary and his accomplishments are monumental. Read more »