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NASS Reaches Out to Farmers for its Mid-Year Surveys

The first few weeks of June are always some of the busiest weeks for USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Our agency reaches out to more than 100,000 farmers and ranchers across the country as we conduct three major surveys: June Area, Crops/Stocks and Hogs and Pigs Inventory surveys.

Having worked in management positions in NASS’s Georgia and Washington offices, I can honestly say that conducting these surveys is not an easy task. We dedicate the first two weeks of the month to gathering the information and process it in the next two. The data has to be ready to go by the last Friday of June (June 29 this year), when NASS publishes its June Acreage report, setting the first official estimates for the upcoming harvest. Read more »

Helping Veterans Succeed in Farming

 

Edward Avegalio transformed his farm into a hydroponic haven that expanded his acreage and made the land accessible to his needs.

Edward Avegalio transformed his farm into a hydroponic haven that expanded his acreage and made the land accessible to his needs.

Edward Avegalio fought for his country in Operation Desert Shield in the early 1990s. Today, he serves his country by providing locally grown, fresh produce to area schools, local restaurants and stores through the first hydroponic farm in American Samoa that was redesigned to allow him to actively work the land. Read more »

Accessible Fishing Opportunities Abound in National Forests

National Fishing and Boating Week, a part of the June celebration of Great Outdoors Month, will be celebrated again this year June 2 – 10. It’s a time when fishing fanatics and amateur anglers will visit national forests and grasslands across the country to try their hands at landing the big one.

On the National Forests in North Carolina, anglers with physical disabilities who visit the Nantahala, Pisgah, Uwharrie, and Croatan National Forests will have a number of accessible piers to choose from. Some of these piers provide access to premier trout fishing destinations.

“For more than 20 years, the National Forests in North Carolina and North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission have been committed to providing anglers of all abilities with the opportunity to go fishing on public lands,” said Sheryl Bryan, the forests’ fisheries and wildlife biologist. Read more »

Cutting-edge Technology to Make Traditional Favorites Even Better

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Fresh corn and homegrown tomatoes are as much a part of the traditional American scene as apple pie.  Scientists with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have applied cutting-edge technology to learn more about these longtime favorites and, in the long run, make them even better.

As part of an international consortium of 300 researchers, ARS scientists recently sequenced the genome of the domesticated tomato.  This achievement is expected to lower production costs and speed up efforts to improve the United States’ $2 billion tomato crop, making the plant better equipped to combat the pests, pathogens, drought and diseases that now plague growers. That’s good news for tomato fans, because since 2000, Americans have been consuming an average of 19 pounds of tomatoes per person every year. Read more »

Extension Tips for Organic Grains Producers

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Are you an organic grain farmer or thinking of becoming one?  Or maybe you’re wondering about strategies for improving soil quality or using less pesticide?  If so, then you could benefit from research and outreach conducted by staff at the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory (SASL) at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Beltsville, MD.

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture has funded two projects through the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) that are helping ARS-SASL reach organic producers.  Both projects are setting a high standard for extension activities. Read more »

Innovative Farmer Works with NRCS to Save Energy and Water

Roger Barton’s center pivot irrigation system is running on green renewable energy. The hydroturbine system was funded by a NRCS in Utah through a Conservation Innovation Grant.

Roger Barton’s center pivot irrigation system is running on green renewable energy. The hydroturbine system was funded by NRCS in Utah through a Conservation Innovation Grant. Photo credit Roger Barton.

Like other farmers in the West, Roger Barton must irrigate the alfalfa hay he raises for horse owners. And like many farmers, Barton has to be creative to make ends meet. He has an off-farm job to support his family and is always trying to think of ways to keep his farm costs down.

When diesel costs rose to $4.25 per gallon a couple of years ago, Barton came up with a new, non-diesel-powered way to power his center pivot irrigation system, which creates those crop circles you may have noticed when flying over rural America. (The center pivot also saves lots of water by spreading just the right amount evenly over the land.) Read more »