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Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 7/30/12

Agricultural Weather Assessment - U.S. Soybean Conditions as of July 29, 2012

Agricultural Weather Assessment - U.S. Soybean Conditions as of July 29, 2012. Click to enlarge image.

Visit www.usda.gov/drought for the latest information regarding USDA’s Drought Disaster response and assistance.

Based on weather developments last week (July 22-28), U.S. corn and soybean conditions further declined in today’s USDA/NASS crop condition report.  The most significant crop deterioration occurred across the southern and western Corn Belt, where little or no rainfall accompanied temperatures that averaged 5 to 10°F above normal.  Multiple days of triple-digit (100°F) heat were noted last week in parts of Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and on the Great Plains from South Dakota to Texas.  In contrast, there was enough rain (locally 1 to 2 inches or more) across the northern Corn Belt, mainly from the Dakotas to Michigan and Ohio, to help stabilize crop conditions in some fields.  Parts of central and eastern Iowa also received highly beneficial rainfall in excess of an inch.

U.S. soybeans, rated 37% very poor to poor on July 29, 2012, have matched lowest conditions observed during the Drought of 1988.  That year, soybeans rated very poor to poor peaked at 37% on July 10, with a secondary peak of 35% on August 21.  Nearly half (48%) of the U.S. corn was rated very poor to poor on July 29, 2012.  In 1988, corn rated very poor to poor peaked at 53% on August 21.

Weather Outlook:  During the next five days, no appreciable drought relief can be expected across the hardest-hit drought areas of the Plains, Mid-South, or Midwest, although rainfall in isolated locations may exceed an inch.  Significant rainfall (1 to 3 inches, with locally higher amounts) will be confined to the Southwest and the Southeast.  The northern Corn Belt will continue to experience scattered showers and a reprieve from hot weather, but excessively hot conditions will prevail for the remainder of the week across the central and southern Plains, the Mid-South, and parts of the southern Corn Belt.  In some of the hottest areas across the south-central U.S., high temperatures will continue to approach 110°F.  Late in the week, cooler air will arrive across the northern Plains.

Watch USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey discuss the current agricultural weather outlook on USDA’s YouTube channel.

Fishers Face a New Threat: Poisons Used by Marijuana Growers

Rat poison used on illegal marijuana farms pose a threat to fishers (pictured) and other forest animals.

Rat poison used on illegal marijuana farms pose a threat to fishers (pictured) and other forest animals.

Illegal marijuana farms in our nation’s forests are not only threatening the safety of humans in these recreational areas, but are also causing ecological damage to the land. And now, there’s proof that the animals that make the forests their homes are also being harmed. Read more »

Gardening at 9,500 Feet!

Mark Platten (right) with some of the Junior Master Gardeners of Cripple Creek, Colorado

With gas prices on the rise and the trip to the nearest large grocery store clocking in at 50 miles, Mark Platten realized an opportunity much closer to home. Platten, the Colorado State University Extension Director for Teller County, began brainstorming and came up with the idea for a program that would engage young people in gardening, put fresh food on the table, and facilitate community service opportunities in the town of Cripple Creek, Colorado – a small town situated in the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 9,500. Read more »

USDA Rural Development Administrator Tours Rural Maine Public Safety Improvements and Celebrates New Homeowners

USDA Rural Development Administrator for Housing and Community Programs Tammye Trevino presents new homeowners John Barnes and Jennifer Harry with a framed picture of their new home.

USDA Rural Development Administrator for  Housing and Community Programs Tammye Trevino visited Maine to participate in events highlighting a rural police department, new homeowners, and to attend a high-level forum “Housing in America: Innovative Solutions to Address the Needs of Tomorrow” organized by the Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission in Partnership with the Jack Kemp Foundation. Read more »

Organic 101: Organic Certification Cost Share Programs

To protect the integrity of the organic industry and its products, farms must certify that their operations are following USDA organic regulations.  The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service offers farms resources to help offset the certification costs. To protect the integrity of the organic industry and its products, farms must certify that their operations are following USDA organic regulations.  The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service offers farms resources to help offset the certification costs.

To protect the integrity of the organic industry and its products, farms must certify that their operations are following USDA organic regulations. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service offers farms resources to help offset the certification costs.

This is the seventh installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.

 

Annual organic certification fees allow certifiers to carry out their responsibilities. These fees vary according to an operation’s size and other variables. In light of that, the USDA organic cost share programs help to ensure that these costs don’t discourage those wanting to pursue organic certification. The programs make certification more affordable by reimbursing producers and handlers for as much as 75%—up to a maximum of $750 a year—for their certification costs. Eligible costs include application fees, inspection fees, travel for certification inspectors, and even postage. Read more »