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Agriculture’s Role in Ecosystem Services

Harvesting sugarcane in south Florida, ARS scientists at the Sugarcane Production Research Unit are identifying research to help sustain both agriculture and natural Everglades ecosystems.

Harvesting sugarcane in south Florida, ARS scientists at the Sugarcane Production Research Unit are identifying research to help sustain both agriculture and natural Everglades ecosystems.

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.

Most of us accept that some services—such as waste water treatment and emergency response, for example—have an economic value. As citizens, we decide to support these services for our safety, security and comfort. And yet there are many other functions going on every day, all around the world, that are not directly supported but still enable our planet to maintain favorable living conditions for all living creatures—functions like bees pollinating our crops, forests absorbing excess carbon dioxide, or dung beetles breaking down animal wastes. Read more »

A Staple of the Farmers Market Since 1918

Elmer Moje sells German Stiffneck garlic at his stand in the Tonawanda, New York farmers market.  For decades, Moje has been bringing his crops to the same market.  Photo by Sharif Hamdy

Elmer Moje sells German Stiffneck garlic at his stand in the Tonawanda, New York farmers market. For decades, Moje has been bringing his crops to the same market. Photo by Sharif Hamdy

It was 1918 when Elmer Moje first took crops to market with his father on a horse and wagon in North Tonawanda, New York.  Moje, who turns 99 later this month, still takes his crops to the market once or twice a week.

“I don’t have the wagon or the horse anymore,” he says with a laugh. “Back then it was all done by hand. My father never owned a tractor, he only had horses. Now everything is done by tractor.” Read more »

An Indiana Community Receives an Improved Water system with USDA Support

The new Oakland City water tower and additional improvements are expected to sharply reduce water loss, increase water pressure. The new Oakland City water tower and additional improvements are expected to sharply reduce water loss, increase water pressure.

The new Oakland City water tower and additional improvements are expected to sharply reduce water loss, increase water pressure.

Oakland City, Indiana is the home of Oakland City University, the only General Baptist affiliate university in the nation, with a global campus providing over 40 degrees.  An organization of this stature, along with the surrounding community, places a lot of emphasis on faith. Read more »

Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 8/6/12

Agricultural Weather Assessments - U.S. Corn Conditions

Agricultural Weather Assessments - U.S. Corn Conditions

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

During the week of July 29 – August 4, scattered showers and slightly cooler conditions provided some relief to drought-stressed summer crops—primarily soybeans—in the Corn Belt.  Weekly rainfall totaled an inch or more in numerous Midwestern locations, with at least 2 inches reported in parts of the middle Mississippi and lower Ohio Valleys.  Meanwhile in the Southeast, where 2- to 4-inch weekly totals were common, pastures and immature summer crops continued to benefit from widespread showers.  Farther west, however, extreme heat shifted to the southern Plains.  In fact, weekly temperatures averaged at least 10°F above normal—and highs topped 110°F—in an area centered on Oklahoma, where recent wildfires charred thousands of acres and destroyed dozens of homes. Read more »

New Hampshire Celebrates USDA 150th Anniversary at Miles Smith Farm

Over 250 people gathered at the Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, New Hampshire last week to celebrate USDA’s 150th Anniversary on a hot, humid summer day.

on left - Judith Canales, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development in front row with Gregg MacPherson, Area Director and Molly Lambert, State Director – on right – congressional staff Ivey Jones-Congressman Bass, Sean Thomas-Congressman Guinta, Matt Leahy-Senator Shaheen, and Simon Thompson-Senator Ayotte with community attendees at the New Hampshire 150th USDA Anniversary Observance.

on left - Judith Canales, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development in front row with Gregg MacPherson, Area Director and Molly Lambert, State Director – on right – congressional staff Ivey Jones-Congressman Bass, Sean Thomas-Congressman Guinta, Matt Leahy-Senator Shaheen, and Simon Thompson-Senator Ayotte with community attendees at the New Hampshire 150th USDA Anniversary Observance.

The hosts – Carole Soule and Bruce Dawson graciously opened their farm as the perfect location for this event. After driving up a narrow road, we discovered a scurry of activity as guests were welcomed and directed to a field set up with tents, farmer market vendors, informational booths and people. Read more »

A USDA Deputy Under Secretary Helps a Rural Iowa Community Break Ground on a New Hospital

Late last month, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien visited Manning, Iowa, and participated in groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Manning Regional Healthcare Center. The new hospital, which will replace a facility that was built in 1927, is receiving a $21 million loan from USDA Rural Development.

“Rural residents must have access to the best available care, and this medical campus will provide decades of service to the residents of this region,” O’Brien said. “President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investments and resulted in stronger rural communities.”

When construction is completed, Manning Regional Healthcare Center’s new 17-bed critical access hospital will also include a physician clinic and recovery center that will provide substance abuse treatment services for up to16 patients in a partial residential setting. Read more »