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Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 9/26/12

U.S Winter Wheat Progress - Percent Planted as of September 23, 2012

U.S Winter Wheat Progress - Percent Planted as of September 23, 2012

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

Based on data since 1995, U.S. corn and soybean harvests are proceeding at a record pace.  By September 23, more than one-third (39%) of the corn had been harvested, three times the five-year average of 13%.  During the preceding 17 years, the record amount of U.S. corn harvested by September 23 had been 24% in 2000.  Similarly, more than one-fifth (22%) of the soybeans had been harvested by September 23.  Prior to this year, the record-setting soybean harvest pace by September 23 had been 18% in 2000. Read more »

Thurgood Marshall College Fund Students Gain Experience with APHIS Wildlife Services

Thurgood Marshall College Fund interns Joseph Williams (left) and Aaron Thomas.

Thurgood Marshall College Fund interns Joseph Williams (left) and Aaron Thomas.

For Joseph Williams and Aaron Thomas, the experience couldn’t have been better.

“I’m from Tuskegee University in Alabama, and I never thought I’d experience all four seasons in one day,” notes Aaron, a student intern with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) program. Read more »

US Forest Service Uses Old Land Deeds to See Forests of Long Ago

Trees on historic survey maps were used to determine property lines (photo credit: Melissa Thomas-Van Gundy, U.S. Forest Service)

Trees on historic survey maps were used to determine property lines (photo credit: Melissa Thomas-Van Gundy, U.S. Forest Service)

Forest restoration would be a lot easier if people who lived a couple of centuries ago could just tell us about the forest as they knew it.

For Melissa Thomas-Van Gundy, a U.S. Forest Service scientist, using original land deeds from colonial America is as close as you can get to actually being there. Based in Parsons, W.Va., Thomas-Van Gundy is using a unique digitized dataset built with original land deeds to determine what a West Virginia forest looked like before European settlement. Read more »

AMS Dairy Program’s Virtual Intern Program Recognized as a “Bright Idea”

AMS Dairy Virtual Intern Program Team Lead Dora Flores communicates with virtual intern Daman Wandke.  The team was one of 111 programs honored with a 2012 Harvard University Bright Ideas initiative award.

AMS Dairy Virtual Intern Program Team Leads Sarah Buikema and Dora Flores communicate with their student interns. The program allows interns to work with the agency on a part-time basis as they continue their education at schools all across the country.

I am pleased to say that our Dairy Programs’ Virtual Intern Program (VIP) was recently honored by Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Our team was among 111 programs honored by the school’s Bright Ideas initiative.  The initiative, part of the Innovations in American Government Awards program, promotes creative government ventures and partnerships while creating an online community where innovative ideas can be proposed, shared and disseminated. Read more »

USDA, Other Federal Partners, Meet with Tribal Leaders at Alaska’s Capital

Last month, representatives of several federal agencies held a meeting with the federally recognized tribes in Southeast Alaska. The meeting, in Alaska’s capital city of Juneau, was the fifth in a series of government-to-government Tribal Collaboration Meetings scheduled with tribes in Alaska. The venue for the meeting between federal officials and tribal leaders was the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska Vocational Training and Resource Center.

Tribal representatives and other partners from the region used the session to discuss issues affecting their villages. Leaders from USDA Rural Development, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, Small Business Administration, Housing and Urban Development, the Economic Development Administration (EDA), and Intertribal Agriculture Council were on hand to listen and participate in the dialogue. Read more »