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Looking Back but Moving Forward, USDA Issues the Annual 2012 Rural Development Progress Report

A new year means a new outlook, a fresh beginning and an opportunity to make the new year better than the last. Here at USDA we are gearing up for all that 2013 has to offer. As we prepare for what may lie ahead, let’s take a look at some of USDA Rural Development’s most memorable accomplishments of 2012.

Check out what made our “Top 8 Accomplishments List”; Read more »

Jobs for Young Adults in the US Forest Service are Waiting

California Conservation Corps workers perform hazardous fuels thinning and are also building stream crossings, drainage structures and other trail stabilizing features to protect trails. The work also corrects existing and potential resource damage from erosion and sedimentation on existing trails.

California Conservation Corps workers perform hazardous fuels thinning and are also building stream crossings, drainage structures and other trail stabilizing features to protect trails. The work also corrects existing and potential resource damage from erosion and sedimentation on existing trails.

The Obama Administration has announced the formation of a national council to guide full implementation of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps – a national collaborative effort to put America’s youth to work protecting, restoring, and enhancing America’s great outdoors.

Thousands of temporary seasonal jobs with the Forest Service and its partners are available this summer and officials say now is the time to begin the application process.

Annually, the Forest Service and its conservation partners hire over 3,000 people for summer positions that involve work such as reducing the impacts of climate change on the nation’s natural resources, empowering Native American communities, building trails, enhancing wildlife habitat, and improving and restoring cultural and historic landmarks. Read more »

Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design Seeks Proposals for Rural Communities Facing Design Challenges

Today, the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) is issuing a request for proposals to rural communities facing design challenges to host local workshops in 2013.

Successful applicants will receive a $7,000 grant and in-kind design expertise and technical assistance valued at $35,000. The Request for Proposals is on the new CIRD website: www.rural-design.org.

CIRD (formerly known as “Your Town”) works to help rural communities with populations of 50,000 or fewer enhance their quality of life and economic vitality through facilitated design workshops. The program brings together local leaders, non-profits, and community organizations with a team of specialists in design, planning, and creative place making to address challenges like strengthening economies, enhancing rural character, leveraging cultural assets, and designing efficient housing and transportation systems. Read more »

USDA Plans to ‘Turbo-Charge’ Telework Week 2013!

Last year USDA had 7,516 employees, Department-wide,  who pledged to Telework during Telework Week 2012, which resulted in more than $1 million saved in commuting costs alone.   Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration,  Oscar Gonzales, acknowledges  “USDA has high goals for widespread Telework adoption and this initiative gave many employees from smaller agencies and sub-organizations the opportunity to Telework, even if they do not regularly do so.  We pledge to once again support Telework Week and hope to increase our participation this year.”

As we count down to participate in Telework Week 2013, scheduled to take place March 4-8, 2013, now is the time to begin talking to your leadership and co-workers about your level of participation.  Eligible employees are encouraged to participate up to the entire week, and the goal is to increase the amount of Telework time you normally are accustomed to.  What better way to use this opportunity as an effective Continuity of Operations (COOP) Telework Drill for your workgroup!  Both employees and USDA alike will share in the benefits and savings of participating in a successful Telework Week at USDA. Read more »

NRCS Snow Surveyor Collects Vital Water Data, Lives Dream Job

Snow surveyors approach SNOTEL site on Mount Hood.

Snow surveyors approach SNOTEL site on Mount Hood.

Koeberle’s job carries her over mountains by helicopter and horse, snowshoes and skis. She has encountered grizzly bears, avalanches and wolves and visited ridges that few people have seen.

Koeberle is a hydrologist and snow surveyor for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and works on the agency’s snow survey team—a group of specially trained scientists who maintain snow gauges that are important to farmers, business owners and many other people in the West. Read more »