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AgrAbility Helps Keep Farmers, Ranchers with Disabilities On the Job

Mark Hosier, paralyzed from the waist down, uses a mechanical lift to board his tractor. Hosier works with the NIFA-funded AgrAbility Program to overcome disabilities and continue working as an agricultural producer.  Photo courtesy of National Swine Registry/Seedstock EDGE.

Mark Hosier, paralyzed from the waist down, uses a mechanical lift to board his tractor. Hosier works with the NIFA-funded AgrAbility Program to overcome disabilities and continue working as an agricultural producer. Photo courtesy of National Swine Registry/Seedstock EDGE.

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 profile.

Although Mark Hosier was told he’d never walk again, the Indiana farmer is running a 500-acre farm and 10-sow showpig business entirely on his own.  Injured in 2006 when a 2,000-pound hay bale rolled off his tractor on top of him and crushed two vertebrae, Hosier thought he wouldn’t be able to continue farming.  Today, he operates his tractor with the help of a mechanical lift; modifications to his facilities allow him to care for his hogs from a wheelchair. Read more »

A Landscape View of Rural Economic Revitalization

Even in the most remote corners of America's countryside, USDA leaves a gentle, but lasting footprint as a champion of locally led, place-based rural economic and community development. You just have to know what you're looking for. USDA photo.

Even in the most remote corners of America's countryside, USDA leaves a gentle, but lasting footprint as a champion of locally led, place-based rural economic and community development. You just have to know what you're looking for. USDA photo.

Have you ever been on vacation, but just couldn’t get away from your work?  Me too.  It seems everywhere I look I see the footprint of USDA Rural Development and its ties to rural revitalization. Because I love my job and the good work USDA is doing, I am thrilled each and every time I see the results of this collaborative work to stimulate economies, modernize infrastructure, and enhance the quality of life in rural America. Read more »

Snowshoe Race supports New Mexico Forest’s Trails

Can you picture yourself running in a 5K race on a crisp winter morning at the top of a 10,678-foot, snow-covered peak in snowshoes? That’s what approximately 150 adventurous people did when they competed in the 11th annual Sandia Snowshoe Race on Jan. 19, 2013.

The race is sponsored by the Friends of the Sandia Mountains, with proceeds supporting the preservation and maintenance of the trails and picnic areas on the Cibola National Forest and Grasslands‘ Sandia Ranger District in Tijeras, N.M.

The Sandia is a compact district of around 100,000 acres that includes the 37,200-acre Sandia Mountain Wilderness just east of Albuquerque. Because of its proximity to a metropolitan area, more than 1 million people visit the district each year. Visitors come for a variety of recreational activities – hiking, mountain biking, picnicking, rock climbing and horseback riding. In the winter, weather permitting, there’s cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Read more »

USDA Funding Brings Clean Water, Sanitation, Into the Rural Village Homes of Alaska Natives

The thought of having to hand-carry a honey bucket, (a five gallon pail filled with human waste) out of your house and dump it to an outdoor common collection container in winter temperatures that drop to -55 °F, is an unpleasant scenario. For some residents in the community of Lower Kalskag, and other rural Alaskan communities, this is a reality.  They have no indoor plumbing, and no indoor hot or cold running water.

The community of Lower Kalskag, Alaska, is remotely located 350 miles west of Anchorage in a persistent poverty area. This small, predominantly Alaska Native community has a population of around 280 and roughly fifty percent of its homes still lack adequate sanitation systems. The lack of sanitation services is a dire health and safety issue faced daily by a number of rural Alaska residents. Read more »

Kentucky Wetland Restoration Attracts Endangered Cranes

Scott County Indiana Muscatatuck River Bottoms, March 5-2007. Photo credit Mark Trabue.

Scott County Indiana Muscatatuck River Bottoms, March 5-2007. Photo credit Mark Trabue.

A wetland restoration project completed by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Kentucky has attracted the fancy of a pair of endangered whooping cranes.

In early November, a pair of whooping cranes were discovered on a property in western Kentucky that was recently restoredwith NRCS’ help. The restoration to bottomland hardwood wetlands included tree planting and the creation of shallow water areas for migratory wildlife on nearly 900 acres of former cropland that was put into a conservation easement. Read more »

Under Secretary Says Renewable Fuels Help Build a Stronger Rural Economy and a More Secure Energy Future

Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager describes Secretary Vilsack’s “All of the Above” energy strategy during the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit. USDA photo.

Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager describes Secretary Vilsack’s “All of the Above” energy strategy during the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit. USDA photo.

A mid-winter snow storm did not stop more than 200 participants from attending the 7th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit and Trade Show held January 30th in Des Moines.

During Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager’s presentation it was clear that everyone in attendance was extremely focused on helping identify ways the renewable fuels industry can continue to create economic opportunities in rural America. At the summit Mr. Tonsager also had the opportunity to hear Tom Buis with Growth Energy give a detailed overview of the ethanol industry and its many positive impacts throughout our country. Read more »