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Moving Harper’s Beauty Off Road

Harper’s beauty is a perennial lily with a solitary yellow flower and iris-like leaves and is listed as federally endangered (U.S. Forest Service photo)

Harper’s beauty is a perennial lily with a solitary yellow flower and iris-like leaves and is listed as federally endangered (U.S. Forest Service photo)

The first week of March found a team of plant biologists down on their knees in a highway right-of-way in the Florida Panhandle searching for Harper’s beauty, one of Florida’s rarest native plants. Read more »

NRCS Recovery Act Project Helps Provide New Starts for Residents

For more than 45 years, people who lived in West Virginia’s Dunloup Creek Watershed have dealt with floods. That’s because there’s a scarcity of flat land in the area and residents have had to settle mostly along the creek—the very area that floods during storms.

Two major floods in 2001 and 2004 devastated five low-income communities spread out across two counties in the watershed. The floods destroyed houses, ate away at the stream bank, polluted drinking water and washed away utilities. Damages totaled millions of dollars.

Because of the mountainous terrain and far-flung population, traditional flood control measures like dams, channels, floodwalls, dredging and flood proofing were not feasible. Yet many residents were trapped into living in their damaged homes, unable to move out because of perilous financial circumstances. Read more »

A Future Where School Cafeterias are Overflowing with Local Fare

Taking action in Ohio for healthy kids.

Taking action in Ohio for healthy kids. Photo credit: Joe Barbaree

I was recently invited to give a presentation at the 2nd annual Ohio Farm to School Conference. Conference organizers asked me to address the future of farm to school: where did we want to be in ten years?

By chance I’d asked a similar question of colleagues at Portland Public Schools a decade earlier. At the time, we were just starting to incorporate more local and regional products into the cafeteria and we thought a creative writing exercise would help us crystallize our goals and focus our work. Read more »

Mobile Apps Help Dairy Farmers Compute Costs and be Environmentally Friendly

Penn State University (PSU) Extension released a mobile app, “DairyCents,” for dairy farmers to easily calculate their income over feed cost. The app also allows farmers to compare their feed costs with the costs paid by others.

Penn State University (PSU) Extension released a mobile app, “DairyCents,” for dairy farmers to easily calculate their income over feed cost. The app also allows farmers to compare their feed costs with the costs paid by others.

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.

It’s a digital world – and agriculture is no exception. More and more, farmers and ranchers are moving away from traditional methods of getting their news and information. Mobile devices are convenient, budget-friendly ways for farmers and ranchers to stay up-to-date on a variety of agricultural issues. Read more »

A Day in Your Life with Invasive Species

Mexican fruit flies on citrus fruit: Jack Dykinga, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

Mexican fruit flies on citrus fruit: Jack Dykinga, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

USDA has proclaimed April to be Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month, so this is the perfect time to consider how invasive species can crawl, swarm or ooze their way into your daily life.  The fact is, invasive pests and diseases hunger for many of the same things we enjoy each day.  And as they feast on America’s agricultural and natural resources, they can devastate crops and forests, throw ecosystems out of balance and lead to lost jobs and closed export markets. Read more »

Open Data for Agriculture Meeting Focuses on Global Food Security

Later this month, Secretary Vilsack will lead the U.S. Delegation to the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture held in Washington, DC. The conference will bring together innovators from all over the world to discuss the importance of open agricultural data to increased food security across the globe, as well as in opening doors for public/private partnerships and economic growth.   Below, Marshall Matz, former Counsel to the Senate Agriculture Committee and founder of Friends of the World Food Program details some of the goals of this year’s conference and his vision for ag data’s role in a more food secure world. Read more »