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10 Years Later, a Shelterbelt Proves to Be a Wise Investment

Ken Mouw created a shelterbelt 10 years ago on his Elk Point, S.D. as a way to fortify his farm against the harsh winter winds.

Ken Mouw created a shelterbelt 10 years ago on his Elk Point, S.D. as a way to fortify his farm against the harsh winter winds.

South Dakota’s harsh winters can be tough on a farm or ranch, and conservation improvements like a shelterbelt can help shield buildings, crops and livestock from the wind and snow. Ken Mouw, a CEO-turned-farmer, has used a shelterbelt—a band of trees and shrubs—to protect his Elk Point, S.D. farm against rough weather over the past 10 years.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Union County Conservation District helped Mouw design the shelterbelt, consisting of trees and shrubs of different heights and densities that all work together to protect from the northern and western winds, keeping snow from collecting in his driveway during a snow storm. Read more »

Livestock Statistician Knows Data Matter to Many

2013 is the International Year of Statistics. As part of this global event, every month this year USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will profile careers of individuals who are making significant contributions to improve agricultural statistics in the United States.

Growing up on a small general crop and livestock farm in central Minnesota cultivated my enthusiasm for agriculture. Even then I knew I wanted to do something related to agriculture but I also knew the value of getting a good education. I attended the University of Minnesota to earn my undergraduate degree, after which I earned a Master of Science degree at North Dakota State University.

College provided me with skills in mathematics and agriculture but like most college graduates, no job. This is where the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) came into the picture. I joined the agency’s North Dakota field office as an agricultural statistician, allowing me to keep in touch with agriculture. Next I worked in the Idaho field office and then on to Washington, D.C. where I worked in both crops and livestock areas, finally settling into my current position as Chief of the Livestock Branch in 2001. Read more »