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You’re Invited: Secretary Vilsack Hosts Google+ Hangout on StrikeForce Opportunities

On Monday, Jun. 17, 2013, you are invited to join Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as he sits down to his very first Google+ Hangout to discuss opportunities available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity.

On Monday, Jun. 17, 2013, you are invited to join Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as he sits down to his very first Google+ Hangout to discuss opportunities available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity.

Are you a community-based organization or farmer in a rural community that faces persistent poverty, or just someone who wants to improve life in Rural America? Do you have questions on how you can partner with USDA to take advantage of community resources and promote economic development in your community?

On Monday, June 17, you are invited to join Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as he sits down to his very first Google+ Hangout to discuss opportunities available through USDA’s StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity. The Secretary will discuss USDA’s work to date and how YOUR community can get involved. We’ve assembled a panel of experts with different perspectives to help provide guidance and best practices for partnering with USDA – whether you want to apply for programs and services, or want to help communities and individuals benefit from available assistance. Read more »

Adapting to Climate Change and Drought Risk

Some regions of the United States seem to experience drought more often and more severely. Farmers in more drought-prone regions are adapting to their higher exposure. Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Some regions of the United States seem to experience drought more often and more severely. Farmers in more drought-prone regions are adapting to their higher exposure. Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Economists working on climate change spend a lot of time trying to predict how farmers are going to adapt.  Without knowing how farmers will react to higher average temperatures or different rainfall patterns, we cannot accurately say what climate change will mean for the future.  Farmers have many adaptation options available.  They can change the mix of crops they grow, as well as their production practices, and production might be redistributed across regions. The Economic Research Service (ERS) has looked at potential impacts including how some regions will be impacted through commodity price changes resulting from climate-driven crop acreage changes farmers make in other regions. Read more »

Water Quality Trading in the Chesapeake Bay: Partnerships for Success

Water quality improvements in the Chesapeake Bay benefit the many species of wildlife that call it home. Photos by Tim McCabe, NRCS Maryland.

Water quality improvements in the Chesapeake Bay benefit the many species of wildlife that call it home. Photos by Tim McCabe, NRCS Maryland.

The Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the largest estuary in North America, covers 64,000 square miles and includes more than 150 rivers and streams that drain into the bay. Roughly one quarter of the land in the watershed is used for agricultural production, and agricultural practices can affect the health of those rivers and streams, and ultimately the bay itself.

While the health of the Chesapeake Bay has improved since the 1970s, excess nutrients and sediment continue to adversely affect water quality in local rivers and streams, which contributes to impaired water quality in the bay. Read more »