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A Movement That Began In 2009 Spread In 2010

It’s a movement that began in 2009 with a jackhammer and the desire to transform the land surrounding USDA Headquarters into a healthier, more sustainable landscape. Immediately support for such an effort poured in and the first People’s Garden was built here in Washington, DC. A few months’ later employees outside the Capital Beltway received a challenge from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack encouraging them to be involved in these efforts and create similar gardens at their USDA facility or within the community where they work. A movement that started with one garden was about to spread its roots and it did just that in 2010. Read more »

Smokejumpers as “Beetle Busters”

USDA Forest Service Smokejumpers are trained to climb trees in case they, or their supplies, land in them.  When Smokejumpers aren’t fighting wildfires, the USDA Forest Service calls on them to use their tree climbing skills to complete a variety of natural resource management projects, such as harvesting pine cones and constructing owl nesting boxes.

USDA Forest Service Smokejumpers are trained to climb trees in case they, or their supplies, land in them. When Smokejumpers aren’t fighting wildfires, the USDA Forest Service calls on them to use their tree climbing skills to complete a variety of natural resource management projects, such as harvesting pine cones and constructing owl nesting boxes.

While many USDA Forest Service employees spend their summers working as Smokejumpers fighting wildfires in the west, they in turn spend their falls in the east working as Beetle Busters, helping the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) combat the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). Read more »

2011 Ag Outlook Forum Renewable Energy Sessions

USDA’s 2011 Agricultural Outlook Forum, Feb. 24-25, will present 25 breakout sessions, including two on energy: “Renewable Energy Policy Perspectives” and “Renewable Energy: Next Steps.”

The first session is policy oriented and will present an overview of existing policy such as implementation of the RFS2 and related issues such as the E15 and meeting future mandates.  The second speaker will focus on climate change and carbon sequestration related to the growth in renewable energy. A third speaker will discuss future directions, particularly the next farm bill and pending energy legislation. The speakers include: Paul N. Argyropoulos, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Transportation & Air Quality, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency;   Bill Hohenstein, Director, Office of Global Climate Change, OCE, USDA; and Jerry Hagstrom of The Hagstrom Report. Harry Baumes, Director, OEPNU, OCE, USDA, will moderate the session.  Read more »

Looking Back on USDA’s Recovery Efforts in Haiti

Team in field (L-R): Emmanuel Prophete, MARNDR; Emily Spiegel, FAS; Jimmy Moore, NRCS; Denise Hann, Forest Service; and Mike McGahuey, FAS assigned to USAID.

Team in field (L-R): Emmanuel Prophete, MARNDR; Emily Spiegel, FAS; Jimmy Moore, NRCS; Denise Hann, Forest Service; and Mike McGahuey, FAS assigned to USAID.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti. The earthquake devastated the already fragile and poor country, killing more than 300,000 people, and brought economic activities to a standstill leaving the capital of Port au Prince in a condition that is almost unfathomable to most Americans. In the aftermath of the disaster, the focus on the U.S. government gradually switched from response to recovery. Read more »

Philipsburg, PA Residents Enjoy Downtown Library

The Children’s Library at the New Holt Memorial Library

The Children’s Library at the New Holt Memorial Library

Glowing smiles from the residents of Philipsburg, PA adorned the scene of a ribbon cutting ceremony marking the grand opening of the new downtown location of the Holt Memorial Library on a blustery evening in January. Through $261,500 in loans and $213,500 in grants from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act delivered through USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program, the Holt Memorial Library finally has a home to call its own. Read more »

New Geospatial Data Service Now Available

The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) proudly serves as the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. What some may not realize is that NASS provides statistical information in a variety of formats beyond the traditional paper report, which dates back more than a century.

Just yesterday, NASS launched a new geospatial data service called CropScape. Operated by my team in NASS’s Research and Development Division, CropScape significantly eases users’ access to agricultural geospatial satellite products. By applying the best practices in science and technology, this service links space and agriculture. Read more »