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Conservation Benefits Mississippi Ranch & Improves Water Downstream

NRCS Supervisory District Conservationist Priscilla Williamson (left) worked with Charles McLaurin (right) to remove invasive grasses and install cross fencing, improving water quality downstream. NRCS photo.

NRCS Supervisory District Conservationist Priscilla Williamson (left) worked with Charles McLaurin (right) to remove invasive grasses and install cross fencing, improving water quality downstream. NRCS photo.

Raising hay and working the farm was once something extra for Charles McLaurin. After retiring after 35 years as a school teacher, he’s enjoying his new full-time job as a cattle rancher in Leake County, Miss., where he not only leads a healthy head of cattle but also serves as a steward of natural resources.

With the help of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), he is using conservation to improve his operations and help the environment, including the Pearl River and Gulf of Mexico, where the water from his farm eventually flows.

McLaurin qualified for financial assistance through StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity initiative as a beginning and limited resource rancher. The initiative addresses high-priority funding needs in rural communities in 16 states, including Mississippi. Read more »

Engaging the Next Generation with the Help of our Partners in Conservation

Texas Conservation Corps members building new trail in Texas in partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife.  Texas Conservation Corps is an AmeriCorps service program of American YouthWorks, a nationally recognized nonprofit and charter high school headquartered in Austin, Texas.  Each year the program engages over 100 diverse youth and college-aged young adults  in critical, hands-on conservation and disaster service projects, giving participants the skills and opportunities to solve real life community and environmental problems.

Texas Conservation Corps members building new trail in Texas in partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife. Texas Conservation Corps is an AmeriCorps service program of American YouthWorks, a nationally recognized nonprofit and charter high school headquartered in Austin, Texas. Each year the program engages over 100 diverse youth and college-aged young adults in critical, hands-on conservation and disaster service projects, giving participants the skills and opportunities to solve real life community and environmental problems.

When President Obama launched the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative in 2010, one of the top priorities included connecting our youth and veterans to our nation’s cultural and natural resources. President Obama wanted to foster a new generation of stewards to carry on our nation’s proud conservation legacy.

In that spirit, a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) was announced as a collaborative effort to put America’s youth and veterans to work protecting, restoring and enhancing America’s great outdoors. Through the 21CSC, young people and veterans will accomplish meaningful work, and gain important personal and professional skills while building a lifelong connection to the outdoors.

Today, we are announcing another step forward in our work to turn that vision into a reality. Read more »

Let’s Get Visual – a Peek Behind the Scenes of Our Infographics

 

An illustrated guide to spot markets, with insight into how store holiday ads can affect the sale of featured items and how retail stores meet consumer demand. Click to enlarge.

An illustrated guide to spot markets, with insight into how store holiday ads can affect the sale of featured items and how retail stores meet consumer demand. Click to enlarge.

Buying and selling, supply and demand, wholesale and retail—the market and all of the economic factors surrounding it are complex things to track and understand.  From the smallest farmer to the largest grocery store chain in the nation, all of American agriculture depends on the trends and prices within the marketplace.

At USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), we know the value of information and data.  For almost 100 years we’ve tracked pricing and market trend information in our USDA Market News reports, and now we’ve formed the Agricultural Analytics Division (AAD) to help further meet the informational and statistical needs of farmers and businesses across the country.

The AAD provides a wide range of econometric, statistical, and analytical expertise and services. From production numbers to prices and market trends, to international trade activities and environmental impact—they track it all. Read more »

Agricultural Coexistence: Fostering Collaboration and Communication

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has published a notice in the Federal Register asking the public to comment on how agricultural coexistence in the United States can be strengthened.  Comments are due by January 3, 2014.

U.S. farmers in the 21st Century engage in many forms of agriculture, including conventional, organic, identity-preserved, and genetically engineered (GE) crop production.  USDA is unequivocal in its supports for all these forms of agriculture.  We need all of them to meet our country’s collective needs for food security, energy production, carbon offsets and the economic sustainability of rural communities.  Our goal is to promote the coexistence of all these approaches through cooperation and science-based stewardship practices. Read more »

MyPlate Meals from the Garden

Looking for ways to brighten your meals? Stock up on goods from your local Farmers’ Market! Or try out your green thumb by growing your own food.

Gardening and agriculture go hand in hand with MyPlate. When planning a garden, start by thinking about foods that adapt well to the cool, fall season.  Many vegetables that are planted in the summer produce their best flavor when harvested in the fall such as broccoli and carrots.  This way you can focus on ingredients that are both flavorful and easy on your budget. Read more »

Forest Service Waives Fees in Celebration of Veterans Day Weekend

To All Who Have Served, Thank You. Veterans Day. November 11. (Illustration by Mary Jane Senter/ThinkStock and U.S. Forest Service photos)

To All Who Have Served, Thank You. Veterans Day. November 11. (Illustration by Mary Jane Senter/ThinkStock and U.S. Forest Service photos)

The U.S. Forest Service will offer a fee-free weekend for all visitors Nov. 9-11 in celebration of Veterans Day, the fourth time this year the agency has participated in the fee-free program.

The Forest Service, which does not charge users to enter national forests or grasslands, offers the incentive in cooperation with other federal agencies under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act.

Day-use fees will be waived at all standard amenity fee sites operated by the Forest Service. Concessionaire operated day-use sites may be included in the waiver if the permit holder wishes to participate. Read more »