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Endangered Mississippi Frog Finds a New Home

Pony Ranch Pond, a new home for the dusky gopher frog, is monitored by the National Forests in Mississippi and several cooperators. (Western Carolina University photo/ John A. Tupy)

Pony Ranch Pond, a new home for the dusky gopher frog, is monitored by the National Forests in Mississippi and several cooperators. (Western Carolina University photo/ John A. Tupy)

To most people, the sound heard near Pony Ranch Pond could easily be mistaken as snoring. To local conservation professionals, however, it was more like a song, signifying hope and celebrating a small victory for the nearly extinct dusky gopher frog.

In February, National Forests in Mississippi staff, researchers and volunteers discovered and documented six dusky gopher frogs at the De Soto National Forest pond. One frog, a 5-year-old female, had travelled nearly a mile from nearby Glen’s Pond – until then the only known site where the endangered amphibians live and breed. Read more »

ARS Ag Research Counts!

To recognize the contribution that research in agriculture makes in our daily lives, we’re focusing this month’s Science Tuesday blogs on the successes that USDA science agencies have achieved for us all.

If you walk through your home, you’ll see USDA science everywhere. The research we do can be found in many products that you’ve probably never realized.  So, we’re highlighting some of our greatest research achievements because “Ag Research Counts” every day, for every American. In the upcoming days, we’ll feature a trivia contest on Facebook with fun facts from past ‘Science Tuesday’ blogs we’re featuring this month. You can also join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #agresearchcounts. Here are this week’s blogs featuring ARS research that impacts each of us every day: Read more »

A USDA Business Loan Guarantee Helps a North Carolina Company Compete and Hire More Workers

From left to right, Jay Risinger, VantageSouth Bank; Michael Drozd, President and CEO, Wright Foods; Lillian Salerno, Acting Administrator, USDA Rural Development Business-Cooperative Service, USDA Rural Development; Brad Neigel, VantageSouth Bank; Heidi Whitesell, VantageSouth Bank; and David Thigpen, USDA Rural Development. A USDA loan guarantee helped Wright Foods in North Carolina expand, creating 80 jobs. (USDA photo)

From left to right, Jay Risinger, VantageSouth Bank; Michael Drozd, President and CEO, Wright Foods; Lillian Salerno, Acting Administrator, USDA Rural Development Business-Cooperative Service, USDA Rural Development; Brad Neigel, VantageSouth Bank; Heidi Whitesell, VantageSouth Bank; and David Thigpen, USDA Rural Development. A USDA loan guarantee helped Wright Foods in North Carolina expand, creating 80 jobs. (USDA photo)

During these difficult economic times we know that one of the best ways to help aid in the recovery process is to assist businesses that create jobs, and spur growth. In Troy, North Carolina, USDA Rural Development had the opportunity to highlight our successful efforts with a local company Aseptia/Wright Foods.

Lillian Salerno, Acting Administrator for USDA’s Rural Business and Cooperative programs, visited the local business.  Under USDA Rural Development, USDA guaranteed a $5.5 million loan last year for Aseptia to purchase a building, equipment and make building improvements for their first commercial-scale manufacturing facility. Read more »

Looking for a Mother’s Day Gift? Take Her into the Woods

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and most of us have yet to find that “perfect” gift for mom. But don’t panic. Let the U.S. Forest Service help out.

You read that right. The Forest Service wants you to give mom the gift of nature in all its innate perfection. And all you need to do is take her to your nearest national forest or grasslands.

For instance, if you live in Washington State, the Olympic National Forest, with its dramatic mountain range, conjures up images of the European Alps. The beauty doesn’t end there, though. The Olympics’ varied landscape includes lush rain forests, deep canyons, high mountain ridges and ocean beaches. Taking mom on a drive through this incomparable backdrop would be a scenic tour to brighten her day. Read more »

Oregon School Children, USDA “Energize” Earth Day

At the USDA Earth Day outdoor classroom in Boardman, Oregon, last month,  USDA program technician Renee Robinson tests the children on what they’ve learned about saving energy at home. USDA photo.

At the USDA Earth Day outdoor classroom in Boardman, Oregon, last month, USDA program technician Renee Robinson tests the children on what they’ve learned about saving energy at home. USDA photo.

Last month, USDA Rural Development employees and several partner organizations donated their Saturday to celebrate Earth Day with elementary and middle school-aged children at the Castle Rock farm worker housing complex in Boardman, Oregon.

Volunteers from Energy Trust of Oregon, CASA of Oregon, Sustainable Agriculture and Energy (SAGE) Center, Wind Turbine Industries Corporation, and Kardon Construction joined USDA to lead a variety of interactive educational activities about energy conservation and renewable energy alternatives. Read more »

Full Speed Ahead for Open Ag Data

Participants in the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture, including US Chief Technology Todd Park, listen to opening remarks by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Apr. 29, 2013. (USDA photo by Bob Nichols).

Participants in the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture, including US Chief Technology Todd Park, listen to opening remarks by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Apr. 29, 2013. (USDA photo by Bob Nichols).

Cross posted from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy blog:

Last week, hundreds of innovators gathered at the World Bank IFC Center to brainstorm about how Open Data can be harnessed to help meet the challenge of sustainably feeding nine billion people by 2050.  The group included delegates from the G-8 group of nations, US Government officials, private sector partners, Open Data advocates, technology experts, and nonprofit leaders – all participants in the first-of-its-kind G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture. Read more »