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In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Katy Coba

Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba in a store

Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba has a deep appreciation for the hard work Oregon’s farmers and ranchers do every day.

This week, USDA Deputy Secretary Harden begins her next generation of agriculture tour where she will visit with young leaders across the country to discuss the future of agriculture. Many groups, including women, veterans, minorities and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, are shaping an agricultural future that is looking to be more diverse than ever before and we want to share their stories. Every day this week, we will be sharing a story from a woman in agriculture that represents the past, present and future of our industry.

Today, we feature Katy Coba, Director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Katy was raised on her family’s wheat ranch in Eastern Oregon. She has a deep appreciation for the land and the hard work Oregon’s farmers and ranchers do every day. Katy has a long career in state government and shares her perspective on the current and future landscape of American agriculture (and how not to be left behind on a trade mission). Read more »

NRCS Volunteers Gain Experience and Help Further Conservation Efforts

Morgan Boggs, NRCS Earth Team volunteer in Browning, Montana

Morgan Boggs, NRCS Earth Team volunteer in Browning, Montana. Photo credit: NRCS Montana.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Indian Nations Conservation Alliance (INCA) have partnered in a pilot project to provide new opportunities for Native American high school students across the west.

Morgan Boggs, a high school senior in Browning, Montana, was one of three Montana high school seniors selected by INCA. Through this pilot program, students sign up as NRCS Earth Team volunteers to work side-by-side with NRCS professionals. This on-the-job training increases the students’ qualifications for the USDA Pathways Internship Program, which employs college students working toward a degree in natural resources. Read more »

New #WomenInAg Infographics Show Impact of Women in Agriculture in Every State

WomenInAg infographic

New USDA #womeninag infographics showcase the impact women have on agriculture in each state and across the country. (Click to enlarge)

From the classroom to the farm to the boardroom, women in agriculture are helping to pave the way for a better future. As leaders, it is our responsibility to make sure the next generation of women are educated, encouraged and empowered to take on the challenges of meeting the world’s growing food, fuel and fiber needs. To celebrate and honor the contributions of women in agriculture, USDA is releasing a series of state-by-state infographics detailing the impact women have on agriculture in each state and across the country. Be sure to share these infographics on social media or print them to help tell the story of women in ag in your state!

Over the past few months, we’ve also been featuring the powerful stories of women in agriculture on the USDA blog. By following the #womeninag tag on the USDA blog, you can read first-person accounts from women like Carissa Koopmann Rivers, a fifth generation cow/calf rancher from Sunol, California, Casey Cox, the Executive Director of the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District, and Dr. Jewel Hairston, the Dean of the College of Agriculture at Virginia State University. Read more »

Maryland Dairy Farmers Work to Improve the Health of Estuaries

Dairy farmers Matt and Debbie Hoff with their daughters Courtney, Brook and Alicia

Dairy farmers Matt and Debbie Hoff with their daughters Courtney, Brook and Alicia. Photo credit: Genevieve Lister.

Producing high quality, nutritious milk may be a top priority for Coldsprings Farm, but it is not the farm’s only accomplishment. Nestled between the rolling acres and lush green meadows of New Windsor, Maryland, lies a showcase of a dairy farm where owners Matt and Debbie Hoff are working with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to reduce runoff of nutrients and sediment, leading to cleaner water downstream.

This is especially important, as Coldsprings Farm sits amid the Monocacy watershed, which eventually flows into the Chesapeake Bay. Read more »

Taking Broadband to the Next Level

A technician installing cables at Pine Net Telephone and internet stations

A technician installs cables at Pine Net Telephone and internet stations. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

Getting broadband to unserved rural areas is one of the toughest challenges we face. It’s far easier to make a business case to serve 500 people per square mile than it is where there are only five people per square mile. Broadband is expensive to deploy through hundreds of miles of countryside, including mountains, canyons, forests and deserts. But that’s our challenge.

The Broadband Opportunity Council report the White House released today lays the groundwork to build on the tremendous success of deploying broadband under the Recovery Act, which helped USDA and the Commerce Department expand essential broadband service nationwide. Yet even with this historical investment, we have much more to do. Read more »

It’s Autumn in America

Trees in front of hills

With the Yonder app you can post pictures in real time.

One of the greatest natural events in the world is starting to change — change colors that is. The brilliant colors on the leaves of millions of trees are about to make you look up in awe and the U.S. Forest Service wants folks to get outside and experience it this Fall.

This year the Forest Service’s 2015 Fall Colors webpage has something unique to help those wanting to visit our national forests and grasslands experience the grace and glory of autumn just about everywhere in America. It’s a downloadable app called Yonder and it’s designed for sharing outdoors experiences on your smart phone for all the world to see. Read more »