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Online Systems Keeps U.S. Ag Exporters Abreast of Regulations in Foreign Markets

The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) recently launched an online system that modernizes the way the agency informs the U.S. agricultural industry regarding changes in international food and agriculture regulations that could affect U.S. exports.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) requires member countries to submit notifications regarding proposed changes to their food regulations, enabling other countries to review and comment on the proposals. The new FAS data management system will help U.S. exporters and other stakeholders to more effectively monitor, evaluate and comment on the measures, keep track of comment deadlines and locate archived information. Read more »

New API Helps Satisfy the Nation’s App-etite for Farmers Markets

A farmer’s market patron enjoys orange samples and talks to the booth vendor at a San Francisco area market. The new Farmers Market API released by AMS will give app developers and designers an easier way to leverage the wealth of information in USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory. Photo by Gary Yost.

A farmer’s market patron enjoys orange samples and talks to the booth vendor at a San Francisco area market. The new Farmers Market API released by AMS will give app developers and designers an easier way to leverage the wealth of information in USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory. Photo by Gary Yost.

America is developing quite an app-etite. The number of U.S. smartphone owners is approaching 130 million, resulting in more and more demand for mobile access to our information. Combine that with the increase in consumers wanting access to fresh, local products, and it’s obvious why there’s such a high demand for the data in USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory. Read more »

The New Green British Invasion

The U.S. Forest Service Green Team wants you to know that Green Office Week has arrived from across the Atlantic.

The first Green Office Week was launched in 2009 in Great Britain in response to research showing that United Kingdom employees felt they were being held back from being environmentally friendly at work because of a lack of empowerment and facilities. Read more »

USDA Helps a Utah Town Earn a “Most Improved Water System” Award

Sigurd, Utah, located on the border of Fishlake National Forest, is a town of 435 and varying elevations. The highs and lows of Sigurd’s landscape make it a beautiful place to live, but with an outdated water system, the location caused problems for the residents. For years, the town coped with a small water tank, outdated pipes, and inconsistent water pressure. Most of the system had not been upgraded since its initial construction and each time the pipes broke, a majority of the town was cut off from the water supply until maintenance crews could fix the problem. Read more »

Have Crop Questions? NASS has Answers!

The current vegetation index across the United States. NASS uses satellite images like these to look at weekly crop progress.

The current vegetation index across the United States. NASS uses satellite images like these to look at weekly crop progress.

When it comes to growing crops, weather is a constantly changing variable. These past few years, grain farmers have been on a veritable weather roller coaster. The floods of 2011 were followed by perfect spring planting conditions in 2012. Conditions deteriorated rapidly, resulting in one of the worst droughts in at least 25 years. This year, the weather has thrown yet another knuckleball at farmers, idling field work and reducing plantings to the slowest pace since 1984 in many areas. Read more »

Colorado StrikeForce Meeting Draws a Crowd

May 2nd dawned a majestic spring day in the Rocky Mountains of southwestern Colorado as rural and tribal stakeholders from the Four Corners region descended upon the San Juan National Forest Headquarters to learn more about USDA’s StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity Initiative. Participants traveled from New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and the east coast to discuss strategies to help USDA deliver its programs more successfully in persistently poor rural areas. Read more »