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Growers’ Input Shapes 2013 Growing Season

A statistician’s work is never done.   Just as we are starting to wrap up data collection for the 2012 Census of Agriculture, interviewers representing the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) are already visiting thousands of farmers across the United States to find out their 2013 planting intentions.

While all of our surveys are important in their own right, the March Agricultural Survey stands out.  For those not familiar with our reports, the Prospective Plantings is one of the most anticipated publications of the year.   Commodity traders around the world wait for this report to give them an early indication of the upcoming year’s U.S. crop production.  As a result, the information that producers report to NASS can impact business decisions of input providers, farmers, agricultural lenders and others, as well as commodity prices. Read more »

Bad Bed Bugs

The penny in this photo provides a sense of scale to the size of bed bug skins collected for analysis by ARS scientists in Beltsville, Maryland.

The penny in this photo provides a sense of scale to the size of bed bug skins collected for analysis by ARS scientists in Beltsville, Maryland.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research profile.

Most likely you’ve heard the old saying about “sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite.” The “sleep tight” part relates to old-fashioned beds in which the bedding was suspended on cords pulled tight to provide a firmer sleeping surface, but you probably don’t need any extra explanation for “don’t let the bed bugs bite”! Read more »

North Carolina USDA Staff Reaches Out to Stakeholders on Job Creation Efforts

Bruce Pleasant, USDA Rural Development Business & Cooperative Program Director, facilitates the “Rural Job Maker Initiative Roundtable” held recently in Raleigh, North Carolina with more than 35 community and business stakeholders and revolving loan providers. USDA photo.

Bruce Pleasant, USDA Rural Development Business & Cooperative Program Director, facilitates the “Rural Job Maker Initiative Roundtable” held recently in Raleigh, North Carolina with more than 35 community and business stakeholders and revolving loan providers. USDA photo.

Earlier this month, USDA Rural Development staff, Intermediary Relending providers and partners held a Rural Job Maker Initiative Roundtable at the Rural Development State Office in Raleigh, North Carolina. Read more »

One Guy’s Summer Jobs Experience with the Forest Service

Amy Merrit of Oso, Wash., and Kim Woodward of Darrington, Wash., work on maintaining the Pacific Crest Trail on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

Amy Merrit of Oso, Wash., and Kim Woodward of Darrington, Wash., work on maintaining the Pacific Crest Trail on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

If you’re a student who likes fresh air, scenic vistas, hiking and camping, the U.S. Forest Service might have the perfect job for you.

This year, some units of the Forest Service have been hosting one-day recruiting fairs that teach high school and college students how to apply for upcoming summer jobs with the government. Read more »

Helping Haiti Recover Three Years Later

On Monday, March 4, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met with Haiti’s Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development Thomas Jacques who outlined his three year strategic plan for revitalization of the Haitian agriculture sector.

On Monday, March 4, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met with Haiti’s Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development Thomas Jacques who outlined his three year strategic plan for revitalization of the Haitian agriculture sector.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with Haiti’s Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, Thomas Jacques, today to emphasize USDA’s ongoing commitment to help the Haitian agricultural sector recover from the devastating impact of the 2010 earthquake. Read more »

Grassroots Stewardship Journey Restores Long-Neglected Soils and Pastures

Some TSFR CBO members and James Gore, NRCS assistant chief, toured Henry Day’s farm in Millican, Tex. Day highlighted benefits he has reaped from NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which includes conservation practices such as grass planting, cross fencing and pond establishment.

Some TSFR CBO members and James Gore, NRCS assistant chief, toured Henry Day’s farm in Millican, Tex. Day highlighted benefits he has reaped from NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which includes conservation practices such as grass planting, cross fencing and pond establishment.

As a young adult, Henry Day of Millican, Tex. left his family’s ranch and spent years living and working in Houston, returning frequently to visit throughout the years. Upon his retirement, he came back for good and began his grassroots journey to restore the long-neglected soils and pastures on the ranch.

Day ranches on 157 acres, which his grandfather purchased in the mid-1800s. Nutrient-deficient soils and visible erosion problems made it an intimidating prospect, as did the overgrown pastures, which were covered in mesquite, weeds and thick underbrush. Read more »