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Forest Service Book Answers a Kid’s Question: Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down?

At the end of the book, “Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down?” the illustration depicts children planting trees. (Illustration by Juliette Watts, U.S. Forest Service)

At the end of the book, “Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down?” the illustration depicts children planting trees. (Illustration by Juliette Watts, U.S. Forest Service)

Some children are unaware that in order to reduce tree hazards, protect other trees, or to get wood, it is necessary to cut trees.

So the recently published book “Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down?” is intended to raise awareness of the issue. The book, which primarily targets first to third grade students, also features tips for planting a new tree. Read more »

19-Year-Old Hopes to Retire and Farm

At age 19, Austin Midkiff has already made plans to retire at a young age and farm the rest of his life.

At age 19, Austin Midkiff has already made plans to retire at a young age and farm the rest of his life.

Austin Midkiff thinks, breathes and lives farming. It’s all he has done since he was six years old.

By the time he was 14, he took over his grandparent’s 10-acre farm in Springdale, W.Va.

“When I turned 16 my grandparents sold everything to me in order to teach me how to get things on my own and start from scratch,” said Midkiff. “It’s hard starting off.” Read more »

Green House® Model Comes to Kentucky

An architect’s drawing of the new facility. Photos courtesy of Christian Care Communities.  Used with permission.

An architect’s drawing of the new facility. Photos courtesy of Christian Care Communities. Used with permission.

During my 12 years as state director for USDA Rural Development in Kentucky, I have had the privilege of breaking ground on many projects; from water and sewer infrastructure, to business development, to housing complexes and community-based projects. All have been notable and important projects for enhancing the quality of life and improving economic opportunities in rural Kentucky. Read more »

Responding to the Challenges of the U.S. Sheep and Lamb Industry

USDA is taking a multi-faceted approach to supporting the American sheep and lamb industry, working with researchers and market analysts to identify strategies and goals.

USDA is taking a multi-faceted approach to supporting the American sheep and lamb industry, working with researchers and market analysts to identify strategies and goals.

The U.S. sheep and lamb industry has been shrinking for decades as the numbers of sheep and producers have declined since World War II.  Consolidation of the sheep packing industry, higher feed and energy costs, continuous loses to predation, and lower consumption, coupled with competition from imports of lamb cuts, have taken their toll on U.S. producers.  In response to industry needs, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has been working with the American Lamb Board (ALB) and the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) on initiatives aimed at ensuring the long-term viability of the industry. Read more »

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 »