Mar-Bil Jersey Farm has been in Bill Yoder’s extended family since the 1700s and his grandfather built their big red barn nearly 100 years ago. Photo by Keri Pickett Photography.
Organic food sales in the United States have shown double-digit growth during most years since the 1990s, and this trend shows no sign of slowing. The Nutrition Business Journal reports annual growth in the nation’s organic food sales has generally exceeded 10 percent since the downturn in the American economy in 2008. U.S. organic food sales approached an estimated $37 billion in 2015, up 12 percent from the previous year. The country’s top food retailers, including Costco, Kroger, Walmart and Target, have expanded their organic food offerings in recent years, and have announced initiatives which could further boost demand.
Although organic sales have been increasing from a small base, the Organic Trade Association estimates that U.S. organic food purchases accounted for nearly 5 percent of the total food market in 2014. In addition, U.S. sales of organic personal care products, linens, and other nonfood items were in excess of an estimated $3 billion in 2014. Certified organic farmland has also expanded, while not as fast as organic sales. Read more »
Erosion along the Illinois River and its tributaries results in high turbidity levels. (Photo by Lauren D. Ray)
Thanks to conservation partnerships, two segments of the Illinois River are off Arkansas’s impaired waters list.
Surface erosion and agricultural activities along the river caused high levels of turbidity – or water haziness. Improvement in these conditions from the 2006 listing, led to ten segments of the river removed from the state’s list of impaired waters in 2014.
With assistance through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Illinois River Sub-Basin and Eucha-Spavinaw Lake Watershed Initiative (IRWI), poultry farmer Bruce Norindr is doing his part to improve water quality in the Lower Muddy Fork Watershed. Read more »
U.S. Drought Monitor Drought Assessment map
Drought patterns have always fluctuated and are expected to become increasingly dynamic in the years to come, making managing working lands profitably more of a challenge. Because specific actions for building resilience to drought vary with location and forest type, USDA is helping land managers connect with experts and find region-specific information and tools through the USDA Climate Hubs.
Recent historical drought events vary from region to region, with the western U.S. showing a trend toward dry conditions while trends in the East are more complex. So how can land managers mitigate the impacts of drought on their lands? Read more »
Solar panels atop the storage units outside E&S Mart in Altavista.
This week in Virginia, USDA Rural Development announced eight Rural Energy for America (REAP) grants totaling $107,500.
It’s always an honor to award REAP grants because they help Virginia’s rural businesses by rewarding innovation. The REAP program helps rural businesses and agricultural producers save money, make their operations more energy efficient, and protect the environment. Read more »
Market News reports reach millions of stakeholders every day to ensure that everyone in the ag supply chain have the information they need. Pictured here is Market News reporter Alexandra Wright.
As I walked up to my new USDA office, distracted by the animal noises, I dodged horse-drawn buggies while tiptoeing around cow pies. Originally from the suburbs of Atlanta, my exposure to livestock was limited. As a market reporter with USDA Market News, I found that my exposure would significantly increase and fast.
The entire agricultural supply chain turn to USDA Market News – administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) – for reliable data that serves as the information lifeline for America’s agricultural economy. Our reports, with data gathered and distributed by reporters like me, reach millions of stakeholders every day to ensure that everyone in the ag supply chain have the information they need. Read more »
Emergency haying and grazing provisions provided through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) allow ranchers like Jeremiah Liebl to weather severe drought conditions by providing valuable hay and pasture for livestock in Colorado.
In 2012, USDA designated 2,245 counties in 39 states as disaster areas due to drought, or 71 percent of the United States. Many of the country’s livestock producers faced the ultimate decision – liquidate or figure out a way to survive.
Ranchers across the state had planned to graze their livestock through the spring and summer, but found their pastures scorched by the hot sun, and their ponds dry. Read more »