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A Country Boy’s Journey

April 16, 2012, was a memorable day for Willie F. Cooper, state executive director (SED) for the Louisiana Farm Service Agency. Yesterday marked 40 years as SED for FSA and the former Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS). In August, Cooper will celebrate 55 years of total service to USDA. Prior to his appointment, Cooper had worked as a field reporter, county office trainee, county executive director, county office reviewer, assistant administrative chief and chief of the Administrative Division. Recently, he provided some thoughts and memories on his tenure.

Willie F. Cooper, state executive director (SED) for the Louisiana Farm Service Agency

Willie F. Cooper, state executive director (SED) for the Louisiana Farm Service Agency

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Go Purple and Save an Ash Tree

USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, along with Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance, discuss the damage that can be done by emerald ash borer and raise a purple trap for the 2012 EAB survey season.

USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, along with Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance, discuss the damage that can be done by emerald ash borer and raise a purple trap for the 2012 EAB survey season.

The Patuxent Wetlands Park is a lovely setting in Anne Arundel County, Maryland where vibrant tidal wetlands give way to the Patuxent River. It is a place where the community enjoys fishing, boating and nature. It is also the site of one of the 500 purple, prism-shaped traps hanging high in Maryland ash trees this spring and summer. The purple traps help State and Federal officials to uncover signs of the invasive, tree-killing emerald ash borer (EAB) beetle. Read more »

Organic 101: Complaints and How They’re Handled

This is the fourth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.

When the National Organic Program (NOP) declared in late 2009 that it was the beginning of the “age of enforcement,” it renewed its mission to protect the integrity of the USDA organic seal and the products labeled organic.

Enforcement efforts are a critical part of that mission, and investigating violations of the organic standards alleged by complaints is an integral component of the NOP’s work. Read more »

How a Pioneering Woman and the Early USDA Launched a Second California “Gold Rush”

This year USDA is commemorating the 150th anniversary of our founding.  From time to time we will post blogs – like this one – that look to celebrate our past accomplishments and share the unique and important contributions the Department has made to the nation over 150 years. Also, be sure to sign up for USDA at 150 Factoid Series for historical facts and photos here.

If you have ever enjoyed the delicious sweetness of California navel oranges, you might be surprised to discover that you have California pioneer Eliza Lovell Tibbets and USDA’s first botanist and landscape designer William Saunders to thank. Read more »

Summer Jobs Are Available; Apply Now

Thousands of temporary seasonal jobs with the Forest Service and its partners are available this summer and now is the time to apply.

Javonnta Murphy and Troy Dorgeloh of the California Conservation Corps work to add 8 miles to the San Domingo portion of the Arnold Rim Trail in the Stanislaus National Forest in California. USFS photo.

Javonnta Murphy and Troy Dorgeloh of the California Conservation Corps work to add 8 miles to the San Domingo portion of the Arnold Rim Trail in the Stanislaus National Forest in California. USFS photo.

“Due to the seasonal nature of much of our work, such as wildfire fighting and seasonal recreation programs, we anticipate hiring many temporary workers,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: A Strong Safety Net

As a warm winter drew to a close with the warmest March on record, many farmers around the country were already in the fields and others are itching to get crops in the ground.

Each planting season begins with such promise. This one is no different. But agriculture is unpredictable. And in the months ahead, some of our nation’s producers will contend with droughts, floods, tornados, storms and other natural disasters before they can harvest their crops and bring them to market. Read more »