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USDA and Community-Based Organizations Partner for Ag Census

For a decade, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and community-based organizations (CBOs) have placed a high priority on improving the cover­age and response of minority and hard-to-reach farm and ranch operators in the Census of Agriculture. CBOs partner with NASS to help reach these underserved agricultural producers and encourage them to participate in the Census. As the CBOs educate and motivate the producers they serve to complete their Census forms, these producers become part of the data that represent the accurate picture of agriculture across the nation. The partnerships are serving both the CBOs’ mission of providing service to every producer and NASS’s goal of counting every farmer and rancher in the Census of Agriculture. In the following blog, one of NASS’s longstanding CBO partners, Ralph Paige, shares his thoughts on the importance of the ongoing 2012 Census of Agriculture. Read more »

USDA’s SuperTracker Diet Tool Reaches Two Million Users

A consumer uses the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ChooseMyPlate.gov website on Dec. 14, 2011. This is an interactive website used for creating customized healthy dietary plans that include required daily vitamins and minerals, and age and gender appropriate daily portions and calorie levels. Users can also tap tools called “Daily Food Plan,” “SuperTracker,” and “Food-a-Pedia” on this site. USDA photo by Stephen Ausmus.

SuperTracker is an interactive website used for creating customized healthy dietary plans that include required daily vitamins and minerals, and age and gender appropriate daily portions and calorie levels. Users can also tap tools called “Daily Food Plan,” “SuperTracker,” and “Food-a-Pedia” on this site. USDA photo by Stephen Ausmus.

I am pleased to report that over two million Americans are now using USDA’s SuperTracker, our online dietary planning and tracking tool!

Today, as never before, our awareness is heightened about the importance of healthy eating.  Cookbooks and diet books reign supreme in the bookstores.  There are entire TV channels devoted exclusively to food and, of course, stories of too many Twinkies, doughnuts and sodas provide constant fodder for the late night comedians.  A day doesn’t go by that new food-related research isn’t released.  Diet and health information abound on social media.  Grocery stores are constantly adding new, healthier products.  And communities across America are trying new and novel approaches to promote healthy eating. Read more »

USDA Staff in New Mexico, Wisconsin, Promote Business Development and Job Creation Efforts

“The Rural Business Enterprise Grant program (RBEG) is one of the most flexible economic development opportunities offered by USDA Rural Development.”  Those words from New Mexico State Director Terry Brunner kicked off a webinar workshop recently to discuss the RBEG program and how to apply for funds.

In the past, here in New Mexico, the RBEG has been used to fund business incubators, feasibility studies, business plans, and it has financed technical assistance programs for business development.

Earlier this month, the staff from Rural Development’s State Office in New Mexico hosted a workshop that gave a complete overview of the RBEG program explaining the funding is made available to public bodies, nonprofit organizations, public and private nonprofit institutions of higher education, and Indian tribes to facilitate and finance the development of small and emerging private business enterprises in rural communities and cities up to 50,000 in population. Read more »

Forest Service Helps Restore Fish to Oregon Stream

After nearly a century, a five-mile stretch of the Lower Oak Grove Fork of Oregon’s Clackamas River will have native fish swimming year-round in this restored stream once again.

Early in the 20th century, the growing communities around Portland needed hydroelectric power. The Oak Grove Fork dam, located in the foothills of the Cascade Range some 30 miles east of the city, was one of several in the region built to help fill that need.

Unfortunately, by impounding the steam’s water and diverting it for power generation, the river was denied its natural seasonal rise and fall which hindered the movement and spawning of fish. Read more »

Opening Doors to Natural Sciences

A portrait of Anna Botsford Comstock - a leader in nature studies and the first female professor at Cornell.

A portrait of Anna Botsford Comstock - a leader in nature studies and the first female professor at Cornell.

March is Women’s History Month, a time to pay tribute to the contributions of women and the significant role they’ve played in agriculture and beyond. This year’s celebration focuses on “Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.” Read more »

A Statistician’s Work is Never Done

Barbara Rater visited the Republic of Georgia to assist with Georgian Census of Agriculture.

Barbara Rater visited the Republic of Georgia to assist with Georgian Census of Agriculture.

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.

2013 is the International Year of Statistics. As part of this global event, every month this year USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will profile careers of individuals who are making significant contributions to improve agricultural statistics in the United States.

March is National Women’s History Month, celebrating women’s many accomplishments throughout history. And 2013 is the International Year of Statistics, in which countries and organizations around the world mark the power and impact of statistics. Together, these two celebrations touch me on a personal level.   After all, only several decades ago, there were virtually no female statisticians, while today, more than half the staff at the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), where I work, is female. Read more »