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USDA Forest Service Research Center’s Tree-Planting Technique Takes Root in South

USDA Forest Service research is transforming exhausted farmland in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee into thousands of acres of hardwood forests that will provide revenue to landowners, remove carbon from the air and serve as habitats for wildlife.

In 1998, scientists with the Forest Service’s Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research, in Stoneville, Miss., began testing methods of afforestation – growing trees on barren farmland. The result was a tree-planting technique that mixed cottonwoods trees (poplars) with hardwood yearlings to produce strong, straight-stemmed hardwood trees.

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The Importance of Feeding the Hungry

Ever wonder exactly how many Americans struggle to put food on table?  It’s a question pondered more and more during a tough economy.  Today, the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) has shed some light on these conditions with their annual analysis of Americans’ success in feeding themselves and their families.

The report, Household Food Security in the United States in 2010, provides an important analysis of how well people are faring on this front during difficult economic times.

In 2010, just over 85 percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year.  However, about 17.2 million households were unable, at some point in the year, to provide either enough food or adequate food for at least one member due to a lack of resources.  That equates to nearly 49 million people in the United States – roughly one in six – who lived in a food insecure household in 2010. Read more »

Industry Insight: Data Dashboards Enhance Livestock Reports

A screenshot of the Cattle Dashboard.  The livestock dashboards allow you to see weekly volume and price information presented in graphs and tables that can be customized for viewing and downloaded for use in reports and presentations.

A screenshot of the Cattle Dashboard. The livestock dashboards allow you to see weekly volume and price information presented in graphs and tables that can be customized for viewing and downloaded for use in reports and presentations.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is expanding upon its traditional Market News reports to create interactive dashboards.  The dashboards, first launched in the summer of 2010, provide quick, easy access to volume and price information for cattle, hogs, and sheep.   Read more »

NRCS Watershed Dams Protect Arkansas Communities by Reducing Flooding

Prairie Grove dam helps reduce flooding of Muddy Fork Creek along the western edge of Prairie Grove.

Prairie Grove dam helps reduce flooding of Muddy Fork Creek along the western edge of Prairie Grove.

The flooding from this year’s spring rain storms caused millions of dollars worth of damage to homes, businesses and crops in Arkansas.

But some flooding was reduced or minimized, thanks to 207 small and medium-sized dams built by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), in partnership with local watershed districts. Read more »

Basic Agricultural Safeguarding Training Boot Camp

Basic Agricultural Safeguarding Training in the classroom.

Basic Agricultural Safeguarding Training in the classroom.

Every day, thousands of USDA employees fight on the agricultural frontline to keep our nation safe from the “bad bugs” that threaten our nation’s $500 billion agricultural industry.

The Professional Development Center (PDC) provides training, leadership and consultation to Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) employees and others who work to protect the Nation’s agriculture and natural resources from plant pests and diseases. Read more »

Kenyan Businesswoman Gives Back after U.S. Training

Employees at Hillside Green work in the pack house certifying fresh vegetables for export. Photo credit: Ayub Otieno

Employees at Hillside Green work in the pack house certifying fresh vegetables for export. Photo credit: Ayub Otieno

In 2009, Eunice Mwongera decided to expand Hillside Green Growers and Exporters Company, her family-owned fruit and vegetable business. A graduate of Nairobi University and former finance officer at the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Mwongera, applied for the USDA Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology (Borlaug) Fellowship Program. Not long after, she was paired with a mentor at Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center for six weeks to learn U.S. best practices in agribusiness development and management. The fellowship was part of a program that provided U.S.-based agribusiness and collaborative research training to African women. Read more »