Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Forest Service Stream Technology Can Prevent Road and Bridge Washouts

Remember the devastating floods in Vermont – the worst in a century – that made national headlines late last August?  Hurricane Irene pounded Vermont and the Green Mountain National Forest and New Hampshire and the White Mountain National Forest with up to 12 inches of rain in less than a day.  Many communities were left reeling from the massive flood damage for weeks and months in post-storm recovery efforts.

More than 500 road miles and 200 bridges and culverts were destroyed or damaged.  Communities were left stranded by the flood’s devastation of the transportation infrastructure.  Millions of dollars of property damage occurred.  Residents also suffered increased costs related to emergency service access, commuting time and lost tourism revenue.  Aquatic life was also harmed when heavy machinery cleared “debris” and reshaped rivers. Read more »

USDA Rural Development Hosts Rural Energy for America Program Roundtable in Minnesota

Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has helped 512 rural small businesses and farmers install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

Senator Al Franken and Minn. Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer participate in a roundtable meeting on the USDA Rural Energy For America Program.

Senator Al Franken and Minn. Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer participate in a roundtable meeting on the USDA Rural Energy For America Program.

On Tuesday, April 10, about 40 of those farmers and small business owners gathered in Mankato, Minn., to discuss the REAP program during a roundtable featuring Senator Al Franken and USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer. Read more »

Bats, Birds and Butterflies…Oh My! Celebrating Wings Across the Americas

Migratory species play unique ecological roles because of their intrinsic beauty and significance in culture and identity.  Despite this, bats, birds, butterflies and dragonflies face a multitude of threats both in the US and in Latin America and the Caribbean where they migrate during the winter. If these habitats are not protected, the tremendous US domestic investment in conserving these species is wasted.

Receiving the award for “Communities in Conservation” are Luisa Lopez, Counselor at El Valor and Vincent Jordan, participant in El Valor's Adults with Different Abilities Program. They are holding one of the products of this program—a monarch butterfly made for Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

Receiving the award for “Communities in Conservation” are Luisa Lopez, Counselor at El Valor and Vincent Jordan, participant in El Valor's Adults with Different Abilities Program. They are holding one of the products of this program—a monarch butterfly made for Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

An award ceremony for conservation of birds, bats and butterflies was recently held in Atlanta.  The 2012 Wings Across the Americas event paid special tribute to partnerships that contribute to conservation efforts. Read more »

Identify Citrus Diseases with New iPhone App

Does your citrus tree have spotted leaves or fruit with brown raised spots or small lopsided fruit?  Good news, USDA released a free Save Our Citrus iPhone app that makes it easy to identify and report the four leading citrus diseases: citrus greening, citrus canker, citrus black spot and sweet orange scab.

In just a few steps, the Save Our Citrus app, available in English and Spanish, allows you to report the symptoms, upload a photo and receive an individual response back from citrus experts. Read more »

Celebrating USDA’s 150 Years in Kansas

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visits the Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium at Kansas State University, in Manhattan, KS, on Tuesday, April 10, 2012. USDA Photo by Jessica Bowser.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visits the Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium at Kansas State University, in Manhattan, KS, on Tuesday, April 10, 2012. USDA Photo by Jessica Bowser.

Yesterday, I celebrated USDA’s 150th Anniversary with the people of Manhattan, Kansas. For 150 years, USDA has supported the tremendous growth and success of American agriculture, conserved natural resources and built stronger communities and a stronger America.  That legacy gives us a lot to be proud of. Read more »

Michigan Tribe Grow Walleye for the Wild

Many of Michigan’s American Indian tribes are returning to traditional foods to improve nutrition and sustain their culture. One of these foods is walleye, a native fish harvested from lakes and rivers.

Now USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is helping the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, raise walleye in order to restock local waterways.

Treaties between the United States government and Michigan Indian tribes give tribal members the right to harvest fish, including in some areas through spearfishing, and to hunt and gather. To ensure that walleye populations are not depleted, tribes stock the fish in lakes and rivers. Read more »