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USDA Releases New Maps Identifying Major Crop Producing Areas in the United States and Abroad

One of 40 new  maps  showing major crop-producing areas in the United States and other nations.

One of 40 new maps showing major crop-producing areas in the United States and other nations.

A total of 40 new maps have been prepared, showing major crop-producing areas in the United States, China, India, Pakistan, and South Africa.  Earlier versions of these maps appeared in the Major World Crop Areas and Climatic Profiles (MWCACP) handbook that contains climatological data, agricultural statistics, and crop calendar information for major agricultural areas worldwide, and serves as a reference for evaluating the effects of weather on world crop production.  The new maps, listed by country and commodity, supplement the MWCACP publication by updating illustrations of cropping patterns in these countries: Read more »

USDA Offices in Delaware/Maryland and New York Host Meetings to Boost Lending to Rural Businesses

Stakeholders meet with USDA staff in New York recently to discuss ways to use Rural Development programs to help small businesses create jobs and grow businesses. USDA photo.

Stakeholders meet with USDA staff in New York recently to discuss ways to use Rural Development programs to help small businesses create jobs and grow businesses. USDA photo.

Last month, USDA Rural Development’s Delaware – Maryland State Office and the State Office staff in New York hosted roundtable discussions on Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) availability.  RLF programs are unique programs that provide funds to local and regional organizations to capitalize and operate revolving loan funds.  Revolving loan funds are used to assist with business financing and economic development activities to create and/or retain jobs in disadvantaged and remote communities.  As such, these are programs that have great potential for meeting USDA’s rural economic mandate in a time of scarce federal funding. Read more »

Growers’ Input Shapes 2013 Growing Season

A statistician’s work is never done.   Just as we are starting to wrap up data collection for the 2012 Census of Agriculture, interviewers representing the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) are already visiting thousands of farmers across the United States to find out their 2013 planting intentions.

While all of our surveys are important in their own right, the March Agricultural Survey stands out.  For those not familiar with our reports, the Prospective Plantings is one of the most anticipated publications of the year.   Commodity traders around the world wait for this report to give them an early indication of the upcoming year’s U.S. crop production.  As a result, the information that producers report to NASS can impact business decisions of input providers, farmers, agricultural lenders and others, as well as commodity prices. Read more »

Helping Dairy Exporters Obtain Electronic EU Dairy Health and Transit Export Certificates

The Dairy eTDE system will streamline the paperwork for health certificates to improve our export certification efforts.

The Dairy eTDE system will streamline the paperwork for health certificates to improve our export certification efforts.

This year, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will start issuing electronic health and transit certificates for dairy products exported to the European Union (EU) via the electronic trade document exchange system (eTDE).

A content management system created to support the domestic and international trade of U.S. agricultural products, eTDE makes official certificates available online to health officials in foreign ports. The system was built with the help of funds from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Read more »

Setting the Stage for Healthy Habits from Day One

A young dad checks his shopping list as he passes by the produce section of a grocery store. With nearly one third of children in America at risk for preventable diseases, proper nutrition early in life can help set the stage for healthier dietary and lifestyle habits and future success in school.

A young dad checks his shopping list as he passes by the produce section of a grocery store. With nearly one third of children in America at risk for preventable diseases, proper nutrition early in life can help set the stage for healthier dietary and lifestyle habits and future success in school. Photo provided by Thinkstock.

I recently had the pleasure of addressing a meeting marking the landmark first phase of the B-24 Project, a collaborative initiative between USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services to develop dietary recommendations for children from birth to 24 months of age. As existing Federal dietary guidance is designed for those two years and older, the end result of the B-24 project will fill an important gap and provide consistency in maternal, infant and toddler nutrition advice given across government and external organizations. Read more »

Bad Bed Bugs

The penny in this photo provides a sense of scale to the size of bed bug skins collected for analysis by ARS scientists in Beltsville, Maryland.

The penny in this photo provides a sense of scale to the size of bed bug skins collected for analysis by ARS scientists in Beltsville, Maryland.

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.

Most likely you’ve heard the old saying about “sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite.” The “sleep tight” part relates to old-fashioned beds in which the bedding was suspended on cords pulled tight to provide a firmer sleeping surface, but you probably don’t need any extra explanation for “don’t let the bed bugs bite”! Read more »