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Washington Company Uses USDA SBIR Grant to Develop Erosion Control Material

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 the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

In recent years, wildfires have become larger and more severe. After the fires, large areas are without protective vegetative cover, making them prone to soil erosion when rains come. The forest soils contain many plant seeds, but the soils need to be stabilized until these seeds have a chance to germinate and re-establish plant cover that can stabilize the soil. Read more »

Mount St. Helens Videos Receive National Awards

A Forest Service scientists searches for signs of aquatic life in a lake within the 1980 blast zone of Mount St. Helens. Photo from the video, “Mount St. Helens: A Living Laboratory.”

A Forest Service scientists searches for signs of aquatic life in a lake within the 1980 blast zone of Mount St. Helens. Photo from the video, “Mount St. Helens: A Living Laboratory.”

Two new Forest Service films have been honored with prestigious Silver Telly Awards for excellence in non-fiction filmmaking. Read more »

Working to Reduce the US Forest Service Carbon Footprint

The U.S. Forest Service is making strides in monitoring energy and water consumption at several of the Agency’s facilities by installing software called the Advanced Metering Program, which accurately reports water and energy consumption.

The project is being lead by the U.S. Forest Service’s National Sustainable Operations Team. In the near future, monitoring devises will be installed at most Forest Service facilities that are larger than 10,000 square feet, or have electrical energy costs that exceed $40,000 per year. Software will collect the data and make it available for viewing online. Read more »

Wisconsin Engineer’s Work Gets Top Recognition

Becoming a nationally recognized federal engineer is an accomplishment that did not happen overnight for John Ramsden. The engineer has devoted several years to protecting surface and groundwater resources while working for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

During his 18 years as the Wisconsin State Engineer, Ramsden has led a number of federal engineering efforts for water quality, watershed and flood protection, dam safety, and wetland and floodplain restoration. Read more »

Removing Barriers to Trade Benefits Our Farmers, Businesses

Today, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released three reports to Congress detailing the Obama Administration’s work to reduce or remove key foreign government barriers to American exports. The reports describe how the Administration has fought for American jobs over the last year by working to reduce or eliminate unwarranted sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) and technical barriers to trade (TBT) as well as other significant barriers to American exports.

Just a few weeks removed from the historic implementation of the U.S.-Korea trade agreement, and as our officials wrap up USDA’s largest-ever agricultural trade mission to China today, we are reminded that the strength of the U.S. agricultural economy is directly connected to an open system of international trade, free from unwarranted and unjustified barriers. Read more »

Support for Mothers During Women’s History Month and Beyond

A local WIC staff member holds her sleeping baby as she listens to the peer counseling instructor.

A local WIC staff member holds her sleeping baby as she listens to the peer counseling instructor.

March is Women’s History month, a time when we highlight everything woman.  In the midst of farming and biofuels, research and forestry would you believe that the USDA also finds time to promote breastfeeding?  The answer is absolutely!  You already know that the agency supports a myriad of nutrition programs to help make America’s children healthy and hunger-free.  Research has shown that there is no better food than breast milk for a baby’s first year of life. Breastfeeding provides many health, nutritional, economical and emotional benefits to mother and baby. Since a major goal of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) Program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, WIC mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their infants. WIC promotes breastfeeding to all pregnant women as the optimal infant feeding choice, unless medically contraindicated.  So what exactly is WIC doing to support breastfeeding?  The answer is a lot! Read more »