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

The Woman Who Cultivated a Billion-Dollar Industry

AMS, Women’s History Month, Elizabeth Coleman White, Blueberries, Research and Promotion Program, Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Elizabeth Coleman White. A pioneer, she was the first to cultivate the wild blueberry. For her contributions to the agriculture industry, White was the first female to receive a citation from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. Photo courtesy of New Jersey Women’s History, Rutgers University

A Whitesbog, NJ, native born in 1871, Elizabeth Coleman White spent her childhood summers helping out on her parents’ cranberry farm in the Pine Barrens.  While harvesting cranberries, she often wondered if the wild blueberries sprinkled on her parents’ farm could be cultivated like the cranberries. Conventional wisdom at the time held that wild blueberries varied too much in size and sweetness and could not be cultivated.  A true pioneer, she embarked on a new mission – cultivate the wild blueberry. Read more »

Rare Sighting of Baby Bald Eagle Surprises San Bernardino National Forest Staff, Visitors

A new baby bald eagle will soon begin his flight lessons on the San Bernardino National Forest as the first recorded chick to be successfully nested in recent times near Big Bear Lake.

Baby bald eagle Jack, right, in his nest. Photo credit: Robin Eliason, District Wildlife Biologist, San Bernardino National Forest, Mountaintop Ranger District

Baby bald eagle Jack, right, in his nest. Photo credit: Robin Eliason, District Wildlife Biologist, San Bernardino National Forest, Mountaintop Ranger District

The chick was first spotted Feb. 21 by Forest Service wildlife biologist Marc Stamer while leading a school field trip.  “I was shocked to look through the spotting scope and see a bald eagle chick sitting up in the nest,” said Stamer. “The students, teachers and parents were as excited to see a baby eagle as I was!  It was a first for all of us!” Read more »

USDA, HUD and Pennsylvania Housing Agency Agree to Streamline Rental Financing

(L to R) Jane C.W. Vincent, HUD Regional Administrator; Tammye Trevino, USDA Housing and Community Facilities Administrator; Thomas P. Williams, USDA Rural Development State Director; Brian A. Hudson Sr., PHFA Executive Director and CEO

(L to R) Jane C.W. Vincent, HUD Regional Administrator; Tammye Trevino, USDA Housing and Community Facilities Administrator; Thomas P. Williams, USDA Rural Development State Director; Brian A. Hudson Sr., PHFA Executive Director and CEO

In a step forward in the Obama Administration’s desire to streamline government policies and build stronger inter-agency partnerships, USDA Rural Development, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) jointly announced the launch of a pilot program that will reduce regulatory burdens on affordable housing developers and owners. The program will help state and federal agencies better serve low-income families who rent their homes by reducing regulations across several layers of government. Read more »

Georgia School Kids Plant Trees While Meeting Olympians

Around 1,500 Jasper and Putnam County elementary students in Georgia got their hands dirty planting trees while meeting Olympic athletes at the Kids4Trees program sponsored by the Forest Service. The event was the first of 35 planned across the nation for 2012.

Bryan Jacobs, an inspiring two-time Olympic weightlifter, was among three Olympians who visited with students. After learning what it takes to help both trees and young spirits thrive, the students planted trees at their schools and potted their own small trees to take home. Read more »

Create a New Market for Cotton? No Sweat.

Professional track star Monica Hargrove sporting Charged Cotton™ gear.  This line of clothing was developed through the partnership between Under Armour and Cotton Incorporated. Photo Courtesy of Cotton Incorporated.Professional track star Monica Hargrove sporting Charged Cotton™ gear.  This line of clothing was developed through the partnership between Under Armour and Cotton Incorporated. Photo Courtesy of Cotton Incorporated.

Professional track star Monica Hargrove sporting Charged Cotton™ gear. This line of clothing was developed through the collaboration between Under Armour and Cotton Incorporated. Photo courtesy of Under Armour advertising campaign.

As more and more Americans are working to become fit and healthy, one of the top athletic clothing companies – Under Armour – has been building a team to help improve its use of natural fibers.  Relying on cutting edge research to provide products that wick away moisture, Under Armour products traditionally were not made of the classic sporting apparel material – cotton.  However, since early 2011, one of the company’s most popular items has been Charged Cotton™, a line of clothing that uses cotton — the fabric of our lives. Read more »

Rural New Mexico Businesses Saving Energy and Going Green!

This eighteen solar panel array is generating more than enough electricity to offset the cost of energy it takes to run the Los Ebanistas, Inc. contracting firm’s woodshop and offices in Dixon, NM on an everyday basis.  The extra energy that is generated is then routed back into the electric grid allowing Los Ebanistas to make a profit on the additional energy.

This eighteen solar panel array is generating more than enough electricity to offset the cost of energy it takes to run the Los Ebanistas, Inc. contracting firm’s woodshop and offices in Dixon, NM on an everyday basis. The extra energy that is generated is then routed back into the electric grid allowing Los Ebanistas to make a profit on the additional energy.

It’s 8:20 AM and Jo Ann Shelby, the manager of Compass Components, in Deming, New Mexico is beginning her day by going over her latest work production and business expense reports.  She finds the cost of electricity to light the 90,000 square foot assembly plant is down 50 percent. Read more »