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In Oregon, Commerce Meets Conservation

Ben Deumling (left) explains Zena Forest Products’ land management, harvest, and milling operations to USDA’s Lillian Salerno (center) and Martin Zone.

Ben Deumling (left) explains Zena Forest Products’ land management, harvest, and milling operations to USDA’s Lillian Salerno (center) and Martin Zone.

USDA and the Obama Administration are committed to creating jobs in rural America, so when a job creation effort also protects family forest lands, preserves important natural habitats, and produces beautiful, sustainable white oak wood products, there is reason to celebrate. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to appreciate such a success during a recent visit with Ben Deumling and his mother Sarah of the family owned Zena Forest Products in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Read more »

International Year of Statistics: The Uses and Impacts of Agricultural Statistics

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.

2013 is the International Year of Statistics. As part of this global event, every month this year USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will profile careers of individuals who are making significant contributions to improve agricultural statistics in the United States.

While it may not be broadly known, agricultural statistics are at the center of many aspects of our lives—feeding the world, ensuring a safe food supply, providing water for societal needs, promoting health and nutrition, caring for our environment, responding to climate change, and maintaining an adequate supply of energy. Statistics provide a solid base for decision-making on all of these issues and the International Year of Statistics in 2013 celebrates the role data plays in our everyday lives. Read more »

Skip Hyberg Honored With Economist of the Year Award

He is a quantitative and scientific force behind the nation’s largest conservation program.

Armed with two doctoral degrees, Skip Hyberg is an economist and a scientist who has linked both of those worlds together to more efficiently target the Farm Service Agency’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

For nearly a decade’s worth of work invested into the monitoring, assessment and evaluation of the CRP program, Hyberg was awarded the 2013 USDA Economist of the Year Award by the USDA Economists Group. Read more »

USDA Promotes Business Development Efforts in Puerto Rico

Earlier this month, USDA Rural Development-Puerto Rico held an Intermediary Relending Program Roundtable meeting for area stakeholders.

Our staff provided a brief overview of the program followed by a very dynamic question and answer session.  The most significant issues discussed were the current barriers to access capital for small businesses and the need to complement their services offerings through common inter-organizational effort.

The main objective of the meeting was to gather all main Intermediary Relending organizations and share their current best practices and current lending challenges.  The meeting also proved to be an excellent opportunity to make services networking, exchange organizational information and identify new funding opportunities. Read more »

Dinosaur Parts Unearthed on Colorado Grassland

Passport in Time volunteer Frances Mayse measures a nearly eight-foot-long shoulder blade of an Apatosaurus near the Last Chance quarry in May 2008. The graphic inset shows the location of the bone on the Apatosaurus. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

Passport in Time volunteer Frances Mayse measures a nearly eight-foot-long shoulder blade of an Apatosaurus near the Last Chance quarry in May 2008. The graphic inset shows the location of the bone on the Apatosaurus. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

So many dinosaur fossils are being discovered in a quarry on the Comanche National Grassland in southeast Colorado that experts call the find a “tossed salad of dinosaur parts.”

Last fall, workers found the first Ceratosaurus tooth within the Picket Wire Canyonlands, which is best known for a huge dinosaur track site naturally exposed along the banks of the Purgatoire River. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Fueling Agriculture’s Productivity to New Heights

Today’s farmers and ranchers are the most productive in the history of our nation. By embracing innovation, farmers of many crops are able to produce more than ever today. Meanwhile, our producers, foresters and rural landowners are undertaking modern conservation practices that help them achieve three to five times the benefits of older techniques.

At USDA, we’re working to support America’s farmers and ranchers in making the next big advances in agriculture and conservation.

First and foremost, we will continue to strengthen agricultural research. In his State of the Union Address, President Obama discussed a critical need to invest in the best ideas. We know that investing in agricultural research helps the economy and strengthens agriculture. Every dollar invested in this research generates $20 in economic benefits for our nation, while giving our farmers and ranchers new tools to mitigate risk and increase production. Read more »