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Earth Team Volunteer Loves ‘Dream Job’ with NRCS

Captain Mike P. McAdaragh II pictured on one of the construction sites where he volunteers to assist with the Wetland Reserve Program.

Captain Mike P. McAdaragh II pictured on one of the construction sites where he volunteers to assist with the Wetland Reserve Program.

U.S. Army Capt. Mike P. McAdaragh II is looking for a job that blends indoor and outdoor work. This led him to volunteering with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency that works with private landowners to improve farms and forestlands across the U.S.

McAdaragh’s volunteer work with NRCS gives him the opportunity to work side-by-side with agency biologists and engineers, providing him with valuable work experience and new skills as he transitions from his 13 years in the military to a new career. Read more »

USDA’s SuperTracker Receives Award for Outstanding IT Achievement in Government

On October 24, 2012, the SuperTracker Team received the 2012 Government Computer News (GCN) Award for Outstanding IT Achievement in Government.

On October 24, 2012, the SuperTracker Team received the 2012 Government Computer News (GCN) Award for Outstanding IT Achievement in Government.

In addition to reaching over 1.4 million users, USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion now has something else to be proud of regarding its state-of-the-art SuperTracker.  On October 24, 2012, the SuperTracker Team received the 2012 Government Computer News (GCN) Award for Outstanding IT Achievement in Government, along with nine other awardees from local, state, and Federal governments.  The awards were presented to these government teams for their extraordinary accomplishments and significant contributions to the performance of their agencies. Read more »

With Some Help from USDA, a Small Oregon Town Brings Shoppers Back to Main Street

Cottage Grove residents stand under an arch welcoming visitors to the newly restored downtown area.

Cottage Grove residents stand under an arch welcoming visitors to the newly restored downtown area.

Like so many small towns these past few decades, downtown Cottage Grove, Oregon has seen its vitality as the community’s economic and social center fade as retail, building occupancy and overall traffic on Main Street have declined. The historic city center was laid out and constructed as the community’s small, but bustling hub near the turn of the last century. Over the years, changes in lifestyle, business models, traffic patterns, and overall growth diverted activity away. In addition, the small town of under 10,000 is conveniently located on an interstate just 20 miles from a major population center. As such, Cottage Gove today is home to many who prefer a quiet, small-town residential environment, but who work, shop and do business in the nearby Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area. Read more »

Why I Became an Inspector in APHIS’ Animal Care Program

Animal Care inspector Bob Markmann conducts an inspection at a commercial dog breeding facility.

Animal Care inspector Bob Markmann conducts an inspection at a commercial dog breeding facility.

USDA/APHIS’ Animal Care program enforces the federal Animal Welfare Act, which sets standards for humane care and treatment that must be provided for certain animals that are exhibited to the public, bred for commercial sale, used in biomedical research, or transported commercially. Individuals/entities that operate facilities using animals in these ways must provide their animals with proper veterinary care, adequate housing, appropriate nutrition, etc. Read more »

Forest Service Botanist Shares Fall’s Native Plant Diversity on South Dakota’s Black Hills National Forest

Fall needle cast is natural for many conifers, including ponderosa pine. The trees shed their oldest leaves each fall, but the leaves at the branch tips remain green.  Pine trees that lose their newer leaves at the branch tips may be stressed or diseased. Photo by Jill Welborn.

Fall needle cast is natural for many conifers, including ponderosa pine. The trees shed their oldest leaves each fall, but the leaves at the branch tips remain green. Pine trees that lose their newer leaves at the branch tips may be stressed or diseased. Photo by Jill Welborn.

Perhaps it’s just me, but I think many people are relieved to see the fall colors and relish the cool mornings here on the Black Hills National Forest. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: A Thank You to America’s Veterans

Americans will soon come together on Veterans Day to honor our nation’s returned service members, including more than 22 million living American veterans.

For generations, American service members across every branch of our military have made tremendous sacrifices to defend our freedom and liberty.   This weekend, it’s important that all of us take time to remember their service.

In particular, earlier this year, President Obama honored our Vietnam-era veterans when he proclaimed a 13-year period – May 28, 2012, through Nov. 11, 2025 – as the “Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.”  This gives all of us a special opportunity to recognize these veterans, who too often were not properly thanked when they came home. Read more »