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Help USDA Fight Hungry Pests: Keep an Eye Out for Asian Longhorned Beetle

An adult Asian Longhorned Beetle

Throughout August, a little-known beetle may emerge from the trees in your community. You might see its long black and white antennae inching out from a dime-shaped hole in your favorite tree. The pest, named the Asian longhorned beetle, kills trees from the inside out. It attacks 13 types of hardwood trees. Read more »

South Dakota is SET for Regional Planning

South Dakota has been awarded two regional training opportunities through the Stronger Economies Together (SET) initiative.  USDA Rural Development (USDA RD), the nation’s four Regional Rural Development Centers and South Dakota State University Extension are collaborating for this initiative.

“While USDA RD staff directly impact communities with housing services and integral community infrastructure, the SET process is going to be one more way for communities to strive for economic vitality, improved quality of life, and sustainability,” said USDA RD South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks, “In the end, everyone works together so that rural communities can address a broad range of other needs such as regional based planning and leadership development.” Read more »

Deputy Under Secretary Visits Successful Rural Initiatives in Illinois

Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien talks about the how his agency’s programs can help develop and expand business development in rural areas.

What do 13 doctors in Southern Illinois, hundreds of outpatients and a bilingual library have in common?  USDA Rural Development! Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien recently visited the Monroe County Surgical Center in Waterloo and the Fairmont City Library Center in the Illinois Metro East area near St. Louis.  Both were recipients of Rural Development funding during the last two years.  O’Brien saw in person what the two have in common…success of two local projects that are models for other businesses and communities eligible for Rural Development funding. Read more »

New Jersey Girl Wins top Honors in Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl Poster Contest

Smokey Bear presents Caroline Tan, 11, with a replica of himself during a ceremony led by U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to honor the Westfield, N.J., girl as the national winner in the 2012 Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl Poster Contest. Caroline’s winning poster was chosen from nearly 22,000 entries. Dominic Cumberland/U.S. Forest Service Photo

Smokey Bear presents Caroline Tan, 11, with a replica of himself during a ceremony led by U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to honor the Westfield, N.J., girl as the national winner in the 2012 Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl Poster Contest. Caroline’s winning poster was chosen from nearly 22,000 entries. Dominic Cumberland/U.S. Forest Service Photo

Caroline Tan, an 11-year-old from Westfield, N.J., is pretty certain about a few things when it comes to natural resources.

“It’s not just about my art, but it does represent something very serious,” Caroline said. “We have to prevent wildfires, not just in art but in real life. It’s not something we should ignore.” Read more »

Texas Small Farmers and Ranchers Nonprofit Is Growing in a Big Way

Working alongside USDA agencies such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is second nature for the Texas Small Farmers and Ranchers Community Based Organization.

Founded in 1998, the organization is dedicated to assisting limited resource agricultural producers in parts of Texas with accessing services and programs offered by state and federal agricultural agencies.

Today, the Texas Small Farmers and Ranchers Community Based Organization has grown into a dynamic 400-member organization. It works closely with NRCS staff across Central and East Texas to ensure the success of the nonprofit’s outreach efforts to landowners. Read more »

A Science Agenda for Food Security

Consumers in low-income countries on average spend half their income on food, leaving little or no money to spend on other goods and services. As the world population grows, agricultural science will play an important role in helping us combat hunger and malnutrition around the globe. (photo courtesy of the World Food Program/Rein Skullerud)

Consumers in low-income countries on average spend half their income on food, leaving little or no money to spend on other goods and services. As the world population grows, agricultural science will play an important role in helping us combat hunger and malnutrition around the globe. (photo courtesy of the World Food Program/Rein Skullerud)

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.

The world is not merely facing a challenge of sustainably producing enough food to feed a world whose population will exceed 9 billion by 2050, but also confronting the continuous challenge of ensuring that nutritious and safe food reaches needy families, so that every child can have a safe and healthy childhood.  Combating this urgent crisis requires a global collaborative effort.  According to experts, by 2050 agricultural production will need to increase by 70% to meet increased demand for food, diet changes and additional demand for industrial uses for plants.  To help meet this goal, USDA has developed a Global Food Security strategy, focused on research, development, education and extension.  As part of USDA’s Office of the Chief Scientist series of white papers on USDA’s research portfolio, this plan aligns USDA’s food security research with the goals of President Obama’s Global Food Security Initiative, Feed the Future. Read more »