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Secretary’s Column: Partnerships Help Farmers and the Environment

America’s farmers are among our nation’s first and finest conservationists.  And at USDA, we support their work to protect natural landscapes by improving water and air quality, and preserving wildlife habitat, forests and soil.

This work is also helps drive economic growth and creates jobs – particularly in rural communities.

Farmers taking steps to help the environment can improve their bottom line.  And maintaining the health of American landscapes supports an outdoor recreation industry worth $730 billion to our nation’s economy each year – and supports millions of jobs.  Recreational activities on the USDA-managed national forests and grasslands alone contribute $14.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy. Read more »

Farmers Markets at Your Fingertips: How the Community is Using Our Open Data

When the USDA first made the dataset from the USDA National Farmers Market Directory available to web and application designers last year, we weren’t sure what was going to happen.  We just knew local food lovers, farmers market lovers, and data lovers were waiting for it.

The results have been amazing. Websites and apps that not only benefit their local communities, but help farmers markets have popped up across the nation. Read more »

USDA Forest Service Report Shows Happy Customers and Continued Economic Impact at National Forests

Visitors Hiking on Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming

Visitors Hiking on Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming

If you are looking for inexpensive, fun and healthy recreational activities in the great outdoors, then look no further than our national forests and grasslands. Read more »

Investing In Local Economies by Shopping at Farmers Markets

A woman makes a purchase at her local farmers market. A single farmers market purchase can have a big impact on the local economy.  (Photo courtesy of Real Time Farms)A woman makes a purchase at her local farmers market. A single farmers market purchase can have a big impact on the local economy.  (Photo courtesy of Real Time Farms)

A woman makes a purchase at her local farmers market. A single farmers market purchase can have a big impact on the local economy. (Photo courtesy of Real Time Farms)

When I visit my local farmers market, I know that every peach, tomato, or strawberry I purchase helps local farmers pay their bills and support their families.  Not only do I enjoy the health benefits and the wonderful flavors from fresh produce but I’m helping local farmers stay in business. Read more »

Recruiting Future Forestry Leaders and Scientists

Recruiting Future Forestry Leaders and Scientists. Native American students "Spus" Wilder and Jeromie Gritts are pursuing graduate degrees at the University of Washington's School of Forest Resources, and participating in mentored work and research experiences, through an economic recovery agreement with the Pacific Northwest Research Station.

Recruiting Future Forestry Leaders and Scientists. Native American students "Spus" Wilder and Jeromie Gritts are pursuing graduate degrees at the University of Washington's School of Forest Resources, and participating in mentored work and research experiences, through an economic recovery agreement with the Pacific Northwest Research Station.

As part of the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station’s Recovery Act program, the Station’s Focused Science Delivery Program has entered into an agreement with the University of Washington’s School of Forest Resources to create leadership and learning opportunities for Native Americans pursuing graduate degrees in the forestry sciences. Read more »

Bridgewater College Dedicates New “Green” Student Housing

On a beautiful summer morning, more than 200 Bridgewater faculty, staff, students and local residents celebrated the completion of a $14 million dollar student housing project on the rural campus of Bridgewater College.

The new “Stone Village” as named by the college for its past President, Mr. Phillip Stone, will be a complex of five, two-story, colonial-designed housing that will be on the cutting edge of energy efficiency and minimize its environmental impact on the rural campus. The housing is registered as a potential Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver project and incorporates such green features as high efficiency HVAC, occupancy sensor lighting, recycled building materials and even the interior paints that were used were all environmentally friendly to improve indoor air quality. Read more »