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North Georgia Students Study Appalachian Trail as Part of Classroom Program

Taylor Hamilton, a Forest Service recreation trails tech, guides students from Union County Middle School on a trek to Springer Mountain as part of the Trails to Every Classroom program (May 16, 2012). Springer Mountain is the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail located within miles of the school. (USDA Forest Service photo/Donnie Kelley)

Summer brings to an end an incredible school year for Union County Middle School students in North Georgia who have been immersed in learning about a famous 2,181 mile-long trail. Read more »

Study: Undergraduate Women Outnumber Men in Land-Grant Ag Programs

Virginia Tech student Stefanie Pagano weighs a mouse as part of a research study on work level and food taste. Photo courtesy of Jim Stroup.

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.

A national study of 70 land-grant universities found that undergraduate women enrolled in agriculture programs outnumber undergraduate men by more than 2,900 students. This study, conducted by the Food and Agricultural Education Information System, explored trends in the gender of undergraduate students enrolled in 14 agriculture academic areas at land-grant institutions from 2004 to 2011. Read more »

Under Secretary Inspects Indiana Water Quality and Hospital Projects Funded by USDA

Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager visits with North Vernon, Indiana residents as they celebrate their new water system, thanks to USDA Rural Development.

U. S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development, Dallas Tonsager, was in Indiana July 19 and 20, reviewing how the agency’s programs and services are helping create jobs and improve the quality of life in the Hoosier state. Read more »

Science Today for Solutions Tomorrow

As USDA’s Chief Scientist I oversee a team of world class scientists, economists, statisticians, and support staff working to solve some of the biggest challenges facing us all – a changing climate, uncertain energy sources, rising childhood obesity rates, food insecurity around the globe – and making sure our solutions are safe and sustainable.

In 2010, one of my first initiatives as Chief Scientist was to ask this group of food, agricultural, and natural resource science professionals to develop an Action Plan for USDA Science.  The Action Plan provides an in depth analysis of these challenges and identifies the roles of USDA’s science agencies in addressing them. Read more »

Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 7/23/12

Data obtained from preliminary National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) weekly crop progress and condition tables.

Data obtained from preliminary National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) weekly crop progress and condition tables. (Click to enlarge image)

Visit www.usda.gov/drought for the latest information regarding USDA’s Drought Disaster response and assistance.

During the last week, much-needed rain developed across the northern and eastern Corn Belt and continued in the Southeast, stabilizing or even improving crop and pasture conditions.  In the Midwest, some of the heaviest rain (locally 2 to 4 inches) fell from southern and eastern Wisconsin into Ohio.  Substantial rain (at least 2 inches) also extended into the northern Mid-Atlantic States.  Meanwhile, a second consecutive week of widespread Southeastern showers further revived pastures and aided immature summer crops.  Weekly totals in excess of 4 inches were noted in the central Gulf Coast region and parts of the interior Southeast. Read more »

USDA Employees in Wisconsin Grill Year-Round to End Hunger

What do bratwurst and USDA have in common? The ability to mobilize community members to donate to Feds Feed Families!

On sizzling hot summer days in Madison, Wisconsin, employees of the Agricultural Research Service’s Dairy Forage Research Center fire up their grills with hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, and of course, brats (short for bratwurst, a German sausage that is especially popular in Wisconsin)  to incentivize donors to keep giving to feed hungry families.

This creative idea was sparked by Jane Marita, a plant molecular geneticist, who wanted to add some energy and excitement to the 2011 Feds Feed Families Campaign. By offering her co-workers free brats in exchange for food pantry donations, Marita noticed a marked increase in donations which resulted in a tremendous total of 2,800 pounds of food collected by the research center in 2011. Read more »