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Redesigning USDA Online

You may have noticed a fresh, new look on USDA.gov last night – we’re excited to announce the launch of our redesigned website!  Our redesign team has been hard at work designing a new look and feel that should make navigating our site more user-friendly and intuitive.  In support of our One USDA approach, we strive to provide a consistent, high value online experience that focuses on our users’ top tasks and requests.  One USDA unifies our mission areas and offices to provide all of our stakeholders with a cutting-edge experience that empowers education, decision-making and action.

Not only did One USDA inspire the design of our new website, it also describes the collaborative redesign process.  Using only in-house expertise and resources, the collaborative effort was led by our Web Communications Division and agency web professionals who contributed to the information architecture and design elements, a significant cost savings for the Department. Read more »

Earth Team—Getting Conservation on the Ground

When landowners have resource problems, they turn to USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and our conservation partners. And when NRCS has challenges, we often turn to our Earth Team volunteers for help. Our more than 30,000 volunteers assist us with conservation planning and technical consultation, outreach and communications, clerical services and hundreds of other tasks.

This is National Volunteer Week and it is the perfect time to recognize our Earth Team volunteers. They do a lot for this agency and our national landscape: They work shoulder-to-shoulder with our conservationists, partners and technicians. They make us a more productive and effective agency and they help create a climate where private lands conservation can continue to succeed. Read more »

USDA Forest Service’s Fuels for Schools program Turns Biomass into Energy

The USDA Forest Service’s Fuels for Schools and Beyond program promotes and encourages the use biomass to energy as a renewable and natural resource.

Recently the U.S. Forest Service recognized the Darby School District in Montana for success in the Fuels for Schools Program for their innovation, cost savings and energy efficiency and in particular Darby High School’s biomass system. It’s part of a pilot program funded by a grant from the Forest Service’s National Fire Plan. In 2003, the Darby School District was the first in the state to have a biomass system. Read more »

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Highlights Trade During Visit to St. Louis

L to R-- Mike Baroni, vice president of economic policy, Archer Daniels Midland Company; Dr. Jon Hagler, director, Missouri Department of Agriculture; Secretary Vilsack; Senator Claire McCaskill; Jim Fisher, pork producer, Fisher Farms

L to R-- Mike Baroni, vice president of economic policy, Archer Daniels Midland Company; Dr. Jon Hagler, director, Missouri Department of Agriculture; Secretary Vilsack; Senator Claire McCaskill; Jim Fisher, pork producer, Fisher Farms

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spent part of last week in St. Louis, Mo., making several stops to promote trade and agriculture and to announce the opening of a new office in St. Louis for the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Read more »

Tracking a “Bad News” Bacterium

Microbiologist Manan Sharma (center) and student Sean Ferguson (left) use a specialized microscope to observe whether fluorescent E. coli cells are internalized into roots of baby spinach plants, while microbiologist David Ingram (right) prepares spinach tissue for observation.

Microbiologist Manan Sharma (center) and student Sean Ferguson (left) use a specialized microscope to observe whether fluorescent E. coli cells are internalized into roots of baby spinach plants, while microbiologist David Ingram (right) prepares spinach tissue for observation.

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 portfolio.

Here’s a vision fit for a nightmare:  a “family reunion” of every type of Escherichia coli. Read more »

Forest Service Honors 2010 Engineers of the Year

The U.S. Forest Service honored the 2010 Engineer of the Year award recipients at a ceremony held in Washington D.C. Monday, April 4, highlighting the scope and scale of the contributions that engineers make to every program across the agency.

This year’s four recipients display a wide-ranging set of work assignments and responsibilities, and fulfill vital roles in their respective areas. Collectively, these four recipients are responsible for elements of construction, recreation and heritage, contracting and contract management, vehicle and fleet operations and administration, training and technical guidance in their respective assignments. The four recipients for 2010 are: Read more »