Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Remembering Dr. Charles E. Kellogg, Soil Scientist and Chief of USDA’s Bureau of Chemistry and Soils

Ann Mills and Stephen Kellogg, grandson of the late Dr. Charles E. Kellogg, unveiling plaque dedicating the Dr. Charles E. Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory in Lincoln, Neb. USDA photo.

Ann Mills and Stephen Kellogg, grandson of the late Dr. Charles E. Kellogg, unveiling plaque dedicating the Dr. Charles E. Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory in Lincoln, Neb. USDA photo.

Recently, I had the honor of presiding at the Dedication of the Dr. Charles E. Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory in Lincoln, Neb.  The laboratory is part of the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) National Soil Survey Center and serves as the primary source for the Nation’s soil information. With the recent celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the US Department of Agriculture, it struck me as a perfect place and a perfect time to honor both the work and the larger than life soil scientist, Dr. Charles E. Kellogg. His vision was one that was ahead of its time and the opportunity to revisit his ideas and remind everyone just how great a man and scientist he was, gave me great pride and enjoyment. Read more »

Data Dashboards: Bringing More Market Information to Life

A screenshot of the Boxed Beef Dashboard. The livestock dashboards allow you to see weekly volume and price information presented in graphs and tables that can be customized for viewing and downloaded for use in reports and presentations.

A screenshot of the Boxed Beef Dashboard. The livestock dashboards allow you to see weekly volume and price information presented in graphs and tables that can be customized for viewing and downloaded for use in reports and presentations.

It has been said that the most successful person in life (and in business) is often the one who has the best information.  For almost a century USDA Market News has been providing farmers, ranchers and businesses with the best market and pricing information.  Our real-time commodity reports, produced by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), provide quick and easy access to volume and price information for boxed beef, cattle, hogs, and sheep.

Over the years, our reports have evolved to better meet the changing demands of the farmers and ranchers who rely on our data to remain competitive.  In the summer of 2010, we launched the first of our livestock data dashboards, providing a highly customized experience for our data consumers.

The Boxed Beef Dashboard, the newest addition to the Livestock and Grain Market News dashboards, includes a lot of the same great tools that have made our other dashboards so popular—interactive features for querying and viewing information, like navigation tabs, slide bars, graphs, tables, and daily market tickers.

A unique feature on the new Boxed Beef Dashboard displays a diagram of a steer that dynamically illustrates the area of the animal the cut of meat comes from. It also shows a color photograph and brief description of the wholesale beef cut, providing quick visual cues to help sort and sift the information more quickly.

Like all of our dashboards, it also offers a range of options to download and export custom datasets, giving you only the datapoints that are most meaningful to you.  The users’ guide provides a feature-by-feature overview of the dashboard and is a great place to start if you’re new to the datasets.

USDA Market News has been providing market information on cotton, dairy, livestock and grains, poultry and eggs, and fruits and vegetables for over 90 years. By visiting USDA Market News you can view hundreds of pre-made commodity reports—including the livestock dashboards—or create a custom report to see only the information you need.

Get the same insight as other industry insiders—visit the livestock dashboards.

USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager Visits Maine Community Development Projects

USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager had a unique opportunity to see the many dynamic things happening in rural Maine communities during his visit earlier this month. Each of the projects he visited represented a different way in which USDA Rural Development’s Programs are playing valuable roles, providing a multitude of benefits, including renewable energy, business sustainability, job creation and retention, distance learning, and telemedicine.

USDA Officials tour a new USDA-funded wind project that meets much of the power needs of a Maine island.

USDA Officials tour a new USDA-funded wind project that meets much of the power needs of a Maine island.

For example, I joined the Under Secretary and the Northeast Region State Directors on a ferry to Vinalhaven, a remote island community 12 miles off the coast of Maine. Once there, we were greeted by Town Manager Marjorie Stratton, and led on tours of the Fox Islands Wind site by Fox Islands Wind CEO George Baker, and COO Bill Alcorn. The three immense wind turbines will generate about as much clean renewable wind power as the Fox Islands use, which is between 10 and 10.5 million kilowatt hours per year. USDA Rural Development provided funding support to make possible the total $14 million wind turbine project. Read more »

A Pennsylvania Family Celebrates June Homeownership Month with USDA Officials

Pennsylvania Rural Development  State Director Tom Williams (far left) and Acting Administrator for Rural Business Services John Padalino (far right), celebrated National Homeownership Month with Rural Development Housing Loan Recipient Willie Hall and his family at their new  home in Chambersburg.

Pennsylvania Rural Development State Director Tom Williams (far left) and Acting Administrator for Rural Business Services John Padalino (far right), celebrated National Homeownership Month with Rural Development Housing Loan Recipient Willie Hall and his family at their new home in Chambersburg.

Willie Hall and his family are enjoying the American Dream and USDA Rural Development has been with him along the way. Willie was a tenant at Roxbury Ridge Apartments, a Rural Development Multi-Family Housing complex in Shippensburg for many years. He recently accepted a full time position and took the step forward from rental housing to homeownership with the help of a Rural Development Direct low interest home loan. Willie and his family of five are now settled into a 3-bedroom home in a quiet Chambersburg suburb. Read more »

Forest Products Lab Hosts Important Wood-to-Energy Roundtable with Deputy Under Secretary Butch Blazer

Arthur “Butch” Blazer, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, paid a visit to the U.S. Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wis., recently to convene an important roundtable discussion on wood-to-energy concerns in Wisconsin and the Midwest.

Among the participants were wood scientists and technology transfer authorities from FPL and Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, representatives from the logging and paper industries, academics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Resource Center, state natural resources officials, and other national and regional Forest Service officials. Read more »

Barley’s Biofuel Bang

ARS chemical engineer Akwasi Boateng (right) and mechanical engineer Neil Goldberg (center) adjust pyrolysis process conditions while chemist Charles Mullen (left) loads the reactor with bioenergy feedstock.

ARS chemical engineer Akwasi Boateng (right) and mechanical engineer Neil Goldberg (center) adjust pyrolysis process conditions while chemist Charles Mullen (left) loads the reactor with bioenergy feedstock.

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.

Although corn is perhaps the most familiar player on the American biofuel scene, scientists with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) say in the long run, barley and its byproducts could prove to be a viable renewable fuel option. Read more »