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From the Lion’s Den to the White House

When President Obama honored 94 researchers on Sept. 26 as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, chances are there was only one former pet-shop-manager-turned-zookeeper-turned-scientist in the bunch: Jonathan Lundgren.

Lundgren works at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory at Brookings, S.D., and he’s also the ARS Early Career Scientist of 2010.  He calls himself a “predator ecologist,” but he’s also known within ARS as “the bug detective.” Read more »

American Jobs Act in the Heart of Rural America

Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and President of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council, Bill Gerhard discuss efforts to strengthen the Iowa economy at the Des Moines Morningstar Bridge.

Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and President of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council, Bill Gerhard discuss efforts to strengthen the Iowa economy at the Des Moines Morningstar Bridge.

This past weekend, I traveled to Iowa to meet with local leaders about the urgent need to pass President Obama’s American Jobs Act. Just as in the other states I visited across the country this past month, the folks in Iowa said loud and clear that they are ready to see the economy flourish again and believe this Act will get us back to work. Read more »

¡Hola! ¿Sabías que la Farm Service Agency del USDA ahora está “Tweeting” en Español?

La Agencia de Servicio Agrícola (“Farm Service Agency” o FSA por sus siglas en inglés) del Departamento de Agricultura de Estados Unidos (“United States Department of Agriculture” o USDA),  la agencia gubernamental a cargo de la distribución equitativa de programas y servicios agrícolas para agricultores y ganaderos estadounidenses, recientemente lanzó una cuenta de Twitter en español. Esperamos que Twitter nos ayude a comunicarnos con los agricultores y ganaderos hispanos en una manera nueva. Desde ahora en adelante, vamos a “tweet” la última información sobre los programas y préstamos agrícolas y las designaciones de emergencia. También proporcionaremos a través de Twitter noticias sobre el proceso de reclamaciones para agricultores Hispanos y mujeres agricultoras.

“Estamos entusiasmados de poder ofrecer un espacio que llegue a los Hispanos que no hablan inglés”, dijo el Administrador de la FSA Bruce Nelson. “A medida que la población de agricultores y ganaderos Hispanos continúa creciendo, tenemos que crecer con ellos y proporcionar recursos para ayudar a educar e informar a todos nuestros clientes.” Read more »

Hola! USDA’s Farm Service Agency Tweeting en Español

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA)—the agency responsible for equitably serving all farmers, ranchers, and agricultural partners in the United States with effective agricultural programs—recently launched a Spanish-language Twitter account. We hope it helps to reach Hispanic farmers and ranchers in a new way. We’ll “tweet” the latest information on farm programs, loan announcements and emergency designations. We’ll also issue updates via Twitter on the Hispanic and women farmers claims process.

“We are excited to offer a tool that reaches folks for whom English is not their first language,” said FSA Administrator Bruce Nelson. “As the population of Hispanic farmers and ranchers continues to grow, we need to grow with them and provide resources to help educate and inform all of our customers.” Read more »

USDA and Habitat for Humanity Partner to Build Home for Single Mother in Mountain Iron, Minn.

When the final wall was raised on Jessi Mattila’s new home, it symbolized another step toward homeownership for the mother of three in Mountain Iron, Minn. It also symbolized the strength of a new partnership between USDA Rural Development and the Habitat for Humanity.

Rural Development is financing Mattila’s home through its direct home loan program and the North St. Louis County Habitat for Humanity is partnering with the Mattila family to provide support through the building process. Read more »

AMS Releases Grain Transportation Data in Raw Format

A grain silo in eastern Washington.  AMS has been tracking and gathering datasets for grain transportation for over a decade.  Photo by Sparktography.

Grain in eastern Washington. AMS has been tracking and gathering datasets for grain transportation for over a decade. Photo by Sparktography.

The United States proudly touts a long history of grain production and is the top exporter of grain in the world. Half of our wheat, almost 40 percent of soybeans and almost a fifth of our corn are exported.  That’s why for over a decade the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has been tracking and gathering datasets for grain transportation, including prices, deliveries, movements, sales and freight rates, and now, for the first time, we’ve released our historic data in an excel  format. Read more »