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Monitoring Bald Eagles to Help Prevent Deaths from Collisions with Wind Turbines

Scientific team's eagle walking across ice toward deer bait before the monitoring device was attached. Photo credit: Teryl G. Grubb, U.S. Forest Service

Scientific team's eagle walking across ice toward deer bait before the monitoring device was attached. Photo credit: Kent Keller

Despite the many benefits which come from clean wind energy, one of the most majestic birds of prey, the eagle, is itself falling prey to the blades of wind-energy facilities. For reasons still not clear to scientists, eagles are vulnerable to collisions with wind turbines, and in some areas such collisions can be a major source of the bird’s mortality.

For this reason a research team led by of U.S. Forest Service scientist Teryl Grubb successfully captured and instrumented the first of six adult bald eagles with GPS devices during a recent winter trapping effort in Michigan. Read more »

Earth Team Volunteers, Conservationists Bring Tree Lessons to Mississippi Classrooms

Members of the Hinds County Earth Team group gathered at Van Winkle Elementary School to give an environmental education program.

Members of the Hinds County Earth Team group gathered at Van Winkle Elementary School to give an environmental education program.

Trees are important natural resources—this is the lesson that a dedicated group of volunteers shared last week with Mississippi youngsters. Read more »

Sweet Success: USDA Support Pushes Nebraska Exporter to Greater Heights

Emil Font, the president of Nebraska-based U.S. agricultural exporting company Good Life Foods, showcases one of the many snack food products his company promotes to overseas markets at the Auckland Food Fair in New Zealand. Participating in USDA-endorsed trade shows is just one of many was that the Foreign Agricultural Service has helped Good Life Foods thrive internationally for more than 20 years.  Photo courtesy of Good Life Foods.

Emil Font, the president of Nebraska-based U.S. agricultural exporting company Good Life Foods, showcases one of the many snack food products his company promotes to overseas markets at the Auckland Food Fair in New Zealand. Participating in USDA-endorsed trade shows is just one of many was that the Foreign Agricultural Service has helped Good Life Foods thrive internationally for more than 20 years. Photo courtesy of Good Life Foods.

After more than two decades of exporting U.S. agricultural products, Good Life Foods is thriving internationally with support from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Read more »

Faith in Place recently secured a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant to operate winter farmers markets.

Faith in Place recently secured a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant to operate winter farmers markets.

For 18 years, Tony Ends of Scotch Hill Farm worked hard to develop direct marketing opportunities for his family’s crops and products. For over six of those years, he advocated for other small farms in winter markets that he organized with Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa churches. Trends in farming and the recent recession, which spurred a decline in attendance at some markets, have taken a negative toll on some farm families in the upper Midwest, but Tony hasn’t lost faith. Read more »

Digging the Farm and Finding History

Last spring and summer I had the opportunity to investigate two 1,000 year old archeological sites on a Montgomery County farm. Working with me were archeologists from Troy University and Auburn University at Montgomery, their students and volunteers from the Alabama Archeological Society. Our goal was to determine if the two sites were important to understanding the prehistory of Alabama and should be preserved.

Troy University students conduct shovel tests in an attempt to discover how far the archeological site extends into the woods from the row crop field.

Troy University students conduct shovel tests in an attempt to discover how far the archeological site extends into the woods from the row crop field.

I was on the farm because I am the Cultural Resources Specialist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Alabama. The farmer was planning to implement conservation practices on the land with NRCS’ assistance, so my job was to review the property and planned practices to determine whether we’d be adversely affecting the two archeological sites. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: A Thank You to American Agriculture

America’s farmers, ranchers and growers are some of our nation’s greatest assets. Not only do we rely on agriculture for our food, feed, fiber, and fuel, our agricultural producers preserve our environment, and help drive our national economy.

As I travel the country, I often ask folks when they last took a moment to thank or appreciate a farmer. The truth is that we owe a debt of gratitude to the hard working men and women who provide us – and much of the world – with a safe, reliable, affordable, and abundant food supply. Read more »