Shawnee National Forest’s Camel Rock is as depicted on the United States Mint’s new America the Beautiful Quarter.
When hiking through amazing sandstone rock formations in the U.S. Forest Service’s Shawnee National Forest, in Illinois, one particular formation inevitably catches your attention, a camel stoically perched overlooking a spectacular landscape. It is this striking image, called Camel Rock, that was selected to represent the Shawnee National Forest on the newest America the Beautiful Quarter.
Started in 2010, each year the United States Mint issues a quarter with the reverse (tails) side depicting a national site or park. The Shawnee is one of only five national forests to be recognized in the program. Read more »
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Secretary Vilsack thanked the employees of USDA for their work in support of Dr. King’s life and legacy of service to the American people. You can read his letter below:
On Monday, we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man whose legacy in support of a unified and equal America gives profound meaning to what our efforts in public service can and should look like. Dr. King believed we are each stronger when we lift up our neighbors. He lived his life advocating on behalf of the idea that we are better as a nation when no one is left behind.
As we enter the final year of this Administration and I begin to look back on the progress we’ve made as a Department, I’d like to reflect on the ways the dedicated employees of USDA have honored Dr. King’s dream by creating opportunities for—and upholding the unalienable rights of—every American. Read more »
U.S. Forest Service assistance on beehive construction and honey production can conserve tree cover while providing alternative sources of income and food for local households. (Photo credit Mr. Richard Adupong)
All over the world, deforestation and forest degradation are under the microscope because together they comprise the second greatest driver of climate change. If you focus on the country of Ghana, you’ll find one of the highest deforestation rates in Africa.
In fact, the country has lost nearly 90 percent of its original forests. The losses are due to a variety of factors including wood extraction and agricultural expansion. The remaining forests are home to forest elephants, Diana monkeys and many types of rare, endemic amphibians—and many rural communities that often struggle to support their families. Read more »
The berry impact recording device (BIRD) was developed with a blueberry’s size, shape, weight, and external texture. BIRD records the rough ride berries take from harvest to the market so producers can find and eliminate sources of yield loss. (Photo courtesy of Changying Li)
Although automation in agriculture is often synonymous with efficiency, that has not been the case with harvesting and processing berries. That is about to change.
Automated berry processing systems often damage the fruit, which results in lower profitability for growers and marketers. To counter this, a University of Georgia (UGA)-led research team is developing an advanced sensor system to help harvest and process fresh-market highbush blueberries at high-speed and with low yield loss. Read more »
The Market Information for the Organization of the Americas (MIOA) members also toured the local wholesale market, Centrais de Abastecimento do Distrito Federal S.A (CEASA-DF) in Brasilia, Brazil. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Fruit and Vegetable Programs Market News Chief of the International Reports Section Dr. Luis Palmer (second from right with blue shirt) tours the market with MIOA members. Photo by Francisco Stuckert, CONAB
Over the last 25 years, the American farmer has become increasingly aware of the impact of South American agricultural output on the global supply of grains and oilseeds. For example, in recent years Brazil has risen to the number one position as an exporter of soybeans. Further, the combined output of Brazil and its neighbors, Argentina and Paraguay, is challenging the United States’ position as the world’s leading supplier of corn.
Brazil is unique in that it has a relatively stable agricultural output trend due to improving production techniques, and in most years, abundant rainfall for production of various crops. The climate and cropping patterns are behind the increases in agricultural production, which were made possible by the shift of production into regions less prone to drought. There is also the potential for expansion into untapped lands, although infrastructure and land ownership issues are a limiting factor. Meantime, thanks to ample rainfall and land resources enjoyed by producers, Brazil has the potential to become an agricultural powerhouse for years to come. Read more »
Kentucky Highlands Promise Zone invests in local foods.
As a law student, I spent a summer working and living with the Sokoagon Band of the Chippewa, a Native American tribe located in rural Northern Wisconsin. Tribal leaders and members extended to me their kindness, friendship, passion and laughter. They are some of our country’s finest.
But, make no mistake, the Sokoagon face challenges shared by many persistently poor rural communities across our country.
That summer, I saw with new eyes the importance of dependable and consistent employment, housing, health care systems and education. That summer I also saw that for many rural Americans these things, taken for granted by many, are luxuries. Read more »