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An Ag Expert Looks Back at Iraq and Afghanistan

Ryan Brewster served as an agricultural expert in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ryan Brewster served as an agricultural expert in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

This morning at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recognized the efforts of more than 20 USDA employees who served as civilian agricultural experts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The agricultural experts were part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to provide civilian assistance abroad to help promote long-term economic development. 

One of those agricultural experts, Ryan Brewster, served for nearly three years in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Here are his recollections: Read more »

USDA Recovery Act Funding Buoys Broadband Expectations for Rural Illinois

USDA Rural Development’s Illinois State Director Colleen Callahan along with Gov. Pat Quinn, Gibson City  contractor Mike Sizemore, and school technology director Terry Sullivan talk about the benefit of high-speed Internet coming to 11 rural Illinois counties thanks to  a Recovery Act Broadband award.

USDA Rural Development’s Illinois State Director Colleen Callahan along with Gov. Pat Quinn, Gibson City contractor Mike Sizemore, and school technology director Terry Sullivan talk about the benefit of high-speed Internet coming to 11 rural Illinois counties thanks to a Recovery Act Broadband award.

The excitement was readily apparent when Rural Development Illinois State Director Colleen Callahan and Governor Pat Quinn announced Aug. 31 that 66,000 Cellular One customers in 11 east central Illinois counties would be getting high speed Internet service.  Read more »

Teaming Up in the Challenge to Bring Healthier Meals to Schools

Ending childhood obesity within a generation is the central goal of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative. We know achieving this goal requires all of us to work together – parents, teachers, schools, chefs, community leaders, Federal, State and local elected officials and our children – there’s a role for each of us to play. Read more »

Administrator Canales Tours Kentucky Manufacturer that is a Shining Example of Recovery Act Success

USDA Administrator Judy Canales (second from right) tours the McKechnie Vehicle Components  plant in Nicholasville, Ky. and is shown some of the automotive parts made on site. Administrator Canales toured the plant  with U.S. Rep. Ben Chander , Nicholasville Mayor Russell Meyer, Jeff Ball of Citizens Commerce Bank and Tom Fern, State Director for Rural Development.

USDA Administrator Judy Canales (second from right) tours the McKechnie Vehicle Components plant in Nicholasville, Ky. and is shown some of the automotive parts made on site. Administrator Canales toured the plant with U.S. Rep. Ben Chander , Nicholasville Mayor Russell Meyer, Jeff Ball of Citizens Commerce Bank and Tom Fern, State Director for Rural Development.

While touring the facilities of McKechnie Vehicle Components in Kentucky last month, USDA Rural Business and Cooperative Programs Administrator Judy Canales got up close and personal with many of the company’s employees whose jobs were saved thanks to assistance from Rural Development and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Read more »

Deputy Secretary Merrigan Celebrates Recovery Summer at New Senior Living Community in Boulder City, Nevada

From Left to Right:  Lakeview Terrace Owners Gary Lanzen and Allan Richardson are joined by Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, U.S. Senator Harry Reid, Congresswoman Dina Titus, and Lakeview Terrace General Manager Teri  Stoneback in cutting the ribbon at the Grand Opening Celebration.

From Left to Right: Lakeview Terrace Owners Gary Lanzen and Allan Richardson are joined by Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, U.S. Senator Harry Reid, Congresswoman Dina Titus, and Lakeview Terrace General Manager Teri Stoneback in cutting the ribbon at the Grand Opening Celebration.

The residents of the recently opened Lakeview Terrace Senior Living Community in Boulder City, Nevada, were delighted late last month, to share their opinions of their new home with special guests Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, U.S. Senator Harry Reid, and Congresswoman Dina Titus, who were together at the facility to cut the ribbon at the grand opening ceremony.  More than sixty attended. Read more »

USDA Representatives Go into the Fields to Get Accurate Yield Forecasts

Charlie Ingram, Director of NASS Enumerator Program at National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, preparing a plot in Colorado for wheat objective yield measurements.

Charlie Ingram, Director of NASS Enumerator Program at National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, preparing a plot in Colorado for wheat objective yield measurements.

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 the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

When I was growing up on the farm in South Carolina, my family used a very simple method of estimating our production. As long as we planted the same acreage, we assumed that we were getting the same amount of crops at harvest time. But while this approach is still used on some farms, it is impossible to use these assumptions to get reliable state and national production estimates. So how does the USDA go about measuring the yields to get an accurate forecast for the annual crop production? Read more »