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.
Farmers across the nation are searching for ways to increase farm income. In Alabama, small and limited-resource dairy goat farmers are boosting the bottom line by adopting “value-added” production techniques to their products.
With the help of researchers and Extension educators from Alabama A&M University and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) provides funding to support this work through an Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant for Agricultural Economics and Rural Communities. And this program is now seeking applications for FY 2013 funding. Read more »
A seasonal high tunnel, built with assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, helps the Hooks to expand their growing season.
Alphonso (Al) Hooks, a farmer from the Milstead community near Shorter, Ala. has expanded his produce-growing-and-processing operation from a small local concern to also being a supply source for regional Walmart stores.
A few years ago, Hooks formed Al Hooks Produce, a local cooperative involving him, his son, Demetrius, and four other local growers. The cooperative pools produce (mostly peas, cabbage and greens like collards and turnip greens) from the five farms for distribution to restaurants, grocery stores and nearby farmer’s markets, after it is washed and packaged in Hooks’ processing facility. Read more »
Volunteer Mimi Barkley of Houston, Ala., removes litter from the banks of Smith Lake during the Alabama Power Company’s Renew Our Rivers campaign to clean-up Alabama Waterways in June 2008. Through the hard work of volunteers, approximately 180 tons of litter has been removed from more than 166 river miles within the Winston County area (Photo courtesy of LaVerne Matheson).
The beauty of a partnership involves dedicated partners on both sides. The volunteers with the Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy Group donate their time each year to protect shorelines on the Bankhead National Forest, an effort greatly appreciated by the forest’s staff. Read more »
Gopher tortoise laying eggs on freshly cultivated field.
Gopher tortoises are fairly elusive creatures. Usually the only sign you see of them is their burrows or ravaged foliage.
But recently a Mobile, Ala., tortoise allowed Marshall Colburn, a Soil Conservation Technician with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a rare, up-close-and-personal moment as she laid her eggs in a freshly cultivated field. Read more »
Roads and bridges are vital links that connect communities to their national forests. For residents living near the Bankhead and Talladega National Forests, their drive to the woods is now safer while also protecting natural resources thanks to recent construction projects for two forest bridges.
The Forest Service replaced the Pine Glen Bridge near Helflin, Ala., on the Talladega National Forest with funding support from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The Forest Service also supported the construction of the Brushy Creek Bridge near Double Springs, Ala., on the Bankhead National Forest. The projects employed local community workers who built the bridges which are now helping to improve habitat for fish and other aquatic organisms, reducing sediment deposits in the local streams and rivers, and improving access for visitors. Read more »
Volunteers on the Talladega National Forest work to help keep forest recreation areas like the Pine Glen campgrounds clean and ready for visitors. U.S. Forest Service photo.
Volunteers play an integral part in helping the Forest Service reach its annual goals in managing healthy national forests. And on Alabama’s Talladega National Forest, three exceptional volunteers have dedicated countless hours towards this work: John Calhoun, Ray Bittle and Charles Laminack. Read more »