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Posts tagged: Alabama

A Father’s Day Tribute: The Time My Dad Took My Class on a Hike in the Woods

Noah Scott and his father Andy, a scientist with the U.S. Forest Service.

Noah Scott and his father Andy, a scientist with the U.S. Forest Service.

Recently, U.S. Forest Service scientist Andy Scott took his son’s first-grade class on a nature hike to talk about forestry, soil, and anything else the kids wanted to know. They walked along the newly created Bradford Creek Greenway behind Heritage Elementary School in Madison, Ala. Noah captured the day beautifully. We offer his words as our tribute to Father’s Day.

My Dad came to my classroom before we went outside. He told us to walk only on the path because there was poison ivy off the path and a lot of people thought everything with three leaves was poison ivy.

When we went outside we got to see some leaves from trees and my Dad told us what kind they were. One was pine, one was sweet gum, and one was sassafras. It smelled good when you crumbled it up. Then we found out how you tell how old a tree is. Read more »

Endangered Mississippi Frog Finds a New Home

Pony Ranch Pond, a new home for the dusky gopher frog, is monitored by the National Forests in Mississippi and several cooperators. (Western Carolina University photo/ John A. Tupy)

Pony Ranch Pond, a new home for the dusky gopher frog, is monitored by the National Forests in Mississippi and several cooperators. (Western Carolina University photo/ John A. Tupy)

To most people, the sound heard near Pony Ranch Pond could easily be mistaken as snoring. To local conservation professionals, however, it was more like a song, signifying hope and celebrating a small victory for the nearly extinct dusky gopher frog.

In February, National Forests in Mississippi staff, researchers and volunteers discovered and documented six dusky gopher frogs at the De Soto National Forest pond. One frog, a 5-year-old female, had travelled nearly a mile from nearby Glen’s Pond – until then the only known site where the endangered amphibians live and breed. Read more »

USDA StrikeForce: Expanding Partnerships and Opportunity in Rural Communities

Cross posted from The Huffington Post:

Rural Americans face many unique challenges – and every day, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides assistance to help grow American agriculture and increase opportunity for rural communities. Unfortunately, 90 percent of America’s persistent poverty counties are in rural America–and we can’t allow these areas to be left behind. This week, USDA is further expanding a program to partner with rural communities and regions on projects they support to promote economic growth. Through this initiative, known as the StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity, USDA helps communities leverage their resources to access programs, promote economic development and create more jobs. Read more »

Innovation Helps Fuel Growth for Winter Farmers Markets

A group finishes putting the outer skin on a hoop house in Michigan. The hoop house has helped local farmers lengthen the short Michigan growing season by two full months, giving them additional crops to sell at winter markets.  Photo courtesy Brittain Family Farms.

A group finishes putting the outer skin on a hoop house in Michigan. The hoop house has helped local farmers lengthen the short Michigan growing season by two full months, giving them additional crops to sell at winter markets. Photo courtesy Brittain Family Farms.

This is one of my favorite times of the year.  New and old traditions bring friends and family together to celebrate, cheer for their favorite football teams or just to share a hearty meal and some spirited conversations.  As the weather gets cooler, my family gravitates toward comfort foods and traditional family favorites, picking up fresh ingredients from our local winter farmers market. And, based on the growth in winter market listings this year, we’re not the only ones who have made this a part of our fall and winter traditions. Read more »

Women in Agriculture Teach Others about Value-added Goat Milk Products

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 »

Alabama Co-op Expands Market to Include Walmart

A seasonal high tunnel, built with assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, helps the Hooks to expand their growing season.

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 »