Cogongrass, a nonnative invasive plant, infesting a southern pine plantation. (photo by Chris Evans, courtesy of Forestry Images)
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.
Nonnative plants have hitchhiked their way into flower beds, gardens, and yards of landowners in the South for decades, invading and often harming forests and other natural areas by pushing out native plants and degrading wildlife habitat. These exotic plants often reduce forest productivity, wildlife diversity, and water quality and quantity. Read more »
What better time than National Homeownership Month to host a housing development workshop? Local officials in Pike County, Alabama, recognized the shortage of available housing for individuals and families interested in relocating to the area because of the hundreds of new job opportunities resulting from recent industry announcements and existing business expansions. As one of the steps to help address this housing issue, the Pike County Economic Development Corporation (PCEDC) hosted a housing development workshop last week.
During the workshop, lenders, realtors, and developers learned about a variety of Federal and State programs to finance single family and multi-tenant housing. Representatives of USDA Rural Development shared detailed information and met one-on-one with individuals following the workshop to answer their specific questions. General questions about eligibility criteria, “green-building” programs and incentives, zoning issues, and rehabilitation of existing multi-tenant housing were raised during the workshop. Read more »
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined Obama Administration Cabinet members Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, as well as Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate, Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, and other state and local officials to tour areas in Alabama and Mississippi affected by last week’s tornadoes.
After visiting devastated sites in Birmingham and nearby areas, the group crossed over to Mississippi, where they surveyed the damage done to Smithville, a town of approximately 1000 that was almost literally wiped off the map. Read more »
Everyone has heard the children’s story of the “Little Engine that Could” that made the long journey to the top of the hill by pure determination and can-do attitude. But have you heard the story about the “Little School that Could”? Read more »
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.
1935: It was the year when baseball legend Babe Ruth hung up his spikes, and New Deal programs like the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps extended a helping hand to a nation devastated by the Dust Bowl and gripped by the Great Depression. Read more »
Sometimes those of us in Washington DC take ourselves too seriously. I’ve fallen into that trap more than once. So, when it came time to shoot our video on the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) hoop house offering, launched last year as part of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, we decided to have some fun. On a beautiful late November day, I joined White House chef Sam Kass to put small hoops over the garden beds at the First Lady’s garden. This video captures the fun we had.
One of the most underestimated tools in politics, leadership and life is a sense of humor — the ability to laugh not just at others but at ourselves. More than ever, we need humor’s deflationary influence in the nation’s capital. It’s an essential release valve, a check on all the overheated rhetoric and a bridge to real dialogue.
Mark Twain got it right when he said, “against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”
Humor alone can’t solve our problems. But it can open the door to greater civility, a little more humanity and some much-needed productivity in our nation’s governance.