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.
One of the most exciting aspects of my job as the head of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and an advocate for statistical literacy is to see students coming into the profession of statistics. We are fortunate, according to Bob Rodriguez, past-president of the American Statistical Association (ASA) in a column published in ASA’s AMSTATNEWS, “that the number of students majoring or minoring in statistics is soaring because of positive experiences in AP Statistics courses. The word is out that statistics is a ‘must’.”
Engaging students even earlier than high school is important not only for developing future statisticians but also so that they understand the importance of responding to surveys. Both private and government statistics, including those about agriculture from my agency, are dependent on voluntary survey response. Read more »
This 12-acre constructed wetland provides wildlife habitat for migrating waterfowl and a nesting area for animals.
Editor’s Note: As USDA shares stories of program accomplishments from across the country, Secretary Vilsack continues to remind Americans of the importance of the Farm Bill to many of these efforts. The success of the Wetlands Reserve Program in Iowa and across the nation is another reminder of the importance of Farm Bill programs for rural America. A comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy – and Secretary Vilsack continues to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill done as soon as possible.
A unique wetland in northeastern Iowa is helping to filter out upland sediment and other agricultural runoff flowing into the Little Cedar River. The wetland, on a farm outside Charles City, is also preserving the land and providing a wildlife haven.
In 2009, landowner Carol Savage enrolled about 70 percent of the 200-acre farm in a permanent easement through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Wetlands Reserve Program, in the process expanding an already-present wetland on the property. Read more »
(L to R) Administrator Trevino; Christine Rutherford, Peoples Bank and Trust; Stefanie Koester, homeowner; Janie Dunning, Missouri Rural Development State Director; Mike Mullen, Equitable Mortgage; Pam Anglin, Missouri Housing Program Director and Corey Husak, Senator Claire McCaskill’s Office. USDA photos.
Tammye Treviño, USDA Rural Development Administrator for Rural Housing Programs participated in a three-day tour throughout Illinois, Iowa and Missouri last month to highlight National Homeownership Month, a time when USDA, its federal partners and members of housing communities all across the country bring attention to the role housing plays in the economy.
As part of this tour Administrator Treviño visited Pilot Grove Savings Bank in Mount Pleasant to recognize the bank for using USDA Rural Development’s Guaranteed Rural Housing program to assist rural Iowans achieve their homeownership goals. Pilot Grove Savings Bank became an approved lender in 2001 and has used the USDA program to assist 70 families in obtaining a home in rural Iowa. Read more »
Ken Mouw created a shelterbelt 10 years ago on his Elk Point, S.D. as a way to fortify his farm against the harsh winter winds.
South Dakota’s harsh winters can be tough on a farm or ranch, and conservation improvements like a shelterbelt can help shield buildings, crops and livestock from the wind and snow. Ken Mouw, a CEO-turned-farmer, has used a shelterbelt—a band of trees and shrubs—to protect his Elk Point, S.D. farm against rough weather over the past 10 years.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Union County Conservation District helped Mouw design the shelterbelt, consisting of trees and shrubs of different heights and densities that all work together to protect from the northern and western winds, keeping snow from collecting in his driveway during a snow storm. Read more »
Pictured in Minburn, Iowa, are John Padalino and Deb Lucht, general manager, Minburn Communications. USDA recently helped finance a telecommunications upgrade in Minburn. Minburn Communications also announced last month that it would be Iowa’s third Village Post Office, a partnership program with the U.S. Postal Service to assist communities facing a reduction in hours at their local post office. Minburn’s post office is now open only four hours a day. Customers with basic postal needs can visit Minburn Communications nine hours a day for assistance. USDA Photo.
USDA Rural Development and Iowa’s Xenia Rural Water District earlier this spring announced an agreement that will set the rural water utility on a path to financial viability, while continuing to provide clean water for its 9,400 customers in 11 counties in central and north central Iowa.
During the last three-and-a-half years, USDA worked closely with Xenia in an effort to improve its operations, address financial shortfalls and ensure access to clean water for its rural customers. Read more »
USDA Acting Administrator John Padalino (second from left) along with panel of judges at Great American Water Taste Test. Photo courtesy of the National Rural Water Association. Used with permission.
And the winner … the city of Prairie du Sac in southern Wisconsin for having the best tasting water in rural America. Earlier this week, at the National Rural Water Association’s Water Rally, Prairie du Sac won the coveted gold medal as part of the Great American Water Taste Test.
USDA Rural Utilities Service Acting Administrator John Padalino served on the judging panel. Padalino administers USDA water and environmental programs. Read more »