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Posts tagged: Montana

Montana Seed Growers “Sow” Importance of Organic Farming

Anna Jones-Crabtree and Doug Crabtree discuss soil health with NRCS Soil Conservationist Amy Kaiser. NRCS photo.

Anna Jones-Crabtree and Doug Crabtree discuss soil health with NRCS Soil Conservationist Amy Kaiser. NRCS photo.

When Anna Jones-Crabtree and Doug Crabtree founded Vilicus Farms in 2009, they snagged the farm’s name from Latin, as “vilicus” means steward. Anna and Doug are definitely stewards of their 1,200-acre organic farm near Havre, Mont.

In a region where wheat is the primary crop and stretches as far as the eye can see, Vilicus Farms is unique. They work on a five-year rotation of about 15 different crops, including flax, lentils, oats, red spring wheat, durum, sweet clover, vetch, peas, rye, winter wheat, buckwheat, safflower, sunflower, spring peas and chickling vetch.

The farm is divided into strips about one mile long and 240 feet wide, and the Crabtrees grow one crop in each strip. Between the strips are untilled sections of native grazing land that serve as buffers to catch snow in the winter for added moisture. Read more »

Forest Service Wildlife Biologist Works to Conserve Fishers, Civil War History

U.S. Forest Service biologist Betsy Howell is highlighted in Faces of the Forest, a special feature by the agency. (Courtesy Betsy Howell)

U.S. Forest Service biologist Betsy Howell is highlighted in Faces of the Forest, a special feature by the agency. (Courtesy Betsy Howell)

Betsy Howell has a professional and personal interest in conserving two diverse parts of U.S. history.

As a wildlife biologist on the Olympic National Forest in Washington State she focuses part of her work on the history and future of the fisher, a member of the weasel family considered threatened and endangered.

As a Civil War re-enactor and author, she works to preserve an integral part of our history as a nation. Read more »

Why Rural Health Matters Today, and Every Day

Today is National Rural Health Day, and I’m giving a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to talk about what USDA Rural Development has done to strengthen access to health care in our rural communities, as well as carry a message from President Obama on the importance of this day.

Critical care infrastructure is a challenge in any community, and in our rural areas it is often compounded by distances that are unthinkable to those who live in our urban centers. Take Alaska, for example: Yesterday we announced investments to bring an ambulance and emergency medical equipment to St. Paul Island in the Bering Sea. The nearest hospital facility is almost 800 miles away in Anchorage. That’s like someone in Illinois having to come to Washington, D.C. for medical care. Read more »

Prince Follows Great-Grandfather’s Steps through the Forest

Prince Albert II of Monaco poses in between Wapiti District Ranger Sue Stresser and Shoshone Forest Supervisor Joe Alexander. (U.S. Forest Service/ Kristie Salzmann)

Prince Albert II of Monaco poses in between Wapiti District Ranger Sue Stresser and Shoshone Forest Supervisor Joe Alexander. (U.S. Forest Service/ Kristie Salzmann)

On a beautiful fall day on America’s first national forest, Prince Albert II of Monaco retraced the steps his great-grandfather took 100 years ago through the wilderness of the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming.

Prince Albert II helped celebrate on Sept. 20 the centennial anniversary of the hunting trip his great-grandfather, Prince Albert I, took with now-historic figures William “Buffalo Bill” Cody and Abraham Archibald Anderson, the first Special Superintendent of Forest Reserves. The successful hunting trip cemented lasting relationships between the men and established an area in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, which is still known today as Camp Monaco. Read more »

Forest Service Program Introduces Kids to Natural Resource Careers

Two students with the Youth Forest Monitoring Program monitor the impact of weeds in a meadow near Webb Lake in the Scapegoat Wilderness. Forest Service photo.

Two students with the Youth Forest Monitoring Program monitor the impact of weeds in a meadow near Webb Lake in the Scapegoat Wilderness. Forest Service photo.

In an age where technology tends to focus the attention of youth indoors, getting kids outdoors and interested in natural resource careers is even more vital today.

Since 1998, an innovative U.S. Forest Service seven-week summer program in central Montana has been achieving that goal by immersing high school students in forest management. They gather data and present findings to Forest Service officials and other representatives in their local communities.

Students involved with the Youth Forest Monitoring Program spend the summer monitoring the health of the national forests at a variety of different locations in the area, but one of the high points is their three-day trip into the Scapegoat Wilderness on the Helena National Forest northwest of Lincoln, Mont. Though the area isn’t far from where many of these students have grown up, the trip gives them the opportunity to experience a protected area many had never visited before. Earlier this year, 13 students along with four field instructors were there to gather data on recreation impacts, water quality and document the spread of invasive weeds. Read more »

Conservation Innovation Grant Produces Carbon Farming Opportunities in North Dakota

A Missouri Coteau wetland near Bismarck, N.D., in the heart of the Prairie Pothole Region. Credit: Jim Ringelman, Ducks Unlimited, used with permission.

A Missouri Coteau wetland near Bismarck, N.D., in the heart of the Prairie Pothole Region. Credit: Jim Ringelman, Ducks Unlimited, used with permission.

The Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana provides sanctuary to millions of nesting waterfowl each summer. With an innovative partnership led by Ducks Unlimited (DU), USDA is helping to provide new opportunities for agricultural producers in the region to sequester carbon while cultivating new revenue streams.

With the help of a grant from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, these partners have created a carbon credit system for private landowners in North Dakota who agree to avoid tillage of grasslands. Grasslands store carbon dioxide, one of the leading greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.

The North Dakota Prairie Pothole project, funded by a USDA Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) of $161,000, provides potential new revenue streams for landowners while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon sequestration. Read more »