This is one of more than 75 charts and maps in Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials from USDA’s Economic Research Service, compiling a set of key statistics on the ag and food sectors and the rural economy. Each chart in the collection includes accompanying text.
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.
With the abundance of news and information on the food and agriculture sector, sometimes it is helpful to take a step back and look at the big picture. You might be a seasoned expert on food, agriculture, or the rural economy, or you may have just a general knowledge. In any case, there are a number of key indicators that will bring you up to speed on a range of basic questions.
How much, for example, do agriculture and related industries contribute to the U.S. economy? Which commodities are our main agricultural exports? What share of their household incomes do Americans spend on food? How do job earnings in rural areas compare with metro areas? How much of our Nation’s water does agriculture consume? Read more »
Americans know the importance of forests to our communities and our economy. They provide jobs and recreational opportunities, filter our air and water, and make up essential habitat for wildlife and natural resources. But increasingly, we’re also recognizing that forests play an important role in mitigating climate change.
Recently, President Obama announced a Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare for the impacts of climate change on our communities and economy, and lead international efforts to combat global climate change. This plan recognizes that America’s forests play a critical role in addressing carbon pollution, absorbing as much as 14 percent of our country’s greenhouse gas emissions each year. Over the last several decades, forest regrowth on former farm lands, reforestation, and maturing forests have kept our forest growth rates high, helping us absorb even more carbon. Read more »
A blue heron on the Choptank River in Maryland, one of the benchmark watersheds that USDA researchers are evaluating as part of the Conservation Effects Assessment Project.
USDA researchers are working together to protect and conserve our beautiful nation and all of its majestic natural resources for generations to come. As part of USDA’s Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP), more than 60 USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are working together to gain a better understanding of the role that agricultural conservation programs and practices play in achieving our nation’s environmental objectives of clean air and water, healthy soils and flourishing natural habitats.
USDA began the CEAP program in 2003 to study the environmental benefits of conservation practices implemented through 2002 Farm Bill programs. As part of CEAP, ARS scientists are evaluating 14 watersheds across 12 ARS locations to provide the additional scientific basis for the CEAP National Assessment being led by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Those watersheds were selected in part to address specific concerns, like manure management on animal feeding operations, water use on irrigated cropland, drainage water management, wildlife habitat and riparian restoration. These watershed studies also should help develop performance measures for estimating soil, water and air quality, and perhaps other potential benefits for specific conservation practices. Read more »
Alberto Moreno, a U.S. Forest Service supervisory forester, stands in the Spin Ghar Mountain range at the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan by the Khyber Pass. (Photo courtesy Alberto Moreno)
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, sitting in a small Cessna about to go airborne, the pilot suddenly slowed the plane and aborted the takeoff. He said he had received orders that all flights had been grounded and that any airplanes that did not comply would be shot down by the Air Force.
The United States was under attack.
At the time, my job had been with the Arkansas Forest Inventory and Analysis survey program monitoring plots on the Mississippi Delta. I spent the rest of that day tracking my crews working in the field, and like the rest of the world, tried to comprehend the events as they unfolded. Read more »
The Mountain Fire in the San Bernardino National Forest in California began on July 15, 2013 and consumed 27, 531 acres until it was 100 percent contained on July 30. The U.S. Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response Team is now conducting a rapid assessment of the fire area to assess the damage. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
This blog is part of a series from the U.S. Forest Service on its wildland firefighting program to increase awareness about when and how the agency suppresses fires, to provide insights into the lives of those fighting fires, and to explain some of the cutting-edge research underway on fire behavior. Check back to the USDA Blog during the 2013 wildfire season for new information. Additional resources are available at www.fs.fed.us/wildlandfire/.
The U.S. Forest Service has managed wildland fire for more than 100 years. As the world’s premiere wildland fire organization, the agency provides critically needed resources and expertise to protect at-risk communities. From ‘boots on the ground,’ to airtanker drops overhead, to groundbreaking research in the lab, Forest Service personnel around the country are ready to answer the call of duty.
The Forest Service launched a new wildland fire website with insightful information to help you learn about all these Forest Service activities from before, during and after a wildland fire. You’ll read about how the Forest Service feeds its firefighters, how they live while in fire camp and about the state-of-the-art technology they use while protecting natural resources and communities. Read more »
The aftermath of "mudders" driving their vehicles through a pristine meadow on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington. Participants could face charges including malicious mischief and fines up to and including paying for the costs of restoration. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
Mudders, take note: It is against the law to tear up forest roads and meadows for fun, and the legal and financial consequences can be steep. Tearing up high-country meadows with four-wheel-drive and off-road vehicles destroys wildlife habitat and ecosystems.
During a recent investigation, Forest Service law enforcement officers gathered information about mudding that occurred over Memorial Day weekend on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest at Buck Lake Campground, near Winthrop, Wash. Read more »