In recent days, Congressional leaders came together with an agreement to provide middle class tax relief and extend protection for two million unemployed Americans.
This agreement provides some relief for all of us who are frustrated with the gridlock that often dominates Washington. It is also good news for the 98 percent of American families and 97 percent of small businesses who were protected from a tax increase.
At the same time, I am disappointed that Congress was unable to pass a multi-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill. Congress did extend some 2008 Farm Bill programs that will prevent a spike in the price of dairy and other commodities. However, the extension fails to provide any of the long-term certainty that we know is vital for rural America. Read more »
As young people that grew up in urban areas, it’s easy to wonder why we, or our peers, should care about the Farm Bill. The truth of the matter is, the Farm Bill affects more than just farmers.
As Congress works to pass a new Farm Bill before the end of the year, it’s crucial to make our voices heard on this important topic.
From the rural youth looking to take over the family farm to the urban gardener looking to grow fresh produce on the rooftop of their apartment building; from aspiring beginning farmers to outdoorsmen; from farmers market lovers to grocery store regulars, the Farm Bill is everywhere. Read more »
Farmers are the ultimate survivors. By definition, their work requires incredible planning, but it also requires creativity. This year, farmers have faced the test of limited summer rains, which have lowered the productivity of many farmers’ yields. With fall approaching, farmers have an opportunity to invest today for better outcomes next year by planting what are called “cover crops.” Not harvested like a main crop, cover crops are mowed to stay on top of the soil or disked in for soil improvements.
Cover crops offer a wide range of benefits: they “trap” nitrogen left behind by fertilizer in the field, which otherwise may be washed away over the winter. They conserve water, improve the quality of soil, suppress weeds, and control insect pests and erosion. Cover crops can also provide an excellent source of animal feed during periods when drought has reduced forage.
USDA science counts conservation research as an important area, so our scientists continually study cover crops, including timely focus on the impacts of drought stress to reduce potential losses in U.S. production capacity. Using a grant provided by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, researchers at Purdue University show that cover crops left on the soil surface after germination in spring will conserve soil moisture acting as a soil cover. This can increase crop yields in dry years and reduce year-to-year variability in yields. Read more »
After spending much of August out of Washington, Congress is back – and rural America is watching closely, hoping for passage of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible.
With farmers facing the worst drought in decades this summer and the current Farm Bill set to expire on September 30 of this year, time is running out for Congress to act.
You and I both know the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Since early this summer, when the Senate passed a comprehensive, multi-year Food Farm and Jobs Act, the Administration has expressed its preference for such comprehensive legislation and urged Congress to act before the current law expires. Read more »
Today, President Obama and I continue doing all we can to help farmers and ranchers impacted by the drought. As Congress comes back to Washington in September we will continue to encourage passage of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible – to give USDA tools to help those who have been impacted by drought, while giving more certainty for farmers and ranchers.
While the drought has taken a toll on agriculture this year, we also know that America’s history of agricultural innovation and research advancement means farmers and ranchers are better-prepared than ever before to mitigate its effects.
USDA scientists and research partners have helped to provide these important new tools for decades – and their work continues today. Read more »
USDA’s Economic Research Service estimates the availability of hundreds of commodities for human consumption. The Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System includes historical as well as recent data. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)
True or false?
- Since 1985, the amount of rice available for Americans to eat has nearly doubled, from 11.6 to 21.2 pounds per person in 2010.
- In 2010, pineapples were America’s favorite canned fruit, and tomatoes were our favorite canned vegetable.
- U.S. milk availability, which peaked at 44.7 gallons per person in 1945, was 20.1 gallons per person in 2010.
Answers (all true) can be found in the Economic Research Service’s Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System—a unique data set revealing the types and amounts of food commodities available for U.S. consumers to eat. Read more »