NRCS Resource Soil Scientist Jeannine Freyman uses a soil profile to highlight differences in soil types and their suitability for agriculture and other uses at a workshop on the New River Hill Farm. Photo: Tracy Goodson.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is celebrating National Volunteer Week April 10-16, 2016, by thanking and honoring its Earth Team volunteers for their service to conservation.
When Otis Donald Philen, Jr. decided to combine his working farm operation with an outdoor classroom, he knew just the group to help―the New River Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).
Philen, director of the SWCD, and other conservation professionals partner with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to improve agricultural education and natural resource protection. In September 2014, New River became the first District in Virginia to own a working farm when Philen deeded a 143-acre tract to the district. Read more »
Cameron Green stands among the tomatoes in the high tunnel she operates with Eric Wittenbach.
Some people leave a legacy for their children. Cameron Green and Eric Wittenbach plan to leave theirs to Mother Nature.
A philosophy of sustainability guides them on their eight-and-a-half-acre farm in Okanogan, Washington. Green and Wittenbach both come from a background of working the land; picking fruit in commercial cherry orchards, pruning and thinning threes, and growing vegetables in the Methow Valley for a local CSA. This has given them a close connection to nature, and when they bought their land eight years ago, their intentions were to make it as sustainable as possible. Read more »
The crop nutrients removed by baling and removing corn stalks can be costly to replace.
Of the several practices USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service recommends to improve soil health and sustainability one of the most important is to keep the soil covered.
In corn and soybean fields, the starting point is maintaining the post-harvest crop residue on the soil surface. Crop residue is plant material remaining after harvesting, including leaves, stalks, and roots. Read more »
The 35,000 square foot U.S. Pavilion at ExpoMilano includes a massive vertical farm that will be harvested daily (photo courtesy of U.S. State Department).
Just like America, Europe is trying to address the challenge of how to feed the 9 billion people who will populate the world by the year 2050. In fact, the theme of ExpoMilano2015 – the world’s fair being held in Milan, Italy, this year – is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” On May 1, the European Union kicked off the Expo with a series of meetings, lectures and discussions surrounding that theme, and I was invited to take part.
The agricultural sector in the EU must produce food for more than 500 million consumers. At the meeting I attended, discussion focused largely on what research priorities should be established to inform the EU’s centralized agricultural policy, specifically on how to achieve three goals: Read more »
Ray Rodriguez, a collaborator from Para la Naturaleza, talks about the rural-urban ecotone and positive outcomes of community action as participants enjoy a birds-eye view overlooking the Río Piedras River Watershed boundaries in the San Juan metropolitan area, the final stop of an urban field trip on May 20 held as part of the Institute’s 75th anniversary celebration. (U.S. Forest Service)
Scientists and community members in Puerto Rico recently celebrated 75 years of tropical forestry research with a diamond jubilee of festivities.
Last month, the International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF) hosted an urban field trip, where participants explored several field stations within and around the Río Piedras River watershed in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to learn about the watershed’s vulnerabilities and values in a social, economic and ecological context from Institute scientists and program collaborators. The field trip was led by Institute Director Ariel E. Lugo. Read more »
Using the USDA Certified Grass-Fed claim as its initial focus, a new USDA program will reduce costs for small producers wanting to market their cattle as USDA certified grass-fed.
Sometimes big things come in small packages. At USDA, we provide programs and services to producers of all sizes – and now we’re offering even more to small-scale and local beef producers. Many small-scale producers are contributing to the growth of the grass-fed beef industry. And, thanks to a new program tailored to meet their needs, they now have another resource in their marketing toolbox.
The USDA Grass Fed Program for Small and Very Small Producers, administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), is designed as a verification tool for small and very small producers to certify that animals meet the requirements of the grass-fed marketing claim standard and will make them eligible to have their products marketed as “USDA Certified Grass Fed Beef”.
With today’s label-conscious, savvy consumers, producers are relying on verified and certified labels to help distinguish their products in the marketplace. This new initiative joins our suite of consumer-trusted verification programs for meat, poultry, and eggs. Read more »