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Posts tagged: Washington

USDA Small Business Grant Leads to Erosion Control Breakthrough

June through September is wildfire season in the United States and on June 18 there were already 16 active major fires consuming more than 102,000 acres.  As much damage and destruction these fires cause, even more may be on the way when future rains cause mudslides from soil erosion on barren hills.  That’s where “Woodstraw” comes in.

WoodStraw® is a wood-based erosion control product that was developed by Forest Concepts, in Auburn, WA, using a Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) grant administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).  This material is made from low-grade waste wood veneer and resembles oversized pick-up sticks.  Wood-based erosion control products have many advantages over traditional grass straw as an erosion-control material because it is heaver and will not blow away, is 100 percent seed and weed-free, and is effective on slopes of up to 70 percent grade. Read more »

Giving Thanks to our Nation’s Dairy Industry

June is National Dairy Month; a time to thank our nation’s dairy farmers and businesses for all that they do. USDA Photo.

June is National Dairy Month; a time to thank our nation’s dairy farmers and businesses for all that they do. USDA Photo.

Cross posted from DairyGood.org:

Whether it’s cheese, milk, or yogurt, dairy products are a staple in the diets of Americans and people all over the world. June is National Dairy Month, a time when we honor our nation’s dairy producers and processors for making sure that we can enjoy quality dairy products.

Always true stewards of the land, the industry has made tremendous strides when it comes to sustainability. In the past 63 years, the industry reduced its carbon footprint by 63 percent. This amazing statistic is a testament to the integrity of the nation’s dairies, most of which are family-owned and well-connected to the communities around them. Read more »

Extra! Extra Samples Feed Families in Need!

“Thank you for the generous donations of produce that you have given to assist us with our outreach mission. With your help we are able to provide food for needy senior citizens,” said Denise Smartt Sears from St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in New Rochelle, NY.

“Thank you for the generous donations of produce that you have given to assist us with our outreach mission. With your help we are able to provide food for needy senior citizens,” said Denise Smartt Sears from St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in New Rochelle, NY.

It is a simple idea. If you have more than you need, share with those who don’t have enough.  An estimated 50 million Americans do not have access to enough food. So what can be done? Amazing things can happen when you implement a simple idea by combining a love of agriculture and commitment to community with a government program.

For over 10 years, samplers working for the Pesticide Data Program, a part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, have been donating excess food from their samples to local organizations including food banks, homeless shelters, senior citizens centers, battered women shelters, and churches.  The Program requires samples of fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products at markets and chain store distribution centers throughout the country for testing and analysis of pesticide residues on agricultural commodities in the U.S. food supply. Read more »

Using 21st Century Technology to Solve Age-Old Problems

For years, we believed that food was the most powerful commodity to combating food insecurity in the developing world. But with a more intricate challenge than ever before, particularly in the developing world, data and information about food insecurity and agricultural research are proving to be almost as valuable in this fight.

Later this month, here in Washington, the G-8 and World Bank will host agricultural leaders from around the world at the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture. The two-day event will bring the G-8 together with private and public research entities, as well as with businesses and NGOs who share the same goal: shoring up global food security.

The G-8 committed to this conference and to strengthening the virtual community by sharing data relevant to agriculture because it believes that creating this data “ecosystem” can leverage public research investment from many countries, drive innovation and fuel economic growth. Read more »

Audit-Based Beef Grading Can Mean Better Efficiency, Lower Costs

Consumers and industry look for the USDA grade shields as trusted symbols of wholesome, high-quality American beef. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), the agency responsible for grading, continues to explore ways to more efficiently conduct business. Most recently, we used beef instrumentation grading technology to initiate an audit-based Beef Grading Pilot Program at a facility in Toppenish, Washington in August 2012.

Although beef instrumentation grading technology has been in use for several years, it has not reduced the number of graders required at each grading facility until now.  By working with the Meat Graders’ Union, we were able to come to an agreement to pilot a program that would have beef industry employees trained to interpret and apply the Official USDA Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef under the oversight of a USDA meat grader. Read more »

One Guy’s Summer Jobs Experience with the Forest Service

Amy Merrit of Oso, Wash., and Kim Woodward of Darrington, Wash., work on maintaining the Pacific Crest Trail on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

Amy Merrit of Oso, Wash., and Kim Woodward of Darrington, Wash., work on maintaining the Pacific Crest Trail on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

If you’re a student who likes fresh air, scenic vistas, hiking and camping, the U.S. Forest Service might have the perfect job for you.

This year, some units of the Forest Service have been hosting one-day recruiting fairs that teach high school and college students how to apply for upcoming summer jobs with the government. Read more »