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Posts tagged: Washington

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 »

USDA Official Highlights Federal Programs That Help Create Jobs, Provide Access to Capital in Washington and Oregon

“Show me the money.”  You have heard that phrase, right? Made famous by the 1996 film  Jerry Maguire, we have all probably heard it said a thousand times, and yet, the phrase remains just as valid today.

Owners of rural businesses are asking the same question because finding capital is a major challenge for those who wish to grow and expand, and Lillian Salerno, USDA’s top business development official, met with various business leaders and owners in the Pacific Northwest to offer assistance on job creation and economic growth efforts. Read more »

Ten Best Cities for Urban Forests

Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy District Department of Transportation)

Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy District Department of Transportation)

America is home to more than 100 million acres of urban and community forests. These are the forests that line our streets, shade our buildings and burst with color every spring and fall. Trees also clean our air and help prevent pollution and flooding. That’s one of the reasons we like to call our urban trees ‘the hardest working trees in America.’ Read more »

USDA Expands Its Housing Refinance Program to 15 More States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to Help Rural Homeowners Lower Mortgage Rates

Rural Development is the lead Federal agency that works to ensure that rural families have access to safe, well-built, affordable homes.  In February 2012, the agency initiated a two-year, pilot refinancing program in 19 states hardest hit by the Nation’s housing downturn to help eligible USDA borrowers reduce their monthly housing costs.

Today, USDA announced that the program is expanding to include eligible rural residents in Puerto Rico, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Read more »

Timber Thief in Washington Cuts Down 300-Year-Old Tree

Jeff Penman, an area measurement specialist from the US Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Regional office, stands atop the stump of an old-growth tree felled illegally in Olympic National Forest. The tree was estimated to be at least 300 years old. Photo/U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington.

Jeff Penman, an area measurement specialist from the US Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Regional office, stands atop the stump of an old-growth tree felled illegally in Olympic National Forest. The tree was estimated to be at least 300 years old. Photo/U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington.

Thanks to a lengthy investigation led by U.S. Forest Service law enforcement personnel, a Washington man has been convicted of stealing timber and damaging trees worth more than $250,000 from the Olympic National Forest in Washington state. Read more »