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Last Modified: 03/21/2012
  • With summer winding down and school starting soon, there’s just enough time for one last trip! No matter where your travels take you, be sure to bring back lots of photographs, souvenirs and memories—but one thing you don’t want to bring home with you is citrus. Moving citrus may seem completely harmless, but it can come with huge consequences. One little tiny bug, the Asian citrus psyllid could be hiding on citrus fruit, trees, clippings or nursery stock. It can carry citrus greening disease, or Huanglong Bing (HLB), a certain death sentence for infected trees. Pests carrying the disease can...
  • This post is part of the Science Today feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio. When I look at tree leaves, the stems always strike me as remarkable.  Although typically slender, they’re pretty resilient, firmly anchoring the leaves to the branches to withstand the extreme whims of Mother Nature. In the same way that stems provide a sturdy foundation so that the leaves can make food for the tree, science, technology, education, and math (frequently referred to as STEM) education provides a strong...
  • Last week’s cover of TIME magazine featured a story about the rapid rate of decline of honeybee populations across the globe. The article focuses on the question of the price we’ll pay if we don’t figure out what is killing the honeybee. A daunting thought when you think about the fact that one-third of all food and beverages are made possible through pollination and pollinators are valued at $15 billion annually. This morning, Jim Jones from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), author Hannah Nordhaus and I joined TIME journalist Bryan Walsh on Twitter to discuss the topic and what is...
  • Screenshot of the ASI Market News mobile app. For nearly 100 years, USDA Market News has been collecting market information on behalf of those working in American agriculture to provide current, unbiased price and sales information. Covering both domestic and international markets, the data is disseminated within hours of collection to help market and distribute farm commodities.  It is all provided publicly and free of charge via the Internet and other electronic means, in printed reports, by telephone recordings, and through the news media.  The agricultural industry relies on the...
  • When the sign-up window opened for USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) in 2012, the five-member NRCS Alpine Resource Team was ready. The team is responsible for more than nine million acres of the Trans-Pecos region of Texas, and protecting the region’s natural resources comes first. CSP is a voluntary conservation program that encourages producers who are already participating in NRCS conservation programs to take their efforts to the next level. Participants address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner with financial and technical...
  • It’s a big deal when you’ve just graduated from a small town high school in Western Nebraska to make a trip to Washington, D.C.  It’s especially a big deal when you get to sit in the office of the Administrator of the Farm Service Agency while in D.C. and share your thoughts. Spencer Hartman made the trip recently.  He sat with FSA Administrator Juan M. Garcia and Deputy Administrator for Farm Loan Programs Chris Beyerhelm.  He was joined by colleague Bryce Doeschot, also a Nebraska native but from the opposite side of the state.  They talked about farming. Hartman and Doeschot, both 19, are...
  • Puff and Fluff, the baby owls that Forest Service firefighters saved during the Carstens Fire in June, are finally home. Terri Williams of the Fresno Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Service released the Western Screech-Owls on July 24 near where they were found over a month ago in a downed tree in the Sierra National Forest. The birds were weak and dehydrated when Williams first received them from the Forest Service on June 20.  But under her care, Puff and Fluff tripled in weight, enjoying a steady diet of mice, day-old chicks and crickets. They grew strong and healthy and soon began...
  • Earlier this month, volunteers from USDA Rural Development (RD) and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) joined hands with representatives from the Six Nation Agricultural Society’s Indian Village to assist in preparations for the grounds use during the 2013 New York State Fair in Syracuse. The afternoon’s activities included painting, planting, raking and a tour of the grounds. Cultural Transformation is a USDA initiative that strives to improve community relations, outreach opportunities, and encourage employees to achieve high standards. The initiative highlights how USDA is the People’s...
  • Volunteers distribute sack lunches to children at the New Freedom Park Summer Food Service Program site in Aurora, Colorado. The lunches are delivered in a school bus by an organization called Lunch Box Express. Colfax Avenue in Denver, Colorado, is known for its diversity of businesses and residents.  It is home to establishments ranging from upscale restaurants to motels housing low-income and homeless families. However, the upscale scene doesn’t tell the whole story. Within a two-mile stretch of Colfax, there are an estimated 15,000 children who qualify for free and reduced school meals...
  • This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced more than 630 new projects across the country under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).  These new projects will help producers and businesses boost their bottom line, while increasing America’s energy security and protecting our environment. Energy efficiency programs are a key part of the President’s overall plan to mitigate the impacts of a changing climate, while building our renewable energy capacity to support an all-of-the-above approach to America’s energy future. Under the Obama Administration, USDA has used this...

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