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« July 2011 | Main | September 2011 »

50 posts from August 2011

Exposure to ozone reduces soybean yields, according to researchers with the USDA Agricultural Research Service. The Soybean Free Air Concentration Enrichment experiments showed that exposure to 82 parts per billion (ppb) ozone reduces soybean yields by an average 23 percent across all 10 varieties. With ozone concentrations rising for decades, scientists hope the study provides the groundwork for breeding more ozone-tolerant soybean varieties. Read more.

Pictured l to r: State Committee Members Jack Whittenburg, Eddie Anderson, Robert Collier and Patti Hutchinson.

The Tennessee FSA State Committee convened for their August meeting last week and brought with them 138 pounds of non-perishable food items for the Feds Feed Families Food Drive.  STC Chairman Eddie Anderson said the committee hopes to encourage all FSA employees in Tennessee to continue their good work on the annual food drive with the kind of generosity and volunteer spirit for which Tennesseans are known. The Feds Feed Families Food Drive concludes this month.

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service released its Farm Labor report yesterday. The 19-page report includes information collected from nearly 12,000 farmers across the United States on the number of agricultural workers, hours worked and wage rates at the national and regional levels. The information helps ensure the Department of Labor makes accurate decisions to allow temporary non-immigrant alien farm workers. Read the report.

President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met with Iowa producers to hear concerns regarding the economy and the importance of agriculture in rural America.The event was part of the White House Rural Economic Foruma.

FSA volunteers gleened pounds of squash and zucchini to deliver to food pantries across New Jersey.

It was a beautiful breezy morning on Aug. 10 when USDA employees from offices around the Garden State met at Sun Valley Orchards in Swedesboro, N.J., to help glean crops that will feed more than 7,000 people around the state.

With a bit of instruction from Russ Marino, owner of Sun Valley Orchards and an FSA state committee chairperson, along with workers from Farmers Against Hunger, the volunteers fanned out across nearly 30 acres of yellow squash and zucchini.

Continue reading "New Jersey FSA Volunteers Gleen 4,000 pounds of Food for Hungry" »

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Commodity Credit Corporation released its initial fiscal year 2012 overall sugar marketing allotment (OAQ) of 9,456,250 short tons, raw value (STRV). The OAQ is equal to 85 percent of the estimated human consumption for the crop year of 11,125,000 STRV as forecasted in the July 2011 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. Learn more.

The ongoing drought that has seared the entire state of Texas has led to a record $5.2 billion in agricultural losses, according to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. The previous record set in 2006 saw a $4.1 billion loss. Texas farmers were unable to cash in on the high commodity prices this year while cattle ranchers culled herds at historic rates and paid high prices for supplemental feed. Livestock losses include the increased cost of feeding due to lack of pastures and ranges and market losses,” Anderson said. “Market losses include the impact of fewer pounds sold per calf and the impact of lower market prices due to the large number of cattle sold in a very short time period. ”Read more (AgriLife Today).

KY peoplesgarden_0012 
The four-acre People's Garden in Kentucky has produced more than 8,000 pounds of food for hungry families.

by Winnie Breeding, Communications Coordinator, KY FSA

A four-acre plot of land has saved one Kentucky county thousands of dollars while helping to feed hungry families.

“The People's Garden project brings people together to make a difference in their communities and also provides nutritious food to people in need,” said Farm Service Agency State Executive Director John W. McCauley. “These gardens also emphasize community service and civic involvement by donating fresh, healthy, and locally grown vegetables to local food pantries.”

Continue reading "Partnership Saves County $10,000 While Providing 8,700 Pounds of Food" »

The Office of Personnel Management extended vacancy announcements for several days after the USA Staffing system went down last week, losing job applications and hindering job seekers from applying. All vacancy announcements that closed between Aug. 7 and Aug. 10 were extended to Aug. 15, giving some applicants a chance to reapply. OPM notified applicants who were affected by the outage. Read more (Federal Times).

President Obama announced yesterday new job initiatives recommended by the White House Rural Council for growing the economy and creating jobs in rural America. One new initiative includes expanding access to job information in rural areas. In a news release, the president stated that USDA and the Department of Labor will partner to increase access to existing job search ad training information for rural job seekers by providing DOL employment information at 2,800 USDA field offices nationwide. This will significantly reduce the distance that rural Americans need to travel in order to access DOL job search information. Read the release.

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