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Ag Research Extends Beyond Crop Fields into Forests

The word “agriculture” does not usually come to mind when one thinks of forests, but perhaps it’s time that it should.

“The forest products industry employs nearly 1 million people and contributes $254 billion to America’s economy through sales and payroll,” said Eric Norland, a national program leader at USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

The State of the Forest

The United States forest products industry accounts for approximately four percent of the nation’s total manufacturing GDP, producing over $200 billion in products every year. To keep tabs on the condition and status of America’s forest resources over time, the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis Program compiles the official estimates for all public and private forest lands in the country. This long-term trend information is used to inform economic, policy, and management decisions at a range of scales.

On Farms and Ranches, Every Day is Earth Day

At USDA, we celebrate Earth Day 2019 by offering big thank-yous to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners for all they do. Every day, we recognize their efforts to conserve natural resources while producing food, fiber, and fuel for people in their communities and around the world. They’re doing what needs to be done to make sure we all enjoy the benefits of clean and plentiful water and healthy soils, ecosystems, and wildlife habitat.

Illinois Farmers Have Plenty to Boast About

Illinois producers grow a LOT of corn and soybeans. The Prairie State ranked first in soybean production and second in corn production in 2017. But there is a great deal more agricultural production coming from the 72,000 farms located in our 102 counties. Illinois ranks first in horseradish acres and also first in pumpkin acres. Nearly 80 percent of those pumpkins are grown for processing and they turn into a whole lot of pumpkin pies.

New Science Framework Provides Basis for Conservation and Restoration of Sagebrush

“Resilience” is the ability to recover from change, or when you think about landscapes, the ability to recover from disturbances like wildfires. A new model takes the idea of resilience and applies it to the natural environment, specifically, to sagebrush. This resilience model is one of the core elements of the new Science Framework for Conservation and Restoration of the Sagebrush Biome (Part 2).

Tree Rings Tell the History of Fire and Forest Health

Why are Rocky Mountain Research Station scientists sampling tree rings in the Pinaleño Mountains of southeast Arizona? Because tree ring samples reveal the history of fire. When fire scorches a tree, the tree floods its wound with sap, which protects the wound from wood rot decay for hundreds of years, as long as fires keep burning at a low intensity.

Building Better Futures through SNAP Employment and Training

Self-sufficiency and customer service are top priorities in the Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) mission to provide better service and “do right and feed everybody.” Self-sufficiency is a cornerstone of the American dream, and state-operated SNAP Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) programs, which leverage federal resources, are key to removing difficult employment barriers to help those on SNAP break the cycle of poverty.