Skip to main content

May 2017

New Data Unveil Underground Detroit

Soils experts from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently completed a five-year project to map underground Detroit.

“Now planners, developers and others in Detroit can use our soils data to understand their soil’s ability to support green infrastructure, development and urban agriculture,” said Luis A. Hernandez with NRCS’ soil science division. “Knowing what’s under the city helps decision-makers prioritize their planning based on soil features and other specific needs to soundly achieve their land use goals.”

Serving Twice: Military Veteran Farmers Get a New Question in the Census of Agriculture

I am a rancher and a military veteran, in addition to being a data collection coordinator for USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). That makes me particularly passionate about one of the additions to this year’s Census of Agriculture: a question about military veteran status. All of us will have the opportunity to document on the census whether we have served or are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, Reserves, or National Guard.

Gypsy Moths Want to Devour Your Favorite Destinations

Memorial Day Weekend means hitting the road for many of us – vacations, camping, or even moving to a new home. But watch out for an invasive pest that also enjoys new destinations—the destructive gypsy moth. Gypsy moth caterpillars can defoliate, weaken and kill more than 300 different species of trees and shrubs. Since 1970, more than 83 million acres have been defoliated by the gypsy moth in the U.S.

In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Sarah Jovan

Every month, USDA shares the story of a woman in agriculture who is leading the industry and helping other women succeed along the way. This month, we are proud to share the story of Sarah Jovan, a Research Ecologist with the US Forest Service in Portland, Oregon. Sarah, along with her colleague Geoffrey H Donovan, is a 2017 Finalist for the Promising Innovations Medal of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (also known as the “Sammies”). Together, they led the first-ever study using tree moss to detect air pollution in a major city, including cancer-causing heavy metals, prompting enforcement actions and offering a new, cost-effective way to identify threats to public health. Read their full story.

Farm Service Agency Tree Assistance Program Provides Aid to Florida Citrus Growers Combatting Greening

Adversity isn’t a stranger to Florida citrus growers. Throughout Florida’s history of citrus production, producers have dealt with damages left in the wake of multiple hurricanes and freezes.

Larry Black is a fifth-generation citrus grower and general manager of Peace River Packing Company in Polk County, Fla. His family has been a part of the citrus industry for over a century, planting citrus trees when they settled in Fort Meade in 1852.

Food Allergies: Supporting Safety in the School Environment

May is peak time for seasonal allergies, so it’s also a great time to learn more about how food allergies affect children and the critical role schools play in keeping children who suffer from them safe at school.  Understanding food allergies and identifying allergic reactions could even help save lives, which is why the Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has designated it as “National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.”

Trade: An Economic Engine for Agriculture and Rural America

May is World Trade Month, a time set aside to acknowledge and reflect on the importance of global trade. But here at USDA, you could say that every month is “Trade Month” because few industries depend more upon – and benefit more from – trade than American agriculture.

How Ohio State Students Stay Healthy with MyPlate

A variety of students, faculty, and wellness organizations promote the messages of MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans through our MyPlate On Campus initiative. As many colleges and universities prepare for the end of the semester, we wanted to look back on MyPlate activities conducted this past year by our partners at The Ohio State University (OSU). Check out their guest post below to learn more about their MyPlate-inspired events!

Guest Post by: Michaela Martin, Wellness Coordinator, Office of Student Life Student Wellness Center; Kelsey Scherer and Lauren Jedlicka, Student Wellness Ambassadors at The Ohio State University

Spring Weather Events Cause Devastation and Planting Delays

April showers bring May flowers. That is what many would like to have seen Mother Nature deliver this spring. Instead, late April brought an onslaught of unusual weather across the country.

Excessive rainfall caused record-breaking floods in the central U.S., a blizzard pelted the High Plains, devastating tornadoes tore through Texas and wildfires continued to blaze in the southeast.

ARS Scientist’s Life-Saving Work Fighting Parasite Earns Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal Recognition

By probing the life cycles of parasites, Jitender Dubey’s research during the past 40 years has been instrumental in saving lives, curbing disabilities in newborn infants and greatly reducing the number of horses, cattle and lambs killed each year by infectious diseases.

Dubey, a parasitologist with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Beltsville, Maryland, is being honored today as a finalist for a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, also known as the “Sammies.” The Sammies are given each year to federal employees who have distinguished themselves by making our country safer, healthier and stronger.