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January 2020

Mississippi Rises to the Top of U.S. Aquaculture

Agriculture continues to be Mississippi’s top industry for revenue generated in the Magnolia State. Poultry is Mississippi’s largest agricultural commodity, leading as the most valuable livestock product including eggs-layers with sales valued at $3.1 billion. The 2017 Census of Agriculture showed that producers raised and sold $6.2 billion in crops and livestock.

Rediscovering Cover Crops and the Power of ‘Green Manure’

Farmers throughout history have taken advantage of off-season plant growth to enhance their next year’s crops. These plants, called cover crops, are beneficial in many ways, including protection against weed infestation and soil erosion, as well as feed for farm animals. Some farmers use cover crops in no-till farming systems. However, when cover crops are incorporated into the soil, they become a fertility-enhancing mulch – what some call “green manure.”

A Uniquely Alaskan Solution to Bring Broadband to an Isolated Gulf Community

Imagine building a broadband network where there are no roads to move supplies, or electrical grids to power cellular towers. Yakutat is an isolated community of about 650 tucked into a sheltered bay off the Gulf of Alaska, disconnected from the road system, and hundreds of miles from Alaska population centers. Like many remote Alaskan villages, most residents in Yakutat adopt a subsistence form of living, depending heavily off the land and sea to survive. For Yakutat, which has a substantial Alaska Native population and struggles with a fifteen percent poverty rate, modern conveniences like fast internet are unavailable.

Hurricane Recovery for Forest and Conservation Nurseries

Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones have caused devastating damage to nearly all of the American-Affiliated islands during the past few years. In 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Just a year later, Typhoons Yutu and Mangkhut hit Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, and then in 2019, Cyclone Gita impacted American Samoa.

Family Farms Flourish in Sweet Grown Alabama

Families are the cornerstone of agriculture in Alabama (PDF, 947 KB) where 97% of farms counted in the recent 2017 Census of Agriculture are family owned. Although the number of farms in Alabama decreased 6% from 2012, the average size of farms increased 3%, mirroring a trend seen in states across the nation. With 73% of farms connected to the Internet, Alabama farms and ranches continue to reach others across the globe.

Farming in the 21st Century Requires Being Connected

As you step onto Bebb Farms in rural Labette County, Kan., you see tractors, combines, sprayers, grain bins, and semis. All necessary equipment on a Kansas farm, but perhaps the most important equipment you don’t see is the Internet.

Volunteers Experience the Power of Service and Healing in the Rainforest

In September 2017, Hurricane Maria, a deadly category 5 hurricane devastated Dominica, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Amidst the devastation was the El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rainforest among the USDA Forest Service’s 193 million acres. Reliably lush and green, the forest was left denuded and nearly unrecognizable.