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Conservation

Footprints on the Range

“I don’t like crowds, and I don’t like busy highways,” says Crawford, Texas rancher Larry Mattlage. “That crazy world out there can get me frustrated and upset. This land is where I am most at ease.”

He was raised on the land his German immigrant grandfather settled on in the late 1880s. The 400 acres Mattlage now owns — High Prairie Ranch — has been in the family since 1904.

Spurring Agricultural Innovation Across the Nation

“He would often dream up new ideas and inventions that he would build in his shop and implement on his farm. Most all of them worked better than anything else available. He never faced a hill that he didn’t think could be flattened with a lot of hard work and determination, and he taught those around him to question the conventional wisdom and not be afraid to boldly seek new ways of doing things.” -from Leroy Isbell’s obituary in the Stuttgart Daily Leader, 2014

Chris Isbell didn't set out to make history. He was just following in his father's footsteps.

Secretary Perdue Affirms USDA’s Commitment to Indian Country

Within a month of his start, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue followed through on his promise to Indian Country to visit tribal leaders. Joining tribal representatives, Senators Rounds and Thune, and Congresswoman Noem at Oglala Lakota College’s Rapid City Extension Center, Secretary Perdue aimed to learn more about the topics significant to both tribal nations and colleges in South Dakota. When the meeting closed, one thought was clear: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) stands ready to partner with tribal nations in their pursuits.

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.”

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.

Climate Hubs and 4-H: Partnering with Tomorrow's Leaders to Sustain Agriculture Today

Agriculture in the United States faces significant challenges in the years ahead, perhaps none greater than the projection of approximately 9 billion people worldwide to feed by mid-century. Meeting this challenge will require an estimated increase in agricultural production of more than 70%. This increase that will need to occur over an ever-declining land base and one that will necessitate a paradigm shift in agricultural equivalent to that of the green revolution.

USDA Supporting the National Native Seed Strategy

The use of native plant material in conservation, restoration and land management results in healthy ecosystems countering the effects of invasive plant species, altered wildfire regimes, extreme weather events and human-caused events. The National Seed Strategy for Rehabilitation and Restoration 2015-2020 (PDF, 12MB) promotes the use of native plant materials to restore plant communities and support healthy ecosystems. The National Seed Strategy, a collaboration between 12 federal agencies and over 300 non-federal partners associated with the Plant Conservation Alliance and led by the Bureau of Land Management, facilitates coordination among tribal, state, federal, local and private entities, including commercial growers.

Drought Conditions at Lowest Point since Autumn 2010

Nationally, we are seeing extreme to exceptional (D3 to D4) drought conditions fall to their lowest point in more than 6 years. Nowhere is that change more dramatic than in California. The current (February 21, 2017) Drought Monitor for California notes the disappearance of D3/D4 from California. At the California drought’s peak from August-October 2014, that percentage was nearly 82 percent. As recently as early-December 2016, coverage of D3/D4 in California stood at 43 percent.

Tornado Devastates NFC Building, But Not NFC Workers

Within minutes of being notified of an impending storm, the employees of the US Department of Agriculture’s National Finance Center (NFC) in New Orleans felt the devastating impact of the EF-3 tornado that descend upon the two-story building with enough force to tear away whole sections of the brick façade in eight places and leave portions of its interior exposed to the elements.

“I could see it coming,” said Tara Gilliam, chief of Human Resources Management Staff. “It swallowed the building in a matter of seconds.”

Five Signs You Might Be the Perfect 'Soil Mate'

The hope in healthy soil is taking root across America.

Farmers, ranchers, researchers, conservationists, non-profit organizations, foodies and others are all working to help regenerate our working lands by improving the health of function of our nation’s soil. So inspired by what they’re learning about the hope in healthy soil, there’s a whole new generation of “soil mates” working to unlock the secrets in the soil.