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Open Data: Enabling Fact-Based, Data-Driven Decisions

Nearly five years ago, USDA embarked on a journey as a founding partner of the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative. GODAN promotes the proactive sharing of open data to make information about agriculture and nutrition available, accessible, and usable worldwide. Now with over 700 partners from the private and public sector, non-profits, universities and other groups, the momentum behind this important initiative is increasing. In 2014, USDA partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide funding support to enable the work of the GODAN Secretariat – the people that keep the initiative going day in and day out.

Future Soil Conservationist Unearths Valuable Skills at USDA

As an aspiring soil conservationist, Luther Thompson II is eager to dig into future career opportunities. Thompson is a rising senior at Alcorn State University, a historically black land-grant university in Lorman, Mississippi. This is his fourth summer as an intern with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). NRCS helps America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners conserve the nation’s soil, water, air and other natural resources.

Illegal Marijuana Sites Can’t Hide from Science

The problem of illegal marijuana farms on national forests is, pardon the pun, growing. Although marijuana is now legal in California and other parts of the U.S., illegal marijuana growing is still a billion dollar industry with international tentacles.

How to Avoid Uninvited Guests at Your Summer Outing

In the summertime, as the weather begins to heat up, our microscopic friends, called bacteria, begin to make uninvited appearances at our cookouts, picnics and even camping trips. Sometimes these little friends can be helpful, but other times, they just make you sick.

USDA Expert Helps Shape Global Agricultural Outlook Report

Each year, agricultural experts from around the world gather in Paris to crunch numbers, analyze trends, and produce a 10-year global agriculture outlook report. I was among those analysts, and today, we unveiled our collective efforts in the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2018-2027.

USDA and Partners Work to Eliminate Invasive Nutria From Maryland’s Eastern Shore

Word has it that legendary actress Greta Garbo could be seen wearing nutria fur coats back in the day, and nutria fur coats can still be found in vintage clothing stores around the world. Nutria, sometimes called swamp rats, were first introduced into the United States in the 1800s to be used in the fur trade. However, when the fur trade collapsed in the mid 1900’s thousands of nutria were released by ranchers who could no longer afford to feed and care for them. This invasive rodent, about half the size of a beaver, damages wetland ecosystems by eating away at their delicate vegetation. Nutria have since been found in at least 20 states.

Cooperative Forestry Act Celebrates 40 Years of Helping Private Forest Owners

When most people think of forested lands in our country what comes to mind are public wild lands like the Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon or the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. But the reality is most forests in America, nearly sixty percent, are owned by private landowners who very much rely on these lands for income that helps to fuel the economic health of rural communities.