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In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Valerie Earley

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 hear from Valerie Earley, 2016-2017 National FFA Central Region Vice President. In April 2017, Valerie was invited by President Donald Trump and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to participate in a “Farmers Roundtable” at the White House to address issues facing the American agriculture community, as the president signed an Executive Order establishing an Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.

“Going Green” on the Putting Green with Biocontrol Fungus

During the U.S. Open held this summer in Erin Hills, Wisconsin, some of the world’s top golfers competed for a shot at becoming the 2017 champion (won by Brooks Koepka). The course’s meticulously groomed putting greens and fairways—like those of so many other golf facilities—are an inspiration to lawn-care enthusiasts near and far.

Cleaning Up Illegal Marijuana Grow Sites

Viscous, stratified, and hot to the touch, a five-gallon water tank bubbled with unknown chemicals at an illegal marijuana grow site in California’s San Bernardino National Forest. Marijuana growers most likely planned to use this brew as a high-powered pesticide to keep any and all animals away from their marijuana plants.

Packed Lunches: Cutting Corners, But Not Food Safety

As a working mom of four boys, ages 8 and under, I’m asked on a near-daily basis: “how do you DO it?!” It’s a carefully orchestrated dance: keeping my family fed, healthy, dropped off at school and daycare at the appropriate times, with their respective accompaniments, whether homework, snacks or lunches. And then in the evening, allowing opportunity to focus on homework and dinner, without sacrificing quality family time. Making this happen on a daily basis takes a keen attention to detail, a little luck and some advanced planning.

Traveling to Another State for the Great American Eclipse? USDA has a Reminder for You!

August 21 marks the date for the Great American Eclipse of 2017, with people from around the country planning to travel to get the best views. Before you take to the road to reach your solar eclipse festival, make a plan to buy or gather firewood near your destination. Moving firewood presents a high risk for moving invasive pests that destroy the trees we love and count on for so many things: respite from the summer heat, the quiet of a favorite campsite, and the shady sidewalks around your neighborhood.

Forest Stewardship Keeps Georgia Grandmother Independent

Sandra Cummings is an African American woman who is a part owner of two forested landscapes in Georgia. Her first property, 325 acres of land with a home in the city of Madison, was passed down by her maternal great-grandmother, who was born a slave. The second property consists of 165 acres of land in the town of Portal, which was passed down by her paternal grandfather.

By the Numbers: Spotlight on Farmers Market Week

August 6-12 is National Farmers Market Week, and the sunny days of summer make it a perfect time to drop by one of the more than 8,500 farmers markets across the country and load up for a picnic! While you put together your picnic shopping list, keep in mind that growers selling locally not only help increase access to fresh food, but they also create 13 full-time jobs for every $1 million in revenue earned.