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Vertical Farming for the Future

Imagine walking into your local grocery story on a frigid January day to pick up freshly harvested lettuce, fragrant basil, juicy sweet strawberries, and ripe red tomatoes – all of which were harvested at a local farm only hours before you’d arrived. You might be imagining buying that fresh produce from vertical farms where farmers can grow indoors year-round by controlling light, temperature, water, and oftentimes carbon dioxide levels as well. Generally, fresh produce grown in vertical farms travels only a few miles to reach grocery store shelves compared to conventional produce, which can travel thousands of miles by truck or plane.

e-Connectivity: A Foundation for Rural Prosperity

In small towns from Maine to California, access to reliable, high-speed internet is a foundation for rural prosperity. From quality health care to advanced education and precision ag technology at the local farm equipment dealer, e-connectivity is a lifeline to the modern economy. And, yet we know that a significant number of rural Americans are not connected.

How the Forest Service Restores Public Lands Now and in the Future

More than 80 million acres of national forests are at risk from insect infestations, the impacts of prolonged drought, and the too frequent devastation caused by catastrophic wildfire. And the USDA Forest Service has a responsibility to the American public to move quickly and cost-effectively to restore these damaged wildlands.

Employing Wheat's Bacterial Partners to Fight a Pathogen

Fusarium head blight is a devastating fungal disease affecting wheat and barley crops worldwide. According to the American Phytopathological Society, this disease has cost U.S. wheat and barley farmers more than $3 billion since 1990. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists, together with land managers and other scientists at research universities, are taking a variety of approaches to solving this problem. These include breeding resistant cultivars, using massive disease-forecasting models and applying fungicides during critical junctures in crop growth to prevent fusarium head blight. Recently, many scientists have also become interested in the idea of employing microbial species that already live on and inside crop plants to do the dirty work of controlling disease epidemics.

Weeds, Trees, and Property Lines and Good Neighbors

I once lived in a home where fighting lawn weeds seemed a never-ending task. This was a new housing development. Pickets tied with bits of pink ribbon still clearly showed where our property began and ended, and they were handy for helping me determine where I could put in my fence and where I could stop mowing and trimming.

USDA Becoming More Data-Driven, Customer-Focused Organization

USDA has committed to becoming a facts-based, data-driven, customer-focused organization. One of the Department’s two Agency Priority Goals (APGs) for FY18-19 is to develop the USDA Chief Executive Officer (CXO) Dashboards, which integrate data from systems spanning the agency’s 29 agencies and staff offices, and provide the Department with enhanced capacity to collect accurate, reliable, complete, accessible, and consistent data. With this initiative, USDA will have created the first Cabinet-level suite of comprehensive administrative dashboards for seven administrative functions: human resources, information technology, finance, property, procurement, security, and operations.

Agriculture Surveys Get More Convenient through Improved Online Response Form

Agricultural surveys for farmers and ranchers will be easier to complete with the help of a new online questionnaire. We have been working to help our customers – the American farmer and rancher – have a faster, friendlier, and easier experience responding to surveys, which are the backbone of official U.S. farm statistics.