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Archive for the ‘U.S. Department of Agriculture’ Category

Foreign Agriculture Service — Guide to the Foreign Service Officer Selection Process

April 17, 2014 Comments off

Guide to the Foreign Service Officer Selection Process (PDF)
Source: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

The United States Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is one of the U.S. Government’s four Foreign Affairs Agencies under the Foreign Service Act of 1980. Chartered in 1953, FAS is a small agency with a global mission and presence. FAS is responsible for a broad range of programs, activities and tasks designed to carry out the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s statutory responsibility to promote U.S. agricultural interests overseas. The core mission of FAS is to facilitate trade and international cooperation, which are critical to the vitality of the U.S. agricultural sector. Staff includes about 850 people stationed in Washington, about 160 Foreign Agricultural Affairs Officers, and 350 locally employed staff overseas. Foreign Service officers represent the interests and needs of American agriculture at U.S. diplomatic missions abroad.

If you are interested in a Foreign Service career at FAS, there is plenty of opportunity, but entry is a competitive process that takes place only once every 12-24 months depending on the needs of the service.

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CRS — Forest Service Appropriations, FY2010-FY2014: In Brief

April 17, 2014 Comments off

Forest Service Appropriations, FY2010-FY2014: In Brief (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

The Forest Service (FS) is responsible for managing 193 million acres of the National Forest System, as well as conducting forestry research and providing assistance to state, local, private, and international forest owners. Funding to complete such work is provided through both discretionary and mandatory appropriations (see Figure 1).

Although it is an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the FS receives its discretionary appropriations through Title III of regular Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bills. The FS has received additional discretionary monies through supplemental appropriations bills. In addition, continuing appropriations resolutions have been used to maintain funding for the agency when regular appropriations bills have not been enacted before the start of the fiscal year, and in some cases, to provide full-year funding.

The FS also receives annual mandatory appropriations under existing authorizing statutes. Laws authorizing mandatory appropriations allow the FS to spend money without further action by Congress. The budget authority for several of these mandatory spending accounts is dependent on revenue generated by activities on the national forests. Typically, these laws are permanent—such as the Timber Salvage Sale Fund—but sometimes the authorizations have a sunset date.

This report presents and analyzes the discretionary and mandatory appropriations for the Forest Service—including the President’s discretionary budget requests—over the last five years, from FY2010 to FY2014.

Debt Use by U.S. Farm Businesses, 1992-2011

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Debt Use by U.S. Farm Businesses, 1992-2011
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

This report presents data on debt-use patterns by farm businesses and explores key trends over 20 years.

Introduction of New Food Products with Voluntary Health- and Nutrition-Related Claims

March 31, 2014 Comments off

Introduction of New Food Products with Voluntary Health- and Nutrition-Related Claims
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

New food labeling regulations and new diet and nutrition information can affect food companies’ use of health- and nutrition-related claims. This report examines the use of these claims from 1989 to 2010.

Why Are Americans Consuming Less Fluid Milk? A Look at Generational Differences in Intake Frequency

March 28, 2014 Comments off

Why Are Americans Consuming Less Fluid Milk? A Look at Generational Differences in Intake Frequency
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

Decreases in intake of fluid milk since the 1970s mainly reflect changes in consumption frequency, not portion sizes. Generational differences in intake frequency have contributed to the per capita decline in intake.

The Estimated Amount, Value, and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States

February 24, 2014 Comments off

The Estimated Amount, Value, and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

In the United States, 31 percent—or 133 billion pounds—of the 430 billion pounds of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels in 2010 went uneaten. The estimated value of this food loss was $161.6 billion using retail prices. For the first time, ERS estimated the calories associated with food loss: 141 trillion in 2010, or 1,249 calories per capita per day.

The Food Assistance Landscape: FY 2013 Annual Report

February 21, 2014 Comments off

The Food Assistance Landscape: FY 2013 Annual Report
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

In this report, the Economic Research Service uses preliminary data from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to examine trends in U.S. food and nutrition assistance programs through fiscal 2013 (October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013) and ERS data to examine trends in the prevalence and severity of household food insecurity in the United States through 2012.

Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States

February 20, 2014 Comments off

Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

Genetically engineered (GE) crops (mainly corn, cotton, and soybeans) were planted on 169 million acres in 2013, about half of U.S. land used for crops. Their adoption has saved farmers time, reduced insecticide use, and enabled the use of less toxic herbicides. Research and development of new GE varieties continues to expand farmer choices.

Changes in Eating Patterns and Diet Quality Among Working-Age Adults, 2005-2010

February 18, 2014 Comments off

Changes in Eating Patterns and Diet Quality Among Working-Age Adults, 2005-2010
Source: USDA Economic Research Service
From press release:

American adults are eating better, making better use of available nutrition information, and consuming fewer calories coming from fat and saturated fat, consuming less cholesterol and eating more fiber, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service; Changes in Eating Patterns and Diet Quality Among Working-Age Adults, 2005-2010.

The study, released today, underscores the importance of robust efforts undertaken since 2009 to improve food choices and diet quality and ensure that all Americans have access to healthy food and science-based nutrition education and advice.

Net Farm Income Forecast To Fall in 2014

February 14, 2014 Comments off

Net Farm Income Forecast To Fall in 2014
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

Net farm income is forecast to be $95.8 billion in 2014, down 26.6 percent from 2013’s forecast of $130.5 billion. The 2014 forecast would be the lowest since 2010, but would remain $8 billion above the previous 10-year average. Lower crop cash receipts, and, to a lesser degree, a change in the value of crop inventories and reduced government farm payments, drive the expected drop in net farm income. Net cash income is forecast at $101.9 billion, down almost 22 percent from the 2013 forecast. Net cash income is projected to decline less than net farm income primarily because it reflects the sale of more than $6 billion in carryover stocks from 2013.

Gathering “wild” food in the city: rethinking the role of foraging in urban ecosystem planning and management

February 12, 2014 Comments off

Gathering “wild” food in the city: rethinking the role of foraging in urban ecosystem planning and management
Source: U.S. Forest Service

Recent “green” planning initiatives envision food production, including urban agriculture and livestock production, as desirable elements of sustainable cities. We use an integrated urban political ecology and human-plant geographies framework to explore how foraging for “wild” foods in cities, a subversive practice that challenges prevailing views about the roles of humans in urban green spaces, has potential to also support sustainability goals. Drawing on research from Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia, and Seattle, we show that foraging is a vibrant and ongoing practice among diverse urban residents in the USA. At the same time, as reflected in regulations, planning practices, and attitudes of conservation practitioners, it is conceptualised as out of place in urban landscapes and an activity to be discouraged. We discuss how paying attention to urban foraging spaces and practices can strengthen green space planning and summarise opportunities for and challenges associated with including foragers and their concerns.

Changes in Eating Patterns and Diet Quality Among Working-Age Adults, 2005-2010

February 10, 2014 Comments off

Changes in Eating Patterns and Diet Quality Among Working-Age Adults, 2005-2010
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

This study analyzes how improvements in dietary quality among working-age adults from 2005 to 2010 may be related to reduced consumption of food away from home.

Integrating vegetation and green infrastructure into sustainable transportation planning

January 30, 2014 Comments off

Integrating vegetation and green infrastructure into sustainable transportation planning (PDF)
Source: U.S. Forest Service

Although development patterns that limit urban sprawl and vehicle miles traveled can have a major impact on reducing GHG emissions, these plans, as well as similar proposals in other localities, concen- trate development along major trans it corridors. The result is to increase the local population’s exposure to emissions generated from the high-volume freeways.

Transit-oriented development and similar policies increase the population’s access to services and transportation options and lead to regional reduc- tions in vehicle miles traveled and air pollution. Nonetheless, these practices often bring people closer to the sources of air pollutant emissions, such as traffic activity. As a result, ways to reduce the exposure of people residing and working near high-volume roadways are needed.

A workshop in Sacramento, California, on June 5–6, 2012, gathered a multidisciplinary group of researchers and policy makers to discuss roadside vegetation as an option for mitigating the health impacts of air quality near roads. The following is a summary of the workshop discussions, including an overview of the role that roadside vegetation may play in reducing population exposures to air pollutants emitted by traffic. Roadside vegetation also is examined as a sustainable mitigation option in the context of other potential benefits and disbenefits.

CRS — USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics (REE) Mission Area: Issues and Background

January 28, 2014 Comments off

USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics (REE) Mission Area: Issues and Background (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Library)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area has the primary federal responsibility of advancing scientific knowledge for agriculture through research, education, and extension. USDA REE responsibilities are carried out by four agencies: the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the Economic Research Service (ERS), and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). USDA administers extramural federal appropriations to states and local partners primarily through formula funds and competitive grants.

Imports Contribute to Year-Round Fresh Fruit Availability

January 22, 2014 Comments off

Imports Contribute to Year-Round Fresh Fruit Availability
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

This report analyzes the monthly shipment patterns of both aggregated fresh fruits and five major imported fresh fruits—grapes, avocados, oranges, strawberries, and apples. The seasonal relationships between imports and domestic products are found to be complementary.

Trends in Infant Formula Rebate Contracts: Implications for the WIC Program

December 18, 2013 Comments off

Trends in Infant Formula Rebate Contracts: Implications for the WIC Program
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is the major purchaser of infant formula in the United States. This study evaluates recent trends in net prices for infant formula and cost implications for WIC.

How Transport Costs Affect Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Prices

December 16, 2013 Comments off

How Transport Costs Affect Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Prices
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

This study analyzes the relationship between fuel prices and wholesale produce prices using data for 2000-2009.

Emerging Energy Industries and Rural Growth

December 9, 2013 Comments off

Emerging Energy Industries and Rural Growth
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

This report builds on findings from recent studies led by U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service researchers investigating the economic effects of the emerging energy industries—unconventional natural gas extraction, wind power development, and corn-based ethanol production—in rural areas of the United States in the last decade.

Emerging Energy Industries and Rural Growth

November 25, 2013 Comments off

Emerging Energy Industries and Rural Growth
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

This report builds on findings from recent studies led by U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service researchers investigating the economic effects of the emerging energy industries—unconventional natural gas extraction, wind power development, and corn-based ethanol production—in rural areas of the United States in the last decade.

Rural America at a Glance, 2013 Edition

November 19, 2013 Comments off

Rural America at a Glance, 2013 Edition
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

Rural America at a Glance, 2013 Edition highlights the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas. This year’s edition focuses on the U.S. rural economy, including employment trends, poverty, and population trends.

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