Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, December 30, 2000, Image 110

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    06-Lancaster Farming, Saturday, December 30, 2000
USDA’s Workforce
Increasingly Diverse
USDA’s workforce has grown
more diverse during the Clin
ton-Gore Administration, Agri
culture Secretary Dan Glickman
said recently.
Women now occupy more
than 42 percent of USDA’s per
manent positions, and 21 per
cent of USDA’s employees are
Landowners Desire
Know-How To Design
Streamside Forests
(Centre Co.) As part of a
multistate effort to protect water
quality, Pennsylvania Governor
Tom Ridge has committed to
planting 900 miles of “riparian
forest” in Pennsylvania by the
year 2010.
Landowners are willing to
create riparian areas on their
properties, as long as they have
a say in the design, said a
researcher in Penn State’s
School of Forest Resources.
“Many landowners are con
cerned that if they accept
government cost-share pro
grams and other incentives to
plant buffers someone will
come onto their land and tell
them what to do,” said James
Finley, associate professor of
forest resources. “They feel re
sponsible for taking care of
streams, but they want to be able
to choose a design that suits
their needs.”
Riparian forests are strips of
forest along streams that serve
as natural filters. Among other
benefits, they prevent sediments,
fertilizers, and other pollutants
from farms and lawns from
washing into streams. The trees
also help to shade the water,
keeping it cool and oxygenated
for trout and other aquatic life.
Finley and doctoral student
Dan Dutcher surveyed more
than 800 streamside landowners
Vegetable Production
Workshops Set
ITHACA, N.Y. Find out
how to manage soil, weeds, in
sects, and disease at the organic
vegetable production all-day
workshops Feb. 27, March 6,
and March 13 at Cornell Uni
versity’s New York State Agri
cultural Experiment Station in
Geneva, N.Y.
The first workshop, Feb. 27,
will focus on soil and nutrient
management, with specific at
tention to tillage and soil qual
ity, testing and interpretation,
soil life, and fertility manage
The March 6 workshop will
focus on weed management,
with specific attention to weed
biology, cultivation tools and
strategies, and ecological ap
proaches to weed control.
The March 13 workshop will
examine insect and disease man
agement, with specific attention
to crop resistance, beneficial mi
minorities, the highest percent
age in history.
USDA’s increasingly diverse
workforce is particularly note
worthy since it comes during a
period of significant downsizing.
USDA’s total permanent work
force has decreased from 98,908
in fiscal year 1993 to 85,920 in
fiscal year 2000, a reduction of
including farmers, forest
landowners, and urban dwellers
to learn their motivations, in
terest, and issues relating to es
tablishing or maintaining
riparian forests.
The landowners were - con
cerned about aesthetics fore
most. They also were concerned
that falling branches might
damage farm equipment and
that wooded areas might attract
“Some people didn’t even re
alize they had a stream on their
property,” Finley said. “First
order streams, high in the
watershed, often just look like
trickles coming out of the
The researchers also learned
that many landowners don’t un
derstand what stream improve
ment means and desire some
education. Subsequently, gradu
ate student Kari Umphrey held
focus groups with landowners in
the Standing Stone and Shaver’s
Creek watersheds in Hunting-,
don County to learn more about'
their needs. She then drafted a
curriculum that teaches people
about riparian forests.
Finley plans to test the curric
ulum, then offer it through Penn
State Cooperative Extension,
conservation districts, and the
Pennsylvania Bureau of For
croorganisms, and managing
habitats to maintain beneficial
Workshops will be taught by
Cornell researchers, Cornell Co
operative extension field staff,
and organic growers.
The workshops are sponsored
by Cornell’s New York State In
tegrated Pest Management pro
gram, the Northeast Sustainable
Agriculture Research and Edu
cation program, the Northeast
Organic Farm Association
New York, and New York Certi
fied Organic, Inc.
Before Feb. 16, registration is
$l5 per day per person. Regis
trations for all three days that
are postmarked by Feb. 16 are
$4O. After that date registration
will be $2O per day, and there
will be no discount for register
ing all three days.
For more information and
registration, call Cornell’s Inte
grated Pest Management Pro
gram at (800) 635-8356.
nearly 14 percent.
“Abraham Lincoln called
USDA ‘the people’s depart
ment,’ and our workforce now
better reflects all the people that
we serve,” said Glickman.
“While our work is not done, we
have made great progress in
turning around the depart
ment’s civil rights record and
ensuring that all our employees
and customers are treated fairly,
with dignity and respect.”
From 1993 to 2000, African
American permanent employ
ment at USDA increased from
9.4 to 10.8 percent. Hispanic
representation increased from
4.1 percent to 5.4 percent. Asian
Americans and Pacific Islanders
grew from 1.7 to 2.3 percent of
USDA’s permanent workforce.
Native American representation
increased from 2.4 to 2.5 per
cent. There was also an increase
in women among USDA’s per
manent workforce from 41.1
to 42.3 percent.
The hiring of 2,582 women
and minorities out of 4074 total
permanent hires in fiscal year
2000 indicates continued growth
in diversity among the USDA
workforce. Women comprised
52.6 percent of new permanent
hires, African Americans 16.2
percent, Hispanics 6.4 percent,
Asian Americans and Pacific
Islanders 2.3 percent, and
Native Americans/Alaskan Na-
kiH I d E=i -m- I >l4l
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tives 2.1 percent.
Glickman said USDA has
been particularly successful in
increasing the representation of
minorities and women in senior
level positions (GS-14 and
above). Since 1993, the number
of non-white USDA employees
in these positions increased by
56 percent (580 to 904), while
the number of women also in
creased by 56 percent (907 to
Glickman said targeted out
reach and other employment in
itiatives have helped
significantly increase minority
hiring. He also announced that
he has established five new em
ployee advisory councils and an
overall diversity council to
advise him on issues affecting
African Americans, Asian
Americans and Pacific Islan
ders, Native Americans, women,
and gay and lesbian USDA em
ployees. The new councils join
those already established for
Hispanics and people with dis
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