The Helios Awards are designed to recognize excellent achievements in three major areas: Research and Policy Contribution, Communication Excellence, and Program Effectiveness. These new ERS awards are given at the agency level, not by organizational unit or subject area. Thus, the awards highlight not only the breadth of the ERS research program, but also the diversity of communication tools through which ERS disseminates research results. Distinguished judges from outside ERS reviewed the nominations and made the final decisions. The winning teams, shown here, received their awards at a special ceremony in April. ERS congratulates the winners and the many other ERS staffers who supported these award-winning projects.

Research & Policy Contribution

Winner: Conservation Reserve Program Study Team

(l to r): Daniel Hellerstein, David McGranahan, Michael Roberts, Patrick Sullivan, Stephen Vogel, Ruben Lubowski

In response to a request from Congress, this team explored the economic impacts of USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program. Their findings were published in The Conservation Reserve Program: Economic Implications for Rural America.

Honorable Mention: Animal Waste Management Team

(l to r): Noel Gollehon, Jean Agapoff, Marc Ribaudo, Vince Breneman, Marcel Aillery, and Rob Johansson; Not shown: Lee Christensen, Jonathan Kaplan, and Mark Peters

Profiled in Amber Waves in September 2004, this team has conducted innovative and timely analysis of the policy options associated with animal waste management in such reports as:

  • Manure Management for Water Quality: Costs to Animal Feeding Operations of Applying Manure Nutrients to Land
  • Confined Animal Production and Manure Nutrients

Communication Excellence

Winner: Understanding Fruit And Vegetable Choices Information Kit

(l to r): Biing-Hwan Lin, Dale Simms, Joanne Guthrie, Mark Denbaly, Kathleen Kassel, Phillip Kaufman, Cynthia Ray, Tom McDonald, Shashunga Clayton, and Hayden Stewart. Not shown: Jane Reed.

In preparation for USDA’s October 2004 Obesity Conference, this team produced an information kit containing a series of research briefs on the economic, social, and behavioral factors influencing consumers' fruit and vegetable choices.

Honorable Mention: Rural America At A Glance Pamphlet Series

(l to r): Dean Jolliffe, Karen Hamrick, Robert Gibbs, and Victor B. Phillips, Jr.

This team produced a collection of concise brochures highlighting the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions in rural America.

Program Effectiveness

Winner: Leadership of Expanded ARMS

(l to r): Mary Maher, Mitch Morehart, and Philip Friend.

Leading an effort that involved many ERS staffers, this team delivered a web-based database tool through which users can access a wealth of data collected in USDA’s annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey.

Honorable Mention: Amber Waves—Cutting Edge Design

(l to r): Victor B. Phillips, Jr., Curtia Taylor, Wynnice Pointer-Napper, Susan DeGeorge, Anne Pearl, and Cynthia Ray.

Through their design of the layout of Amber Waves, ERS’s flagship publication, this team makes ERS research more accessible to readers through eye-catching, communicative design.

Photos: Ken Hammond, USDA