Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Honey: A Sweet Topic with New Data this Spring

Honey bees

Besides honey, honey bees also produce beeswax, propolis, royal jelly and bee bread.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Every day, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) statisticians work hard to produce timely, accurate and useful statistics to U.S agriculture. In addition to producing hundreds of reports each year on crops, livestock and economic indicators for the agriculture industry, NASS collects and reports annual data for honey bee colonies. Historically, we’ve only surveyed operations or farms with five or more colonies, but in 2015 we expanded the survey to cover operations of all sizes. As a statistician who is also a beekeeper, I am pleased to provide valuable information about honey as a public service and decision-making tool.

The annual honey report publishes the maximum number of honey producing colonies, honey yield, value of honey production, and honey price by color class and marketing channel. In addition to bee and honey surveys, the Census of Agriculture, which is collected every five years, publishes number of operations, number of colonies, pounds of honey produced and value produced. NASS has data on honey production dating back to 1986. Current honey and honey bee data is available on the NASS website. Read more »

Flushed Away…Probing For Antibiotic Presence in Our Food Supply

Penn State University doctoral candidate Alison Franklin collecting samples of treated wastewater

Penn State University doctoral candidate Alison Franklin collects samples of treated wastewater used to spray-irrigate crops at a research site. Photo by Katie Colaneri.

It’s a question with major public-health implications: Could antibiotics and other widely used medications get into our food supply when they are flushed into our sewers?

To try to answer that question, researchers from USDA and Penn State University (PSU) assessed whether some commonly used pharmaceuticals could get into a wheat crop irrigated with recycled wastewater. Read more »

Research Can Help the Economy and Inform Policy

Wood pellets

Wood pellets which can be used as biofuel are one example of the many technologies and products the Forest Service produces or supports that provide sizable financial benefits to stakeholders and industry. (Photo credit: USDA)

When most people think of forests, science isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but, perhaps, it should. That’s because the U.S. Forest Service Research and Development program oversees projects across many science disciplines including forestry, genetics, wildlife, forest products and wildfire.

And the agency has been using this science to deliver returns on investments for stakeholders, industry partners, and the public.

For instance Forest Service research supported the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s decision to not list the Greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act, listing the species would have necessitated restrictions on economic activity across 163 million acres. Read more »

Tornado Devastates NFC Building, But Not NFC Workers

Tornado damage at the National Finance Center (NFC) Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017 in New Orleans, LA

Tornado damage at the National Finance Center (NFC) Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017 in New Orleans, LA. USDA photo by Mike Clanton.

Within minutes of being notified of an impending storm, the employees of the US Department of Agriculture’s National Finance Center (NFC) in New Orleans felt the devastating impact of the EF-3 tornado that descend upon the two-story building with enough force to tear away whole sections of the brick façade in eight places and leave portions of its interior exposed to the elements.

“I could see it coming,” said Tara Gilliam, chief of Human Resources Management Staff. “It swallowed the building in a matter of seconds.” Read more »

Continuing the Challenge: Achieve MyPlate Everyday

MyPlate Challenge Participation graphic

This year’s MyPlate New Year’s Challenge participants turned their New Year’s resolutions into real solutions by making small changes over time.

Congratulations to everyone who joined us for the MyPlate New Year’s Challenge! Over the course of these last five weeks, participants incorporated each of the MyPlate food groups – dairy, fruits, vegetables, protein foods, and grains – into their days in an effort to find and maintain a healthy eating style while being physically active. Over 400 people took on the MyPlate-sponsored challenge, and many others used SuperTracker to host their own challenges.  To all of you we say, “Way to go!” You all proved that making small changes to your daily routine can lead to big wins for your health.

Now that you’ve mastered the challenge, it’s important to continue using the lessons you’ve learned to maintain your healthy eating solutions. What tips, tricks, and real solutions did you discover and utilize to fit all five MyPlate food groups into your meals? That’s what MyPlate, MyWins is all about – finding a healthy eating style that works best for you and your family. Read more »

Five Signs You Might Be the Perfect ‘Soil Mate’

A collage of different types of soil

There’s a whole new generation of “soil mates” working to unlock the secrets in the soil.

The hope in healthy soil is taking root across America.

Farmers, ranchers, researchers, conservationists, non-profit organizations, foodies and others are all working to help regenerate our working lands by improving the health of function of our nation’s soil. So inspired by what they’re learning about the hope in healthy soil, there’s a whole new generation of “soil mates” working to unlock the secrets in the soil. Read more »