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Oh Maple Syrup, How I Love Thee. Let me Count the Ways.

MDAR Maple ALB Poster

Poster created by the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture to promote maple syrup and stop Asian longhorned beetle.

Okay, yes it’s Maple Syrup Day, an unofficial holiday, but the day allows us to celebrate and recognize this often underrated commodity. So in honor of this lovely product, here are some interesting tidbits that you may not know.

I use maple syrup on many things; not just pancakes, waffles and French toast, but also in recipes like soups and casseroles, to sweeten granola or oatmeal, even coffee. I’ve used it on ice cream and even snow, on salads and in salad dressings. My own step-father is known to take a shot of maple syrup every now-and-then. It is delightful on its own. Maple syrup can also be used to make maple cream, maple sugar, and maple candy. Read more »

Saving Our Forest Heritage in a Vault

Whitebark pine at Crater Lake National Park

Whitebark pine at Crater Lake National Park.

Trees are often referred to as the lungs of the earth, providing not only the oxygen we need to breathe but a filter to clean our air and water. Trees from forested lands provide timber for our homes, food for people and wildlife, protection from weather extremes and, in urban and rural settings, beautify cities and landscapes alike.

As the largest steward of forested lands in the nation, the U.S. Forest Service works to protect and enhance forest resources not only on National Forests, but on all the Nation’s forests. Our agency puts a lot of effort into safeguarding trees where they grow, but trees are increasingly at risk from fire, changes in climate, insects, diseases and development. Read more »

Where Passion Meets Purpose: The Snow Survey

Hydrologist Randy Julander

Hydrologist Randy Julander has been managing Utah’s snow survey program for the past 24 years.

“To say I enjoy my job is an understatement,” said Hydrologist Randy Julander. “Monday is my favorite day of the week, because I get to go back to work.”

As the Snow Survey Data Collection Officer in Utah, Julander’s job is a mix of science, adventure and artistry. He weaves information from data. “Data are just numbers on a page; but information – now that’s something meaningful, something that informs decision makers,” he explained. Read more »

High Five for NIFA-Funded Projects at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

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.

As we look back on 2015, NIFA is also celebrating the partnership we have developed with the nation’s land-grant universities (LGUs), who play a critical role teaching students to meet the high quality, innovative research needs that are vital to the production of our country’s food, fuel, and fiber. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides support to historically black colleges and universities that were designated at as LGUs in the Second Morrill Act in 1890.  Grants to these 1890 universities support research, extension, and teaching in the food and agricultural sciences by building the institutional capacities of these schools.  Looking back on 2015, here are 5 highlights. Read more »

High Five for Pollinators: Busy Bees, Bats and Butterflies

Day and night, pollinators are at work all around us—and it’s not just honey bees. Did you know that pollinators are responsible for one out of three bites of food we eat? If you’d like to learn more, we’ve pulled together five blogs from 2015 highlighting some surprising facts about these busy helpers and the many ways different USDA agencies, farmers, ranchers and other partners are working to keep all pollinators healthy. Read more »

Forest Service Teams Help in Aftermath of Historic Flooding in Tbilisi, Georgia

US Forest Service engineers discussing alternatives for reestablishing access on a road destroyed by the landslide

US Forest Service engineers discuss alternatives for reestablishing access on a road destroyed by the landslide. (Photo credit/U.S. Forest Service)

Last summer, after a flash flood swept through Tbilisi, the capital of the nation of Georgia, the U.S. Forest Service deployed three teams to help address some of the most critical challenges.

The horrific event killed 19 people, forced 67 families from their homes, destroyed roads, and flooded the city zoo. Most of the animals died and the surviving animals wandered the city’s streets. Read more »