Cross posted from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy blog:
In an exciting opportunity, the G-8 is inviting innovators to apply to present ideas that demonstrate how open data can be unleashed to increase food security at the G-8 International Conference on Open Data in Agriculture on April 29-30, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
Open data is being used by innovators and entrepreneurs around the world to accelerate development, whether it be tracking election transparency in Kenya or providing essential information to rural farmers in Uganda. The G-8 conference will convene policy makers, thought leaders, food security stakeholders, and data experts to discuss the role of public, agriculturally-relevant data in increasing food security and to build a strategy to spur innovation by making agriculture data more accessible. As part of the conference, selected applicants will be invited to showcase innovative uses of open data for food security in either a Lightning Presentation (a 3-5 minute, image-rich presentation on the first day of the conference) or in the Exhibit Hall (an image-rich exhibit on display throughout the two-day conference). Read more »
Two teachers currently training at the new Dowa Teachers Training College that opened in Malawi Nov. 30. The college was built with the help of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Food for Progress (FFP) program, and more than 250 qualified primary school teachers will graduate from there annually. The teachers will instruct children in the rural communities throughout Malawi. (Courtesy Photo)
School children in the rural communities of Malawi will soon have access to more qualified primary school educators, thanks in part to the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Food for Progress (FFP) program. Read more »
As young people that grew up in urban areas, it’s easy to wonder why we, or our peers, should care about the Farm Bill. The truth of the matter is, the Farm Bill affects more than just farmers.
As Congress works to pass a new Farm Bill before the end of the year, it’s crucial to make our voices heard on this important topic.
From the rural youth looking to take over the family farm to the urban gardener looking to grow fresh produce on the rooftop of their apartment building; from aspiring beginning farmers to outdoorsmen; from farmers market lovers to grocery store regulars, the Farm Bill is everywhere. Read more »
Researchers in Njoro, Kenya, evaluating wheat for resistance to Ug99 in October 2005.
The Journal Nature today published a paper reporting that scientists from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), as part of an international team, have completed a shotgun sequencing of the wheat genome. The achievement is expected to increase wheat yields, help feed the world and speed up development of wheat varieties with enhanced nutritional value. Wheat is one of the world’s “big three” crops, along with rice and corn, upon which the world’s growing population depends for nutrition.
Sequencing the genome of wheat was unusually daunting because the wheat genome is five times the size of the human genome, and has 94,000 to 96,000 genes. This sequencing effort involved the identification of essentially all of those genes and mapping their relationship to other genes. Previously, the size and complexity of the wheat genome had been significant barriers to performing a complete analysis, but the scientists overcame that problem by developing a new strategy that compared wheat genetic sequences to known grass genes, such as from rice and barley. Read more »
Last month, hundreds of people from around the world gathered in Des Moines, Iowa, to honor this year’s World Food Prize Laureate, Dr. Daniel Hillel, for his pioneering scientific work in micro-irrigation. His drip technology revolutionized the way farmers watered crops and increased food production in the arid regions of the Middle East and other parts of the world for the past five decades.
Dr. Hillel’s recognition inspired many in attendance including Dr. Rajashekhara Rao Korada, a senior scientist from India currently in the United States for the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program, a program named in honor of the “Father of the Green Revolution.” During his 12-week fellowship at Louisiana State University, he’s studying pest management strategies for sweet potato crops. Read more »
On October 16, World Food Day, it is hard to not be struck by how lucky we are in the United States. We have abundant food that costs us less to produce, on a per unit basis, than almost any other country in the world. Our farmers and ranchers produce more than we need, allowing us to be a powerhouse in global exports. And our food supply is among the safest of all the world’s nations.
All that abundance and security has been underpinned by science and know-how. Between the 1940s and the 1970s, agriculture science blossomed in what has become known as the Green Revolution. Thanks to the research done by Norman Borlaug, the “Father of the Green Revolution,” working with researchers around the world, developed high-yielding varieties and modern production practices that helped save untold numbers of people from starvation. Read more »