Dr. Woteki works with 4-H members.
The past eight years have been an extraordinary time for agricultural science, and for the application of new insights from other fields to enhance agricultural productivity and the overall agricultural economy. As the final days of this administration are approaching, it gives me a great deal of pride to look back at what USDA has accomplished in the areas of research and innovation.
Scientific research is a fundamental part of our mission at USDA. But, ultimately, what’s behind all the science is people – people who do the research and people who are affected by it. As USDA’s Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics, I’ve met and worked with both as I’ve traveled across the country and around the world. Read more »
Agricultural research means real results helping real people every day. Agronomist Edgar E. Hartwig has devoted half a century to soybeans research, developing productive plants with built-in resistance to insects, nematodes, and diseases. He is best known for commercial varieties that include Bragg, Lee, Forrest, Lamar, Sharkey, and most recently, Vernal. (USDA ARS photo by Keith Weller.)
Seeing President Obama’s fiscal year 2017 budget proposal and the strong commitment it makes to agricultural research reminds me of Dr. Consuelo De Moraes.
As a university researcher and panel manager of the National Research Initiative (NRI) competitive grants program, I called Dr. De Moraes in 2002 to inform her that USDA was going to fund her research proposal on determining how plants defend themselves against insects, so farmers could exploit the same as a means to control pests. She screamed with happiness. Later I learned that people heard the scream throughout the building at Pennsylvania State University. After that, Dr. De Moraes went on to great acclaim as one of the leading insect researchers. Read more »
Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) new monthly digital magazine, AgResearch, launches today. Check it out!
Today, I am proud to announce the launch of the Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) new digital AgResearch magazine. AgResearch is a monthly product designed to highlight short features on the scientific research discoveries occurring at the 90-plus ARS research laboratories across the Nation and abroad.
The new magazine replaces the previous print edition of the agency’s Agricultural Research magazine, which debuted in early 1953 and published its last print edition in 2013. Back then, the bimonthly publication focused on agricultural research stories that addressed the growing food, fiber and agricultural needs of post-World War II America. Today, we still have that same commitment to bring our readers the research discoveries that have an impact on their everyday lives. Read more »
Last week, USDA marked the six-month anniversary of the signing of the 2014 Farm Bill. I am proud to say that we’ve made important progress on every title of the Farm Bill, including issuing disaster assistance payments, updating risk management tools, modifying farm loan programs, announcing new support for agricultural research, establishing new conservation programs, and much more.
My team and I at USDA have gathered together some top statistics that show how the Farm Bill is at work in your state—and the record results we’ve achieved this time around. For example: Read more »
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 the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
Everyday at USDA, we work to ensure that American agriculture delivers safe, nutritious food and clean, plentiful water. But we’re facing serious challenges worldwide affecting agriculture and natural resources. With our agricultural system under stress, we must partner to find new ways to approach solutions to these challenges.
A new partnership that’s creating a lot of excitement is the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR). The Agricultural Act of 2014, commonly known as the 2014 Farm Bill, established this new, private, non-profit Foundation to foster research, innovation, and public-private partnerships important to America’s agricultural economy. This independent nonprofit foundation will consult with USDA to fund complementary research activities to address challenges relating to plant and animal health, production and products; food safety, nutrition and health; renewable energy, natural resources and the environment; agricultural and food security; agriculture systems and technology; and agricultural economics and rural communities. Congress provided $200 million for the Foundation, and this money must be matched by non-federal funds as the Foundation identifies and approves projects. In this way, the Foundation will leverage private donations to fund research activities making this a truly public-private partnership. Read more »
While most people have a mental image of research that involves scientists in lab coats, bubbling test tubes and beakers, and technical language that can seem complex, much of the groundbreaking research conducted by USDA scientists actually ends up on your plate, in your home, or on your back. Their discoveries in the lab truly translate into science you can see.
For example, many of us make a conscious effort to eat healthier and cut calories, but it can be tough when faced with a favorite snack, like French fries. USDA scientists have figured out a way to make French fries healthier. Before frying, scientists exposed potato strips to a few minutes of infrared heat. This forms a crispy outer shell on the outside of the fries, which helps to reduce their oil uptake and ultimately reduces calories per serving. If adopted commercially, this method is great news for both food processors and our waistlines. Read more »