Farmers have long looked to the clouds for signs of relief, but a new competition launched by USDA and Microsoft will tap the Internet cloud to help farmers and our food systems to adapt to climate change. The “Innovation Challenge” is asking software developers to create applications that will use more than 100 years of USDA data to explore how our food system can achieve better food resiliency.
Climate change will likely affect every aspect of the food system—whether it’s the ability to grow food, the reliability of food transportation and food safety efforts, or the dynamics of international trade in agricultural goods. Even so, we don’t yet fully know how to anticipate and mitigate any negative changes. Read more »
SBIR grant recipients Ann Adams and Liz Brensinger with SBIR program coordinator Charles Cleland
For hundreds of years, agriculture has fostered a community of “makers” – people who have engineered the tools that ensure a steady, abundant supply of food and fiber under a wide variety of conditions. From the invention of the cotton gin in 1793, Mason jars in 1858, the gasoline tractor in 1892, to the current use of “big data” and genetic tools, the agriculture industry has made huge leaps and bounds in technology and engineering.
On June 12th and 13th, USDA joined other Federal agencies and a wide variety of public and private-sector organizations to celebrate the culture of “making” at the first-ever National Maker Faire. Held on the University of District Columbia campus in Washington, D.C., the National Maker Faire is part of a broad network of Maker Faires across the country that celebrate the spirit of curiosity, invention, and do-it-yourself determination. Read more »
NRCS Partner Employee Elizabeth Ciuzio Freiday, certified wildlife biologist, in a field of the vine kudzu, which is highly threatening to native communities. Photo by New Jersey Audubon Society, used with permission.
The new app, called New Jersey Invasives,can help farmers, forest landowners and outdoor enthusiasts quickly identify newly discovered and localized invasive species and get information on how to combat them before they become a larger and more costly problem. Read more »
To recognize the contribution that research in agriculture makes in our daily lives, we’re focusing this month’sScience Tuesdayblogs on the successes that USDA science agencies have achieved for us all.
For over a century, USDA research has spurred innovation and created many great products for our families, but we haven’t done it alone. Partnering with a vast network of university scientists — as well as other federal agencies, private industry, and other groups — the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) supports agricultural research and extension through competitive grants on topics of great importance to us all. NIFA is also committed to educating our youth in science and agriculture, supporting opportunities for rural communities, 4-H, and scholars programs. So, today we’re focusing on the research of NIFA and its partners because “Ag Research Counts” every day, for every American. We’re continuing our trivia contest on Facebook with questions from past ‘Science Tuesday’ blogs. Feel free to participate on Twitter using the hashtag #AgResearchCounts. Here are this week’s blogs featuring NIFA-funded research that impacts each of us every day: Read more »
“Ask Karen,” an online food safety question and answer service provided by the United States Department of Agriculture. Food Safety Inspection Service is now mobile. “Ask Karen” provides 24/7 virtual assistance and tips on preventing food borne illness, safe food handling, storage and safe preparation of meat, poultry and egg products. USDA Photo by Bob Nichols.
Last week the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) Mobile Ask Karen app earned high-praise from Government Computer News (link will take you offsite). The publication gave a tip-of-the-hat to Mobile Ask Karen, ranking it as one of “The 10 best federal mobile apps.” Mobile Ask Karen was heralded as “a perfect example” and “the best of the bunch,” and was the only app to earn perfect scores in the categories of usefulness, ease of use, and coolness factor. Read more »
NRCS Soil Scientist Dr. Dylan Beaudette developed the SoilWeb application for mobile devices while he was a graduate student at UC Davis. The app provides soil survey information in a mobile form and is particularly useful for those working in the field.
A new smartphone application, or “app,” is available as a free download for both iPhone and Android users to access soil survey information. The app, SoilWeb, combines online soil survey information with the GPS capabilities of smartphones. Read more »