Colorful ARS-bred carrots, packed with healthful pigments to punch up their nutrition level. ARS photo by Stephen Ausmus.
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.
Organic carrots are coming into their own. About 14 percent of U.S.-produced carrots are now classified as organic, making carrots one of the highest ranked crops in terms of the total percentage produced organically. With production and demand increasing in recent years, organic-carrot growers need help deciding which varieties to grow. Some varieties perform well as a conventional crop, but not so well under organic conditions. While conventional growers also can fumigate to control nematodes, bacterial diseases and fungal pathogens, organic growers don’t have that option. Read more »
A group of 30 university students, announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, will get a head start to a career in agriculture as winners of USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum Student Diversity Program. Twenty university juniors and seniors were chosen based their essays on “Agriculture as a Career.” Additionally, 10 graduate students were chosen in response to “The Greatest Challenge Facing Agriculture over the Next Five Years.” Read more »
USDA-ARS maintains a collection of dry beans obtained from around the globe and catalogued for important traits, like resistance to diseases and pests. USDA-ARS photo by Steve Ausmus.
2016 has been named “International Year of the Pulses” by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN). The goal of the initiative is to educate consumers about the nutritional and other benefits of eating pulse crops, as well as to marshal the capabilities of agricultural research organizations around the world in developing new, improved varieties that will help further global food security and sustainable agriculture.
Pulses refer to the dry edible seed of certain leguminous plants—most notably dry beans (like kidney, pinto and navy beans), dry peas, lentils and chickpeas. Read more »
Students enrolled in the STEP UP to USDA Career Success program take part in an intense short course in environmental soil science. (Photo courtesy of Tanner Machado)
The lack of women and minority representation in the professional agricultural workforce has become so pronounced that in STEM Stratplan 2013 President Obama called for an “all-hands-on-deck approach to science, technology, engineering, and math” (STEM) education.
According to the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, despite accounting for 16 percent of the U.S. population, Hispanics earned only 8 percent of all certificates and degrees awarded in STEM fields. Read more »
The berry impact recording device (BIRD) was developed with a blueberry’s size, shape, weight, and external texture. BIRD records the rough ride berries take from harvest to the market so producers can find and eliminate sources of yield loss. (Photo courtesy of Changying Li)
Although automation in agriculture is often synonymous with efficiency, that has not been the case with harvesting and processing berries. That is about to change.
Automated berry processing systems often damage the fruit, which results in lower profitability for growers and marketers. To counter this, a University of Georgia (UGA)-led research team is developing an advanced sensor system to help harvest and process fresh-market highbush blueberries at high-speed and with low yield loss. Read more »
The USDA National Agricultural Library’s Agricultural Law Information Partnership website is a resource to help people find information relating to agricultural law. (Illustration credit: Jody Shuart, ARS).
Success in any part of agriculture today means being able to successfully navigate local, state and federal laws and regulations — from water rights to food safety regulations, from crop insurance to organic certification.
To help people find such legal information, the National Agricultural Library (NAL) has recently developed the Agricultural Law Information Partnership website. This partnership is a collaboration between NAL, the National Agricultural Law Center at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture (NALC), and the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) at the Vermont Law School. Read more »