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Posts tagged: ARS

Online Nutrition Resources at Your Fingertips

At home, school, or work, consumers can use USDA’s free ChooseMyPlate.gov, an interactive website for creating a customized healthy dietary plan that includes required daily vitamins and minerals, and age- and gender-appropriate daily portions and calorie levels. Users can also tap tools called “Daily Food Plan,” “SuperTracker,” and “Food-a-Pedia.”

At home, school, or work, consumers can use USDA’s free ChooseMyPlate.gov, an interactive website for creating a customized healthy dietary plan that includes required daily vitamins and minerals, and age- and gender-appropriate daily portions and calorie levels. Users can also tap tools called “Daily Food Plan,” “SuperTracker,” and “Food-a-Pedia.”

Even if you’re not among the 68 percent of U.S. adults who are overweight or obese, many consumers are striving to get a leg up on their nutritional health. Some of the simplest government facts can inspire consumers to better nutrition.

U.S. nutrition experts issue “leading indicators” on the nation’s nutritional health. USDA’s national “What We Eat In America” survey data indicate that dietary fiber intakes among U.S. consumers average only 16 grams per day. The problem is that the daily Adequate Intake for fiber is set at 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men! Read more »

Needing a Clearer Crystal Ball

Example of a within season crop condition map synthesizing information for corn, wheat, soybeans and rice from a combination of information from national and regional analysts and earth observation data. Map courtesy of GEOGLAM Crop Monitor, February 2015.

Example of a within season crop condition map synthesizing information for corn, wheat, soybeans and rice from a combination of information from national and regional analysts and earth observation data. Map courtesy of GEOGLAM Crop Monitor, February 2015.

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.

If you think the local weather forecaster has trouble predicting if it will rain tomorrow, imagine how hard it is to forecast crop production world-wide.

If there is too little rain in Brazil in August, it could delay planting of the country’s summer maize crop and subsequently diminish that harvest. If the decrease is big enough, it could possibly have implications for international commodity prices and might even impact global food security. This in turn can translate into the need for policy makers to respond to economic and trade issues and problems in countries where food insecurity is a persistent threat. Read more »

USDA Scientist’s Discoveries Boost Poultry Health

Dr. Hyun Lillehoj, ARS Research Molecular Biologist. ARS photo.

Dr. Hyun Lillehoj, ARS Research Molecular Biologist. ARS photo.

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.

When Hyun Lillehoj began her career as a scientist some 30 years ago, she never imagined that someday she’d receive a “thank you” in person from the President of the United States.

But that’s exactly what happened this past winter when Lillehoj was honored by President Barack Obama as winner of a Presidential Rank Award, one of several presented recently to honorees from various government agencies. Read more »

Ag Science on Wheels

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.

Carolyn Menne, an instructor with the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation (MAEF), quieted the kindergartners seated in the aisle of the outreach organization’s Mobile Science Laboratory, parked at the Beltsville Academy in Beltsville, Maryland.

She held up a purple Baltimore Ravens T-shirt, prompting some kids to cheer, while others looked on politely. (It turned out that they were Washington fans.) The shirt was one of about a dozen items Menne used to illustrate the connections between agriculture and the students’ daily lives—including popular sporting events they like to watch, such as a Ravens football game. Read more »

Frost on the Chickens

Robert Frost (1874-1963), one of the most popular and respected American poets of the twentieth century, was also a chicken farmer and egg producer in New Hampshire. Photo by Fred Palumbo, 1941, Library of Congress.

Robert Frost (1874-1963), one of the most popular and respected American poets of the twentieth century, was also a chicken farmer and egg producer in New Hampshire. Photo by Fred Palumbo, 1941, Library of Congress.

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 profile.

A phone call to USDA’s National Agricultural Library (NAL) seeking the original magazines with Robert Frost’s first published prose has now given rise to the library’s newest online exhibit. But why did a Frost aficionado call an agricultural library looking for these?

Because, before Robert Frost became ROBERT FROST, he was a chicken farmer with 300 white Wyandotte hens from 1900 to 1909 in Derry, New Hampshire. However, Frost wasn’t ever really a good fit for farming—he had serious hay fever, for one—and coops and eggs were a long way from four Pulitzer prizes for poetry. Read more »

Bill Gates, Computerized Plant Breeding and Contending with Hunger

Bill Gates learns to pollinate wheat from Cornell University assistant professor Jessica Rutkoski, while ARS geneticist Edward Buckler looks on. Photo credit: Robert Barker, Cornell University.

Bill Gates learns to pollinate wheat from Cornell University assistant professor Jessica Rutkoski, while ARS geneticist Edward Buckler looks on. Photo credit: Robert Barker, Cornell University.

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 profile.

Bill Gates, once simply of Microsoft fame, is now as famous for his dedication to reducing hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa and other goals that drive the work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  He recently visited Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research Unit in Ithaca, NY, to learn what two geneticists are doing to improve crop breeding decisions that could be used in that part of the world.

At the research unit, ARS geneticist Edward Buckler is turning the encyclopedic amount of genetic information he has developed about corn into helping the crop yield the kind of improvements in Africa that have been made in North America. Varieties bred for North American climates simply do not work in Africa where they currently produce only about one-fifth the harvest they do in this country. Millions of hungry and extremely poor people can’t afford the hundred years it would take for conventional breeding that was once the path taken in the United States. Read more »