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’re of a certain age, you might remember General Douglas MacArthur’s famous corncob pipe, or the one sported by “Granny” on the hit TV show “The Beverly Hillbillies.” But aside from those picturesque examples, corncobs have tended to mostly be considered a waste product left over from the harvest of the golden, juicy kernels of corn.
That’s in the process of changing, thanks to the scientists of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). For starters, they’ve shown that corn cobs left in the field after harvest can boost soil quality. Beyond that, those tough cobs can be used to make a whole host of products. Read more »
This week, in his State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out his plan to make America a magnet for jobs in the generations to come, and further strengthen the middle class. He stressed that in the wealthiest nation on earth, we must build up ladders of opportunity – to ensure that folks who work hard and play by the rules have a chance to get ahead.
The values the President spoke of in his address are shared by many across rural America. Our farmers, ranchers, rural businesses and families are committed to the value of hard work. They agree that we owe today’s young people the opportunity to get ahead. They know that we must continue working to alleviate rural poverty to build up the middle class across our nation.
The President’s first priority is to make America a magnet for jobs – and when it comes to job creation, there’s no place like rural America. Read more »
Secretary Vilsack receives the National Energy Leadership Award from the National Biodiesel Board. The award is given periodically to individuals who demonstrate exemplary vision and leadership in development of the renewable fuels industry. Pictured left to right are Ed Ulch, Governing Board Member, National Biodiesel Board; Secretary Tom Vilsack; and Joe Jobe, CEO, National Biodiesel Board.
In the days after the Super Bowl it is not unusual for spectators to “Monday morning quarterback” the advertisements, as well as the plays that were called. For the members of two renewable fuels industries, however, there was no disputing the message of the now famous “God made a farmer” ad featuring Paul Harvey. Last week in Las Vegas, the Renewable Fuels Association and the National Biodiesel Board both led off their meetings with this ad before Secretary Vilsack spoke. It became a starting point to discuss the Secretary’s compelling vision for rebuilding the rural economy, furthering efforts to develop advanced new biofuels, and creating more jobs in our small towns to grow and strengthen the middle class. Read more »
At USDA, we’ve made record efforts in the past four years to support homegrown energy. This year, we’re looking ahead to a promising future for biofuels.
Biofuels have already contributed a great deal to our economy, to our energy security and to the bottom line on our farms and ranches. Today we’re taking steps to strengthen the biofuels industry and helping innovate the next generation of advanced biofuels.
For example, we’ve invested more than $320 million into biofuels research to help accelerate the development of technology needed to take the next big steps. Read more »
Almost three years ago, two biology professors at Delta State University in Mississippi brainstormed how to give science undergraduates research experience in microbiology and entomology.
They hit upon the idea of searching for “science gold” in the bellies of bugs.
Professors Tanya McKinney and Ellen Green received $40,000 through a grant for under-represented colleges from the U.S. Forest Service to help with the project. As part of their research experience, students in the program search the guts of beetle larvae to discover new cellulases, enzymes that break down cellulose, an organic compound that helps make plant cell walls rigid.
Read more »
Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager describes Secretary Vilsack’s “All of the Above” energy strategy during the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit. USDA photo.
A mid-winter snow storm did not stop more than 200 participants from attending the 7th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit and Trade Show held January 30th in Des Moines.
During Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager’s presentation it was clear that everyone in attendance was extremely focused on helping identify ways the renewable fuels industry can continue to create economic opportunities in rural America. At the summit Mr. Tonsager also had the opportunity to hear Tom Buis with Growth Energy give a detailed overview of the ethanol industry and its many positive impacts throughout our country. Read more »