American innovation is one of our most special traditions, fueling our nation to new heights over the course of our history. Innovation is critically important in rural America, where research is helping to grow American agriculture, create new homegrown products, generate advanced renewable energy and more.
Continued research has the capacity to lead the way to economic opportunity and new job creation in rural areas – and USDA has been hard at work to carry out these efforts. But we need Congress to get its work done and provide a new Farm Bill that recommits our nation to innovation in the years to come. Read more »
It’s no secret that agricultural work is tough work – and as America’s farm families know, it can be dangerous. Last year, agriculture recorded the highest fatal injury rate of any industry, with the rate of on-the-job fatality in agriculture nearly seven times the rate for all U.S. workers.
Adding complexity to this challenge is the unique role that youth play on the farm and ranch. Many farms and ranches are a family business. This important tradition strengthens American agriculture and instills important life skills for our young people.
Unfortunately, this means that young people also share in the hazards of farm work. On average, more than 100 youth die each year in farm-related accidents. Thousands more are injured on the farm or ranch. Read more »
Our farmers and ranchers are the most productive on earth, largely due to their innovation and their ability to adapt to new challenges. As new threats emerge for American agriculture, USDA will be there to provide assistance – and this week, we announced new steps to help producers create solutions to meet modern environmental threats.
We’re already seeing these new challenges emerge. Last year was the second most intense year in our history for extreme weather events. It was also the warmest on record for the continental United States. Read more »
As USDA’s Chief Scientist I oversee a team of world class scientists, economists, statisticians, and support staff working to solve some of the biggest challenges facing us all – a changing climate, uncertain energy sources, rising childhood obesity rates, food insecurity around the globe – and making sure our solutions are safe and sustainable.
In 2010, one of my first initiatives as Chief Scientist was to ask this group of food, agricultural, and natural resource science professionals to develop an Action Plan for USDA Science. The Action Plan provides an in depth analysis of these challenges and identifies the roles of USDA’s science agencies in addressing them. Read more »
Tomorrow, Secretary Vilsack and I will participate in the Future of Food, Food Security for the 21st Century conference, which is sponsored by The Washington Post. I am pleased to see the topic of food security getting such attention, as I believe it’s one of the biggest challenges we face now and in the next 50 years. As director of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), I believe NIFA has a crucial role to play in addressing these challenges.
We are facing a “9 billion challenge,” in that the global population is projected to hit 9 billion by the year 2050. This challenge presents what I call wicked problems that require us to find ways to feed, clothe, shelter all people, and meet their energy needs, without wreaking havoc on the environment. Read more »
Trevor Nichols (left), Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Agricultural Bioscience CABI-Plantwise and Dr. Catherine Woteki (right), Undersecretary, Research Education and Economics signed a Memorandum of Understanding to make the United States Department of Agriculture’s research and genetic information accessible to “plant doctors” working to prevent disease and pests in developing countries at the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, February 7, 2012.
As USDA celebrates 150 years of serving American agriculture and rural communities, it is important to remember the enormous contribution of the Cooperative Extension Service, a three-way partnership between USDA and our state and county partners that forms a nationwide network of expertise. These experts work with Americans on issues that relate to a wide range of topics including: agriculture, natural resource management, nutrition, youth development, community empowerment, household and family budgeting, and disaster assistance, among others. Read more »