Grassland-shrub savanna characteristic of the northern Chihuahuan Desert on the 193,000-acre Jornada Experimental Range. Photo by Peggy Greb, USDA-ARS
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.
Some of the world’s most unique cacti, reptiles and plants reside right here in the United States among our nation’s lush watersheds and rangelands. Their ability to survive and thrive provide clues to preserving a diverse, sustainable habitat well into the future. USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are the stewards of some of the agricultural lands that these fascinating creatures live on.
One such place, ARS’s Jornada Rangeland Research Facility in Las Cruces, NM, is a treasure trove for observing and gathering long-term information about how these species, environmental factors and agricultural practices intertwine and impact one another. Read more »
Map of USDA’s Long-Term Agro-ecosystem Research (LTAR) sites and farm resource regions.
During the month of April we will take a closer look at USDA’s Groundbreaking Research for a Revitalized Rural America, highlighting ways USDA researchers are improving the lives of Americans in ways you might never imagine. For example, finding sustainable ways to produce food for Americans and the growing global population.
Today is Earth Day, which gives us the opportunity to celebrate the magnificence of our planet. It’s a day to observe and support our environmental commitment to our planet now and in the future.
USDA scientists play an important role in protecting our environment. Much of our research is focused on finding sustainable agricultural solutions to producing food, feed and fiber to meet our nation’s and the world’s ever-growing demand. We develop environmentally friendly practices that farmers, ranchers, and others involved in food production can integrate into their operations. Read more »
A blue heron on the Choptank River in Maryland, one of the benchmark watersheds that USDA researchers are evaluating as part of the Conservation Effects Assessment Project.
USDA researchers are working together to protect and conserve our beautiful nation and all of its majestic natural resources for generations to come. As part of USDA’s Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP), more than 60 USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are working together to gain a better understanding of the role that agricultural conservation programs and practices play in achieving our nation’s environmental objectives of clean air and water, healthy soils and flourishing natural habitats.
USDA began the CEAP program in 2003 to study the environmental benefits of conservation practices implemented through 2002 Farm Bill programs. As part of CEAP, ARS scientists are evaluating 14 watersheds across 12 ARS locations to provide the additional scientific basis for the CEAP National Assessment being led by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Those watersheds were selected in part to address specific concerns, like manure management on animal feeding operations, water use on irrigated cropland, drainage water management, wildlife habitat and riparian restoration. These watershed studies also should help develop performance measures for estimating soil, water and air quality, and perhaps other potential benefits for specific conservation practices. Read more »
ARS Technician Jeff Nichols collects a water sample from the Walnut Creek watershed in Ames, Iowa.
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 the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
From ensuring the sustainability of our water resources, to breeding crops tolerant to changing climactic conditions, to preparing for the increased food demands of 9 billion people by 2050, finding solutions to the biggest agricultural challenges we face will require a new level of scientific innovation, coordination and long-term planning. As Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Associate Dean Joe Colletti recently put it, ag science is not rocket science – it’s more complicated than rocket science! Read more »