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Posts tagged: Science Tuesday

High Five for NIFA-Funded Projects at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

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.

As we look back on 2015, NIFA is also celebrating the partnership we have developed with the nation’s land-grant universities (LGUs), who play a critical role teaching students to meet the high quality, innovative research needs that are vital to the production of our country’s food, fuel, and fiber. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides support to historically black colleges and universities that were designated at as LGUs in the Second Morrill Act in 1890.  Grants to these 1890 universities support research, extension, and teaching in the food and agricultural sciences by building the institutional capacities of these schools.  Looking back on 2015, here are 5 highlights. Read more »

Rural America in the Post-Recession Years

Panorama of the Glut, tan brick building with green awning, and the neighborhood they serve in Mount Rainier, Maryland. USDA Photo illustration by Lance Cheung.

Panorama of the Glut, tan brick building with green awning, and the neighborhood they serve in Mount Rainier, Maryland. USDA Photo illustration by Lance Cheung.

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.

Each year, USDA’s Economic Research Service provides a snapshot of the rural economy in a report entitled Rural America at a Glance.  The past year witnessed some encouraging trends, as rural employment grew more than 1 percent during the year ending in second-quarter 2015, following several years of stagnation. Rural unemployment also fell below 6 percent in 2015 for the first time since mid-2008.

Despite the positive trend, rural employment in mid-2015 was still 3.2 percent below its pre-recession peak in 2007.  Rural employment growth was also outpaced by an urban employment growth rate of nearly 2 percent over the recent one-year period. Read more »

Poinsettias: Helping an Icon to Bloom at the Right Time

A close-up of a poinsettia

Even though their sales period is just 6 weeks each year, poinsettias rank as one of the country’s best selling potted plant.

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.

Poinsettias are more than just an icon of the Christmas season. They’ve become the go-to plant for decorating homes, hotels, offices and just about everywhere from the Friday after Thanksgiving to well past New Year’s Day.

This wasn’t always the poinsettia’s story. In the 1950s, poinsettias were flashy plants that made a brief appearance in public places shortly before Christmas, only to drop their leaves and colorful flower-like bracts a few days later. They were expensive to grow because their blooming time was difficult to synchronize with the holidays, and the plants easily grew tall and leggy. Read more »

Tribal Communities Strive to Regain Food Sovereignty

A crew from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians taking care of crops inside a high tunnel

A crew from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians takes care of crops inside a high tunnel constructed with Community Food Projects (CFP) funds. CFP grants help local communities take control over their local food supply. (Photo courtesy of John Hendrix)

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.

For thousands of years Native Americans thrived in self-sustaining communities.  Now, many have to make do with whatever food and basic goods can be hauled in by truck.

“The Oglala Lakota people thrived for centuries as a self-sustaining community.  They utilized the bounty of their local environment to provide food and shelter,” said Nick Hernandez, Community Food Project director at South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation.  “In modern times, 95 percent of food and basic goods are hauled onto the Oglala Lakota Nation, perpetuating a phenomenon known as a ‘food desert’.” Read more »

Discovering the Health Benefits of Wine Grape Seeds

WholeVine gluten-free Chardonnay grape seed flour bag beside a plate of cookies and a bottle of wine with red and white grapes behind them

Research by USDA-ARS scientists and cooperative partner, WholeVine Products, have shown that Chardonnay grape seed flours reduce cholesterol and weight gain in lab studies. USDA-ARS photo by Peggy Greb.

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.

What happens to seeds from wine grapes? They’re typically put in compost, mixed in cattle feed, or dumped in landfills. But this may be seen as a waste for bakers who like cooking with specialty ingredients and those of us who are looking for foods that could benefit our health.

The USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is partnering with WholeVine Products in Sonoma, California, to explore the health benefits of unique wine grape seed flours, which can be used in breads, cookies, crackers and other goodies. Read more »

Helping Farmers in Pakistan and the U.S.

David Marshall, research leader of the USDA-ARS Plant Science Research Unit, examining rust infections in a greenhouse in Muree, Pakistan

David Marshall, research leader of the USDA-ARS Plant Science Research Unit, Raleigh, NC, examines rust infections in a greenhouse in Muree, Pakistan.

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.

Plant diseases can easily cross international borders and damage crops in neighboring countries. The good news is that in Pakistan, scientists with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are working toward a solution.

David Marshall, a research leader at the USDA-ARS Plant Science Research Unit in Raleigh, North Carolina, has been collaborating with Pakistani scientists in recent years to prevent losses there from wheat rust diseases including Ug99, a fungal disease that threatens wheat production worldwide. Ug99, which was first reported in Uganda in 1999, has not yet been detected in Pakistan (or in the United States). But it is transmitted by wind-blown spores and has been detected in neighboring Iran. It is widely expected to reach Pakistan in the near future. Read more »