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Posts tagged: Science Tuesday

Tips for Starting an Organic Garden

Backyard organic gardening can be easier than you think – if you learn the basics. (Photo by Stephanie Engle)

Backyard organic gardening can be easier than you think – if you learn the basics. (Photo by Stephanie Engle)

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.

Even though there’s still snow on the ground over much of the country, it’s about time to start thinking about the logistics of planting your garden later this spring.  And while you’re thinking about it, why not consider going natural?

Whether you’re an avid gardener or just starting out, the idea of creating a garden using organic methods can seem overwhelming at first. But organic gardening is less daunting than you may think if you understand some basic principles; it’s about creating a more holistic, natural ecosystem and can be done right in your own backyard. 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 »

Black History Beyond February: REE’s Enduring Commitment to Communities of Color

USDA Deputy Under Secretary Ann Bartuska (center) tours the Mandela Foods Cooperative run in West Oakland by Mandela Marketplace Inc., a non-profit organization that has used USDA funding to help develop the community-owned grocery store, as well as community farm stands and a food distribution program. Mandela MarketPlace's projects have brought 500,000 pounds of fresh produce into low-income West Oakland.

USDA Deputy Under Secretary Ann Bartuska (center) tours the Mandela Foods Cooperative run in West Oakland by Mandela Marketplace Inc., a non-profit organization that has used USDA funding to help develop the community-owned grocery store, as well as community farm stands and a food distribution program. Mandela MarketPlace's projects have brought 500,000 pounds of fresh produce into low-income West Oakland.

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.

In recognizing February as Black History Month, President Obama called officials to “…reflect on our progress…” and “recommit to advancing what has been left undone.” At USDA, this topical charge is simply how we do business all year. We can’t adequately expand economic opportunity through innovation, promote sustainable agricultural production, or protect our natural resources without recognizing our past and tackling the challenges of today. Our Research, Education and Economics (REE) mission area’s engagement with the African-American community is not confined to a calendrical month; it is a thread in the institutional tapestry of broader dedication to service through agricultural research and education. Read more »

China Emerging as a Key Market for Agricultural Products

China’s imports of agricultural products have surged in recent years, with the United States a key supplier. A recent ERS report examines China’s emergence as a major agricultural importer.

China’s imports of agricultural products have surged in recent years, with the United States a key supplier. A recent ERS report examines China’s emergence as a major agricultural importer.

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.

China is often noted for its dominant export presence in the world market. The ubiquitous “Made in China” label, found on everything from pens to smart phones has made China’s export prowess acutely visible and at times overshadowed the other side of the country’s trade relationship with the world. But in recent years, China’s potential as a significant market has drawn increasing attention.

A new Economic Research Service (ERS) report examines China’s emergence as a major importer of agricultural products over the past decade. Between 2000 and 2013, China’s agricultural imports grew from US$ 10 billion to about US$ 123 billion. The surge in imports has been driven by rising incomes and changing consumer preferences as well as growing demand for industrial raw materials. While bulk commodities such as soybeans and cotton remain predominant in China’s agricultural imports, consumer preferences and increased purchasing power have broadened the scope of these imports. As a result, imports of processed and consumer-oriented products like meats, dairy, wine, and nuts are increasingly showing up in Chinese markets. Read more »

New Ag Statistics Showcase Importance of U.S. Agriculture

Troy Joshua, Environmental, Economics, and Demographics Branch Chief at the National Agricultural Statistics Service briefs results from the Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production report at the 2015 Agricultural Outlook Forum. The report is part of the agency’s new Current Agricultural Industrial Reports program which provides a glimpse into the processing of agricultural products including fuels, cooking oils, flour, and fabric. Photo by USDA/NASS.

Troy Joshua, Environmental, Economics, and Demographics Branch Chief at the National Agricultural Statistics Service briefs results from the Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production report at the 2015 Agricultural Outlook Forum. The report is part of the agency’s new Current Agricultural Industrial Reports program which provides a glimpse into the processing of agricultural products including fuels, cooking oils, flour, and fabric. Photo by USDA/NASS.

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.

At the recent Agricultural Outlook Forum I had the pleasure of speaking with hundreds of people regarding a new program I’m very excited about: the Current Agricultural Industrial Reports (CAIR). Here at NASS, we publish hundreds of reports every year on inventory, production, and values of U.S. agriculture products. The CAIR program takes us a step beyond. CAIR provides a glimpse into the processing of agricultural products such as fuels, cooking oils, flour, and fabric.

Data from the CAIR program are important to U.S. economic policy. Better data means better markets analysis, better strategic planning, better forecasting, and more well-informed business decisions and policies. That impacts every citizen. 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 »