NPR’s “The Takeaway” program recently examined the “The Biggest Challenges Facing America and the World.” The episode included an interview with USDA Chief Scientist and Undersecretary Catherine Woteki on the challenge of being able to feed a world population that is estimated to reach more than 9 billion people by the year 2050.
On behalf of USDA, Dr. Woteki played a key role in the formation of Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN), an international organization which supports efforts to make agricultural and nutritional data available, accessible, and usable for unrestricted use worldwide. She said harvesting such data could be a key to harvesting enough future crops to meet future challenges. Read more »
Nuña beans. USDA-ARS photo.
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.
Indigenous people of the Andes Mountains in South America have farmed the nuña bean (a.k.a. “Peruvian Popping bean”) as a staple crop for centuries. Its colorful, nutty-flavored seed is especially prized for its tendency to pop open when roasted—a cooking method that requires less firewood than boiling in fuel-scarce regions.
At the Agricultural Research Service’s Western Regional Plant Introduction Station in Pullman, Washington, plant geneticist Ted Kisha curates an edible dry bean collection that includes 91 accessions of high-altitude nuña beans grown by Andean farmers in Peru, the origin for this legume member of the Phaseolus vulgaris family. Read more »
Challis National Forest Soil Scientist Jeremy Back monitoring forest soils
Soils sustain life. Without soils there would be no life as we know it. Consider what healthy soils mean for the 154 national forests and 20 grasslands in 44 states and Puerto Rico. Soils provide the fertility needed to grow the plants, forests and grasslands that support and shelter humans and animals; they store water and carbon; they recycle and purify water, air and nutrients; and healthy soils can reduce nutrient loading, sediment production and runoff.
Healthy productive soils are critical to the Forest Service mission to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nations’ forests and grasslands to meet the needs of future and present generations. Many of the forests and grasslands we manage today were created as part of a national effort to protect soil and water resource degradation and restore forests and ecosystems. The original forest reserves were identified to protect and secure favorable flows of water and timber (Organic Act). This included the means to reduce or minimize soil erosion.
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USDA joins everyone celebrating 125 years of the Second Morrill Act, which has provided educational opportunities for all.
Booker T. Washington. George Washington Carver. Educators par excellence. Pioneers in food and agricultural scientific research. Dedicated their lives to helping “lift the veil of ignorance” by bringing knowledge to African-Americans and others with limited resources.
For 125 years, since passage of the Second Morrill Act on Aug. 30, 1890, which created a “broader education for the American people in the arts of peace, and especially in agriculture and mechanics arts,” the legacy of innovations has been sustained. Read more »
Tree planting in Kfardebian, Mount Lebanon. (Photo Credit: Lebanon Reforestation Initiative)
Since 2013, the United Nations (UN) has selected March 21 to be the unique day that the world thinks about the importance of trees. The U.S. Forest Service celebrates the International Day of Forests by bringing awareness about our involvement with international partners to continue to protect the health of forest worldwide.
For instance in the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean country of Lebanon, the power of one symbolic cedar tree, the image on the country’s flag, captures the promise and strength of an entire nation. Read more »
Covering millions of acres of forested lands in the West, the Ponderosa Pine can grow to heights of over 200 feet. (U.S. Forest Service Photo)
The second in a series of blogs honoring the United Nation’s 2015 International Day of Forests
On Saturday, March 21, the U.S. Forest Service will celebrate the United Nation’s International Day of Forests. With such an important worldwide recognition of all forests do for us humans, the Forest Service would like folks to ask themselves: Do I really know how much trees contribute to my daily life?
Or, in another words, what is the power of one tree?
Just as we humans are comprised of many parts functioning together allowing us to do wondrous things, the anatomy of a tree is just as wondrous, empowering them with super hero qualities. Read more »