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The Search for Genetic Clues to Determine Chronic Wasting Disease Susceptibility

As cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) continue to rise, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is looking to genetics for new and innovative ways to reduce the prevalence of this brain-wasting disease in farmed and wild deer and elk populations. Working in collaboration with Texas A&M University and Texas Parks and Wildlife, APHIS has identified a handful of promising regions in the white-tailed deer genome allowing the researchers to distinguish animals highly susceptible to CWD with greater than 80 percent accuracy.

Past, Present, and Future Research on Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens, in Washington State, erupted 40 years ago today. The largest landslide in recorded history filled valleys below with debris, and ash fell from the sky for weeks, blanketing the nearby area and affecting regions as far away as the Rocky Mountains. Within just two weeks, ash from the blast had circled the globe. 57 people lost their lives and hundreds of homes, buildings and structures were destroyed.

Science Simulations Support Salmon, Other Species

How do river ecosystems support fish? How do environmental changes influence the system’s capacity to support fish? And how might different restoration strategies influence fish? These are questions J. Ryan Bellmore, a research fish biologist who works in Juneau, Alaska, for the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station, and his partners set out to answer.

From Research to the Marketplace: USDA Scientist Invents New Uses for Produce and Grains

Sometimes food scraps can turn into gold. Tara McHugh, of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), has overseen this alchemy as director of ARS’s Western Regional Research Center in Albany, California. Over the course of her career, McHugh has investigated ways to take food-processing waste and turn it into value-added products, such as fruit bars, vegetable crisps and even edible films made from produce.

Creating the Perfect Picnic with USDA’s Help

Have you ever considered what it takes to create the perfect picnic beyond the hamburgers, hot dogs, and iced tea? Most often, we include wholesome fruit and veggies to create the perfect side items or sweet treats. Whether its fresh corn-on-the-cob or plump, juicy strawberries on the shortcake, USDA-related research helps bring it all together.

Scientific Discoveries Impact Our Everyday Lives

Every day, some 2,000 ARS scientists go to work at over 90 research locations across the United States and abroad. Their job? To deliver scientific and innovative solutions to agricultural challenges affecting our Nation. As part of that job, ARS scientists frequently collaborate with research partners from universities, companies, organizations and even other countries.

The Cost of Raising a Child

USDA recently issued Expenditures on Children by Families, 2015. This report is also known as “The Cost of Raising a Child.” USDA has been tracking the cost of raising a child since 1960 and this analysis examines expenses by age of child, household income, budgetary component, and region of the country.

Based on the most recent data from the Consumer Expenditures Survey, in 2015, a family will spend approximately $12,980 annually per child in a middle-income ($59,200-$107,400), two-child, married-couple family. Middle-income, married-couple parents of a child born in 2015 may expect to spend $233,610 ($284,570 if projected inflation costs are factored in*) for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise a child through age 17. This does not include the cost of a college education.

Selecting Trees to Grow in Cities: Database Captures Urban Tree Sizes, Growth Rates Across US

In the cramped environs of U.S. cities every inch counts, especially if attempting to make space for nature. But now city planners and urban foresters have a resource to more precisely select tree species whose growth will be a landscaping dream instead of a maintenance nightmare.

The U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station recently published a technical manual and launched the most extensive database available cataloging urban trees with their projected growth tailored to specific geographic regions.

September: A Nice Time to Celebrate Rice Research

September is National Rice Month, and the Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center in Stuttgart, Arkansas, is well positioned—literally and figuratively—to support the production, harvest, and public enjoyment of this versatile and nutritious grain. And on the world-food security front, ARS’ Stuttgart center is closing in on genes that regulate rice’s uptake and storage of iron, thiamine and other important vitamins and minerals—a pursuit that could bolster the nutritional value of this cereal grain crop as a staple food for roughly half the world’s population.

In the United States, nearly 85 percent of the rice eaten by consumers is grown on family-run farms across six States:  Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas. Of these, Arkansas produces about half of all U.S. rice on nearly 1.3 million acres of cropland.

The Science Behind Fire

In recent months, we have all become familiar with images in the media of wildland firefighters digging lines, air tankers dropping retardant and fire engines dispersing water. You may wonder “how do these firefighters know what it takes to fight fire?”

The short answer is: research.

Before a wildland firefighter sees his or her first fire, they are given the tools and training on how to fight fire and its behavior. The information passed onto them is not learned overnight but rather through years of research.