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Research And Science

Scientists Explore Gene Editing to Manage Invasive Species

In the U.S., the environmental and economic costs caused by invasive species are estimated to exceed $120 billion per year. Since invasive pests have few or no natural predators, they can quickly spread, and throw off entire ecosystems by pushing out native species and reducing biological diversity. Once introduced, non-native insects can decimate crops and forests. Invasive rodents are also disruptive—particularly on island ecosystems, where they are the leading cause of plant and animal extinctions. Exotic plant pests and diseases threaten U.S. food security, quality of life, and the economy.

Bison Ranchers and Stewards Asked to Complete Bison Health and Management Study

What comes to mind when you think of South Dakota? Is it the Black Hills, presidential busts and bison? According to USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s 2017 Census of Agriculture, South Dakota has the largest inventory of bison of any state in the United States, with over 30,000 bison spread across 99 farms and ranches. We will update these numbers and find out if this holds true with the upcoming 2022 Census of Agriculture. Census of Agriculture data collection begins this fall.

An Agriculture Community Commemorates the Mule Train to DC

Last month, I had the honor to serve as keynote speaker for The Mule Train’s 54th anniversary. The Mule Train left Marks, Mississippi and traveled to Washington, D.C., on May 13, 1968, as part of Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign to demand economic justice since Marks resided in the poorest U.S. county at the time. However, Dr. King did not witness the Mule Train because he was assassinated the month before the demonstration.

The Buzz About Pollinators

It’s National Pollinators Week! As an annual celebration supporting pollinators and pollinator health, we want to highlight USDA’s ongoing investments in pollinator health, crop production, and conservation. USDA’s investments help ensure the continued health of pollinators and their contribution to agriculture, food systems and ecosystems.