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Research and Science

NASS Economic Data Help Farmers and Those Who Support and Serve Them

Working on my family’s farm in Montana as a teenager, one of the earliest lessons I learned from my father was the importance of understanding the farm finances. His lessons about maximizing profits instead of working to maximize yields have helped drive my understanding of farm economics. You could even say that my interest in these economics has influenced my career path within USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) where I work on the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS).

Drivers of Improvements in Global Food Security

In 2018, 21 percent of the 3.7 billion people in 76 low- and middle-income countries do not have access to sufficient food for an active and healthy life, i.e. not food secure. However, by 2028, only 10 percent of the projected 4.3 billion people in these countries will be food insecure.

Vertical Farming for the Future

Imagine walking into your local grocery story on a frigid January day to pick up freshly harvested lettuce, fragrant basil, juicy sweet strawberries, and ripe red tomatoes – all of which were harvested at a local farm only hours before you’d arrived. You might be imagining buying that fresh produce from vertical farms where farmers can grow indoors year-round by controlling light, temperature, water, and oftentimes carbon dioxide levels as well. Generally, fresh produce grown in vertical farms travels only a few miles to reach grocery store shelves compared to conventional produce, which can travel thousands of miles by truck or plane.

Employing Wheat's Bacterial Partners to Fight a Pathogen

Fusarium head blight is a devastating fungal disease affecting wheat and barley crops worldwide. According to the American Phytopathological Society, this disease has cost U.S. wheat and barley farmers more than $3 billion since 1990. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists, together with land managers and other scientists at research universities, are taking a variety of approaches to solving this problem. These include breeding resistant cultivars, using massive disease-forecasting models and applying fungicides during critical junctures in crop growth to prevent fusarium head blight. Recently, many scientists have also become interested in the idea of employing microbial species that already live on and inside crop plants to do the dirty work of controlling disease epidemics.

Agriculture Surveys Get More Convenient through Improved Online Response Form

Agricultural surveys for farmers and ranchers will be easier to complete with the help of a new online questionnaire. We have been working to help our customers – the American farmer and rancher – have a faster, friendlier, and easier experience responding to surveys, which are the backbone of official U.S. farm statistics.

What Drives Consumers to Purchase Convenience Foods?

Many Americans lead busy lives and don’t have a lot of time to prepare food for their families. Faced with greater time constraints from work, childcare, and commuting, they often turn to convenience foods. Convenience foods are defined as types of foods that save time in food acquisition, preparation, and cleanup.