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Research and Science

Tree Breeding: Creating Tomorrow’s Healthy Forests Today

Immobile and long-lived, trees endure extreme weather, fires, and pests for tens, hundreds, and even thousands of years. In Fishlake National Forest, Utah, there is a quaking aspen colony spanning 106 acres that is roughly 80,000 years old. To give you a sense of scale, if the average human lives 79 years, this aspen colony has already lived over a thousand times longer!

Our Drinking Water and Forest Service Research

Behind every drop of water from the tap is an entire forest ecosystem. And while it’s easy to take drinking water for granted, you might be surprised to learn that the nation’s largest single source of water is the National Forest System, the network of national forests stewarded by the USDA Forest Service. Many of these national forest lands overlay the source areas for important rivers and aquifer systems, and more than 60 million Americans rely on them for drinking water.

ARS Scientists Explore Ways to Minimize Runoff from Golf Courses

More than 20 million people play golf on the estimated 14,000 golf courses in the United States. As Americans head for the links this year, golf course managers and superintendents know it’s important not only to maintain the greens and fairways, but also to minimize the risk of pesticides and fertilizers flowing into nearby ponds, streams or lakes.

NASS Highlights National Barbecue Month

With summer right around the corner, it’s time to break out the grill and cornhole – May is National Barbecue Month! It’s also national beef, egg, strawberry, and salad month. Apropos of a backyard shindig, lemonade and apple pie days are also in May. As a matter of fact, the summer months coincide with the peak of several fruits and vegetables, nearly all perfect for a barbecue.

Exporting Used Textiles Helps Global and Local Economies

Donating used clothing to charities obviously helps clothe and employ fellow Americans, but other benefits fly below the radar: exporting worn textiles provides income to low- and middle-income foreign countries, and also helps the environment. That win-win-win situation gives new meaning to the phrase, “giving the shirt off your back.”

NASS Surveys Provide U.S. Agricultural Supply Data for Trade

With May being World Trade Month, it is worth noting that the source of data to determine the U.S. supply of crops and livestock is America’s farmers and ranchers who fill out surveys from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). These statistics feed directly into the monthly World Supply and Demand Estimates report (WASDE), which shows how much food, feed, fuel, and fiber are available or expected to be available around the world throughout the year. These data are available free of charge to anyone who wants them and are widely regarded as the gold standard.

Protecting the Military from Flying Foes

For over 75 years, USDA scientists have been developing ways to protect the U.S. military around the world from powerful adversaries—mosquitoes and other biting arthropods that cause disease. Their work began in 1942 in a small USDA field laboratory in Orlando, where scientists made key discoveries about new chemicals for controlling these pests. At the time, the most effective repellents lasted only 2 hours, and the U.S. military needed a repellent that could protect for 10 hours.

Exploring Global Agricultural Trade Information from USDA’s Economic Research Service

Did you know that the United States is the world’s second largest agricultural exporter after the European Union? Agricultural trade supports American jobs and spurs non-farm economic activity. In 2016, U.S. agricultural exports required over one million full-time civilian jobs, including 764,000 jobs in the nonfarm sector. Each dollar of U.S. agricultural exports supported an additional $1.28 in farm and non-farm business activity. Moreover, U.S. agricultural trade surplus has historically helped to offset some of the trade deficit in non-agricultural sectors.

Plan for the Fall 2018 School Year with Resources from Nutrition.gov

Are you a teacher looking for nutrition-related handouts, lesson plans, or historical documents for your classes? Nutrition.gov has added new resources to help you. Just in time for National Teacher Appreciation Day, Nutrition.gov has developed a new web page under the Smart Nutrition 101 section that provides a list of printable materials and handouts that can be used for the classroom, health fairs, and other educational events.