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Research and Science

Big Data Yields Big Opportunities in Agriculture

(NIFA is accepting proposals for conferences to identify opportunities and bottlenecks in generating, managing, and integrating data within the food and agricultural system. NIFA will also consider research proposals that apply or enhance big data activities and efforts. Applications submitted to the 2017 Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Foundational Program will be accepted through the deadlines as specified for specific program areas.)

We live in an age in which large volumes of information—“big data”—are generated and collected rapidly to add value to our daily lives. Industry has harnessed data to target advertising, tailor medical treatments, and even develop the technology and infrastructure that allows us to carry miniature computers in our pockets that will pause active functions to accept incoming phone calls.

A New Weapon to Stop One of the World’s Top 100 Invasive Species

Summer’s here and many of us are ready to celebrate our nation’s independence! It’s time to put away your closed-toe shoes, slip into a pair of sandals or flip flops and get ready for some outdoor fun. But be careful where you step! Red imported fire ants could be nesting in the ground, waiting to attack when disturbed.

Our Nation’s Commitment to Rural Quality of Life Began with a Seminal Idea

We have schools to teach the art of manslaying… Shall we not have schools to teach men the way to feed, clothe, and enlighten the brotherhood of man? - Justin Smith Morrill, April 20, 1858

By 1862, in the midst of the Civil War, Justin Smith Morrill, the representative from Vermont, with little formal education beyond 8th grade level, had accomplished his vision of having schools teach the way to feed, clothe, and enlighten.

Getting “Ticked Off” with Ticks

As we kickoff the traditional start to the summer and head outdoors, remember to apply that sunscreen. Oh, and watch for ticks. According to Andrew Li, an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) entomologist who is leading a new deer tick control program, they’re out in force, too. Experts predict 2017 will see the highest number in years of these sesame-seed-size parasites—also known as “blacklegged ticks”—that spread the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.

Being Serious about Saving Bees

Pollinators are a vital part of agricultural production. In the United States, more than one-third of all crop production – 90 crops ranging from nuts to berries to flowering vegetables - requires insect pollination. Managed honey bee colonies are our primary pollinators, adding at least $15 billion a year by increasing yields and helping to ensure superior-quality harvests.

Celebrating Cultural Heritage with Mouthwatering Meals

Looking for recipes that are both flavorful and nutritious? Nutrition.gov has added new resources that can help you. The newly enhanced Nutrition.gov includes an Ethnic Cooking section on the Shopping, Cooking & Meal Planning page designed to fit the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Nutrition.gov collaborated with a range of government agencies to feature links to educational materials, videos, books and websites offering a wide array of healthy, culturally-based recipes.

Open Data Revolution to Fight Global Hunger

Every day, people around the world use data to make decisions. When heading out of town, most of us use weather apps to check the forecast anywhere in the world before packing our bags. However, when we travel to far-flung places, we may find ourselves packing food from home because we don’t know what may be available when we arrive. We have a global, comprehensive, open data set that enables weather forecasting, but not something similar for food and agriculture?

Serving Twice: Military Veteran Farmers Get a New Question in the Census of Agriculture

I am a rancher and a military veteran, in addition to being a data collection coordinator for USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). That makes me particularly passionate about one of the additions to this year’s Census of Agriculture: a question about military veteran status. All of us will have the opportunity to document on the census whether we have served or are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, Reserves, or National Guard.