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agricultural research service

Setting the Stage for Innovative Research

We’re fortunate to have robust food, fiber, fuel, and ag-related industries in America. Our food is safe, nutritious, and plentiful. Our fiber helps clothe people around the world. And we’re using value-added agricultural products to fuel machinery. However, agriculture is at a crossroads with the convergence of a growing global population, a changing climate, and limited natural resources. Fortunately, USDA science agencies work every day to develop new knowledge, technologies, and applications that help our farmers and ranchers work smarter, not harder.

Rediscovering Cover Crops and the Power of ‘Green Manure’

Farmers throughout history have taken advantage of off-season plant growth to enhance their next year’s crops. These plants, called cover crops, are beneficial in many ways, including protection against weed infestation and soil erosion, as well as feed for farm animals. Some farmers use cover crops in no-till farming systems. However, when cover crops are incorporated into the soil, they become a fertility-enhancing mulch – what some call “green manure.”

Protecting U.S. Swine Health Using A “One Health” Approach

This week is World Antibiotic Awareness Week and USDA’s Agriculture Research Service (ARS) remains committed to using a “One Health” approach in conducting research that will identify solutions to help prolong the usefulness of a very precious resource—antibiotics. For example, ARS research includes understanding how common production practices might impact antimicrobial resistance and understanding whether certain animal pathogens may be a public health concern.

Pumped Up for Pumpkin

Summer is fading, and the fall season will soon be bringing crisp air and colorful leaves, and creatively carved pumpkins will be sitting on the front steps of neighborhood houses. Pumpkins—fall wouldn’t be quite the same without them—but what do you really know about them?

Mirror, Mirror, What Do You See? I See a Scientist Looking at Me

Strolling down the aisles of most toy departments, parents are likely to see more diverse options such as a brown-faced doll holding her microscope and African-American action figures in engineering sets. Many toy manufacturers have removed the stigma of “traditional gender roles” and created science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) toys with diverse physical features to encourage all children to see themselves in these roles. USDA strives to make these same improvements in the agriculture sector. It’s National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week and we’re celebrating the student support our science agencies provide every day to create a research workforce more reflective of our society.