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economic research service

5 Ways USDA Science Reduces Food Waste

The Economic Research Service estimates that in 2010, America wasted approximately 133 billion pounds of food. That’s the equivalent of every American discarding three average-sized apples every day. Not the “apple a day” advice we’re used to hearing. Today, on Stop Food Waste Day, we’re sharing five examples of how USDA is using scientific ingenuity to curb food loss and waste.

USDA Science Strengthens U.S. Efforts to End COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic requires a coordinated approach to combat the virus and its rippling effects. We all have a role to play to help end the pandemic. USDA is doing its part by providing evidence-based research and information, its facilities, personnel, and expertise to communities across the country.

USDA Invests in Data for Agricultural Irrigation Improvements

Every farmer needs adequate water for their crops. In some U.S. regions, farmers must rely on irrigation to have enough water for their crops. The 2017 Census of Agriculture reports farms with some form of irrigation accounted for 54% of the total value of crop sales (PDF, 121 KB). With water being such a vital resource for the U.S. agricultural sector, understanding water management and supply organizations is key to helping policymakers make decisions to support irrigated crop production.

USDA’s Two Statistical Agencies Produce Quality, Trusted Information

Every five years, the United Nations designates October 20 as World Statistics Day to celebrate the importance of official statistics. USDA has two principal federal statistical agencies, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and the Economic Research Service (ERS). These two agencies provide vast amounts of information that help us better understand our food system, rural communities, the environment, and the farmers who feed our families.

Bringing Technology to Specialty Crops

Each day we use technologies to solve problems and accomplish tasks that once would have taken much longer. Whether facial recognition software, a smart thermostat, or a robotic vacuum, technology has changed the way we live and work. Farmers are also using technology to make production of specialty crops, such as fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts, more efficient. These crops make up one third of U.S. crop production sales and one sixth of U.S. agricultural sales.

Egg-STAT-ic About Eggs

Did you know that in 2019, the U.S. produced more than 113 billion eggs? Here are some stats to help you learn more about this agricultural commodity tied to many springtime observances.

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.

A Look at Agricultural Productivity Growth in the United States, 1948-2017

Did you know that total farm production nearly tripled between 1948 and 2017? Even as land and labor used in farming declined, innovations in animal and crop genetics, chemicals, equipment and farm organization have enabled continuing growth in farm output. USDA’s Economic Research Service’s Agricultural Productivity in the U.S. data product provides estimates of the growth and relative levels of U.S. agricultural productivity.

Talking Turkey

Did you know that between 2014 and 2018 approximately two thirds of U.S. turkey meat was produced in just six states: Minnesota, Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, Arkansas, and Iowa? Minnesota, the largest producer, produces more than 15 percent of U.S. turkey meat annually.