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National Institute of Food and Agriculture

REE Gives the Gift of Agricultural Research and Innovation in 2018

Like many of you, I bask in the excitement of the holidays—wrapping gifts, planning holiday dinners, and spending time with loved ones. However, this month also means the end of the year is near, ushering in a time of reflection and anticipation. In USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area, this time of year serves as neither a beginning nor an end. For us, it is a continuation of the scientific research needed to solve the agricultural challenges ahead.

USDA’s Role in Combatting Antimicrobial Resistance

Scientists from USDA developed the tools to mass produce penicillin, which was used for treating wounded soldiers over 70 years ago during World War II. Antibiotics are still important in treating microbial infection in humans, animals, and plants. However, microbes can develop resistance to some antibiotics, making them less effective. USDA agencies continue to work on numerous issues related to antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

USDA Research Progress Towards Global Food Security

Most of us living in the United States are fortunate enough not to wonder where our next meal will come from. Yet across the globe, at least some time during the year, nearly 800 million people do. Not having access to stable and nutritious food sources – or food insecurity — negatively impacts people’s lives. Food security, on the other hand, means access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life.

Market Match Means More Money, Healthful Food on the Table

(Note: Oct. 16 is World Food Day, when 150 countries around the world show their support of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization’s mission to raise awareness and help to end world hunger. The following article features one USDA-supported program that helps bring healthful food to low-income Americans.)

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.

NIFA-Funded Research Aims to Keep Bees on the Job

Bee populations in North America have been in decline since the 1940s. This is of great concern to the agriculture industry because about 75 percent of specialty crops depend on the services of pollinators – of which bees are the most economically important.

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.”