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Protecting Pollinators from A New Threat – First-Ever U.S. Sightings of Asian Giant Hornet

It’s not the first time that European honey bees and other pollinators in the United States have encountered invasive pests, with the parasitic Varroa mite being the most noteworthy. For years, researchers and beekeepers have wondered what the next invasive pest of concern would be. Perhaps Tropilaelaps mites, a parasitic mite that feeds on bee brood? Or an Asian honey bee, which is known to outcompete our European honey bees? Ultimately, it was the Asian giant hornet, making a confirmed appearance in Washington state during winter of 2019.

G20 Meeting of Agriculture Chief Scientists Reflects Trends in 2020 and the Value of Core Research Principles

As the new decade unfolds, a remarkable trend is evident in the world. In 2020, the global community and the media have been focused on the surge of a novel virus, the spread of African swine fever, wildfires, outbreak of desert locust, and debates on the safe use of agricultural technology. These challenges have similar characteristics – they span borders, have significant economic outcomes, and require global scientific collaboration to effectively address them. Public policy makers look to researchers to advance critical knowledge and offer solutions, and this research requires international collaboration. For success, however, efforts must be grounded in foundational principles and values that support international science.

In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Dr. Dionne Toombs

In celebration of Women’s History Month, USDA is proudly sharing stories of women leaders in agriculture who are helping girls and other women succeed along the way.

In this blog, we feature Dr. Dionne Toombs, the Director of USDA’s Office of the Chief Scientist. As director, Dr. Toombs provides leadership on a wide range of issues affecting science programs and science policy in agricultural research, education, and economics.

What to Do with Your Leftover Turkey? The G20 Meeting of the Agricultural Chief Scientists May Have Some Insight

What should you have done with all of that leftover Thanksgiving turkey? Should you have frozen it, given it away, or composted it? Maybe these aren’t even the right questions. Should you have bought a smaller bird? What would you have done if you were in the country of Turkey? Or if you were in Japan?

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?

U.S. Agricultural Production Systems of the Future: What Research is Needed Now?

Depending on where you live in the United States, the first thing that likely comes to mind for agriculture production systems are the large fields of corn, soybeans, wheat or cotton seen growing each summer. But spend a few minutes looking at CropScape, a color-coded map that charts where almost a hundred different types of U.S. crops are grown currently, and you begin to appreciate the diversity and regionality of production systems. This map shows that although there are U.S. regions where crop production is dominated by a few commodity crops, there are others where U.S. farmers are growing a wide array of fruit, vegetables, and other “specialty” crops. Agricultural Atlas maps produced by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service show similar diversity in livestock production, including land in pasture and range production.

USDA Scientific Integrity Policy Scores "Top Grade" in New Report

“Top grade,” “strong,” “substantially strengthened,” and “significantly improved,” may sound like reviews you might read about consumer products such as smart phones or televisions. However, these are the actual terms used by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in its recent review of USDA’s updated Scientific Integrity Policy.