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plant breeding

Bookless Libraries: Treasures within the USDA Plant Collections

Have you ever wondered how new looking and different tasting types of apples or tomatoes come to be? Improvements in taste, size, and color are often the result of years of research and plant breeding efforts. Many times, plant breeders search for traits in older varieties of plants to create new varieties that could be useful today, but not widely grown.

Wonder Women of Agriculture

Each day, USDA employees wake up ready to serve the industry we love – agriculture. As we help farmers, ranchers and foresters move agriculture forward, we remember and recognize the achievements of those who brought us to where we are today. You might think of George Washington Carver or Eli Whitney, but it was also the unknown others – the “Wonder Women” of agriculture – that had a tremendous impact on the world around us.

Unpacking the Cornucopia to Celebrate the Fall Harvest and the Fruits of Plant Breeding

It’s that time of year again when many of us adorn our homes with autumn décor, and our tables with the bounties of a fall harvest. Consider the cornucopia. This centerpiece is symbolic of the food and thanks that we share with our friends and family. Inside, we find examples of grains, fruits, and vegetables – familiar crops that have occupied places at our tables for generations. We continue to enjoy foods made from these crops today, largely due to plant breeding efforts over the past century that significantly expanded their diversity and productivity.