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Research

Scientific Discoveries Impact Our Everyday Lives

Every day, some 2,000 ARS scientists go to work at over 90 research locations across the United States and abroad. Their job? To deliver scientific and innovative solutions to agricultural challenges affecting our Nation. As part of that job, ARS scientists frequently collaborate with research partners from universities, companies, organizations and even other countries.

After at Least Five Decades of Growth, High-Income Countries are Now Investing Less in Public Agricultural R&D

Governments in high-income countries are spending less on agricultural research. A new report from USDA’s Economic Research Service reviews long-term trends in public agricultural research and development (R&D) investment by high-income countries and examines how these investments have contributed to economic growth.

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.

Going Nuts for Calories!

We all love nuts, but we’re careful not to eat too many because of the high fat calories. Now, there may be less to worry about. In a series of studies, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) physiologists David Baer and Janet Novotny looked at how many calories of almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are used by the human body. There are a lot of factors to consider, such as whether the nuts are raw, roasted, or ground, and how well they’re chewed.

Fall Armyworm: USDA Research Lends a Hand in International Pest Outbreak

USDA researchers tackle tough problems critical to American agriculture. Addressing how to nurture heathy soils, improve crop yields, or prevent livestock diseases, they carefully plan experiments and analyze data that can lead to better on-farm decisions and more productive practices. But even scientists can’t always predict how far their work will eventually go. Recently, USDA researchers in Florida have seen their work take on unexpected relevance in Africa with the outbreak of an invasive crop pest.

Shedding New Light on Stink Bug Invasion

The invasive brown marmorated stink bug causes problems for homeowners and farmers and threatens U.S. specialty crops valued at over $20 billion. Farmers rely on insecticide sprays to reduce crop-damaging stink bugs. Another strategy is using traps with lures to capture this pest.

Being Serious about Saving Bees

Pollinators are a vital part of agricultural production. In the United States, more than one-third of all crop production – 90 crops ranging from nuts to berries to flowering vegetables - requires insect pollination. Managed honey bee colonies are our primary pollinators, adding at least $15 billion a year by increasing yields and helping to ensure superior-quality harvests.

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.

Research Can Help the Economy and Inform Policy

When most people think of forests, science isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but, perhaps, it should. That’s because the U.S. Forest Service Research and Development program oversees projects across many science disciplines including forestry, genetics, wildlife, forest products and wildfire.

And the agency has been using this science to deliver returns on investments for stakeholders, industry partners, and the public.