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Science

Employing Wheat's Bacterial Partners to Fight a Pathogen

Fusarium head blight is a devastating fungal disease affecting wheat and barley crops worldwide. According to the American Phytopathological Society, this disease has cost U.S. wheat and barley farmers more than $3 billion since 1990. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists, together with land managers and other scientists at research universities, are taking a variety of approaches to solving this problem. These include breeding resistant cultivars, using massive disease-forecasting models and applying fungicides during critical junctures in crop growth to prevent fusarium head blight. Recently, many scientists have also become interested in the idea of employing microbial species that already live on and inside crop plants to do the dirty work of controlling disease epidemics.

If She Can See It, She Can Be It: Girl Scouts Learn STEM at USDA

“It felt a little buzzy,” said Lily Meritt, 7, a Daisy Girl Scout from Montgomery County, Maryland. She watched hungry mosquitoes through a plexiglass container as a USDA research scientist talked about pests that love to bug people. Lily and other D.C.-area Girl Scouts visited USDA headquarters to meet women scientists, learn about their work, and discover career possibilities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Join USDA at the 5th USA Science and Engineering Festival

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a proud partner of the th USA Science & Engineering Festival (USASEF). USDA will be among more than 750 of the world's leading professional scientific and engineering societies, universities, government agencies, and high-tech corporations that participate in this interactive, hands-on celebration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

USDA Charts Course for Strengthening World Aquaculture

Charting a course ahead for the conservation and sustainable farming of freshwater and marine species is a chief focus of the first State of the World’s Aquatic Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report that will contain subsections from 89 contributing countries, including the United States.

USDA Agencies Work Together to Eradicate an Old Foe: the Screwworm

Early in October 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was faced once again with New World screwworm, which had been eradicated from the United States more than three decades ago. Infestation of this flesh-eating parasite was confirmed in deer from the National Key Deer Refuge in the Florida Keys.

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.