Skip to main content

usda science

NASS Builds Its Future on 150-Year Foundation of Agricultural Statistics

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is well known for being the gold standard for U.S. agricultural data that can help you in your work. We are proud of our reputation for providing useful, accurate data in service to U.S. agriculture for more than 150 years. When extension agents or farm associations write grants to advance agricultural research, they turn to NASS data. When farmers and ranchers want to compare their operation to others or gather unbiased information for marketing decisions, they can turn to NASS data. And when local governments and ag associations are looking to tout the importance of agriculture in their county or state, they turn to NASS data.

Mississippi Rises to the Top of U.S. Aquaculture

Agriculture continues to be Mississippi’s top industry for revenue generated in the Magnolia State. Poultry is Mississippi’s largest agricultural commodity, leading as the most valuable livestock product including eggs-layers with sales valued at $3.1 billion. The 2017 Census of Agriculture showed that producers raised and sold $6.2 billion in crops and livestock.

Rediscovering Cover Crops and the Power of ‘Green Manure’

Farmers throughout history have taken advantage of off-season plant growth to enhance their next year’s crops. These plants, called cover crops, are beneficial in many ways, including protection against weed infestation and soil erosion, as well as feed for farm animals. Some farmers use cover crops in no-till farming systems. However, when cover crops are incorporated into the soil, they become a fertility-enhancing mulch – what some call “green manure.”

Using the World's Oldest Apple Trees to Supply New Ones

Considering the many different types of apples we see at farmers markets and supermarkets, it may be hard to believe that apple trees are not as diverse as they should be. But it isn’t the fruit-bearing part of the apple tree that’s the problem, it’s the apple tree’s rootstock.

Most of today’s commercially produced apples are from trees that were bred in two parts—the fruit-bearing scion that makes up the higher branches and tree tops, and the rootstock that forms the roots and lower trunk.