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From Research to the Marketplace: USDA Scientist Invents New Uses for Produce and Grains

Sometimes food scraps can turn into gold. Tara McHugh, of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), has overseen this alchemy as director of ARS’s Western Regional Research Center in Albany, California. Over the course of her career, McHugh has investigated ways to take food-processing waste and turn it into value-added products, such as fruit bars, vegetable crisps and even edible films made from produce.

Creating the Perfect Picnic with USDA’s Help

Have you ever considered what it takes to create the perfect picnic beyond the hamburgers, hot dogs, and iced tea? Most often, we include wholesome fruit and veggies to create the perfect side items or sweet treats. Whether its fresh corn-on-the-cob or plump, juicy strawberries on the shortcake, USDA-related research helps bring it all together.

After the Fire - Wood Waste Put to Work

Biochar, or wood waste, is a porous carbon substance that results from burning wood in the absence of oxygen. It is typically created when burning chunks of wood are covered by ash, soil or a lid, which insulates the coals and starves them of oxygen. This fire remnant provides a valuable addition to soil for agriculture and gardening purposes as well as contributing to overall forest health.

Texas Agriculture – Growing in Many Ways

The recent release of the 2017 Census of Agriculture provides an opportunity to remind the general public about the importance and diversity of U.S. agriculture – and Texas is no exception! The Lone Star State ranks first in the nation for total number of farms with just over 248,000, which account for more than 127 million acres of agricultural land (managing almost 74 percent of the state’s 268,581 square miles). Texas agriculture contributed nearly $25 billion to the economy in products sold in 2017.

Giants Fans Can Find Solace in California, U.S. Agriculture’s MVP in Sales

It might not be the Giants’ year in baseball, but in U.S. agriculture, California is clearly the MVP in sales. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, California’s 70,527 farmers ranked No. 1 in agricultural sales with $45.2 billion; this accounted for nearly 12 percent of the U.S. total and was over $16 billion more than the No. 2 state. In addition, Fresno, Tulare, Monterey, Kern, Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin Counties led all U.S. counties in sales. In fact, Fresno County’s agricultural sales were greater than 25 states.