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REE Gives the Gift of Agricultural Research and Innovation in 2018

Like many of you, I bask in the excitement of the holidays—wrapping gifts, planning holiday dinners, and spending time with loved ones. However, this month also means the end of the year is near, ushering in a time of reflection and anticipation. In USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area, this time of year serves as neither a beginning nor an end. For us, it is a continuation of the scientific research needed to solve the agricultural challenges ahead.

Winter Weather Food Safety

With the hurricane season of late summer and early fall behind us, it may be tempting to believe that the weather-related threats to food safety are behind us as well. However, winter storms can cause power outages that disable refrigerators and freezers just as well as summer storms do.

Private Forests, Public Benefits

Privately-owned forests provide water, recreational opportunities, timber and other forest products, as well as habitat for fish and wildlife. However, as forests become fragmented by roads or converted to development, the benefits they provide can be compromised or lost altogether.

Rural Aging Occurs in Different Places for Very Different Reasons

As the United States population ages, many Americans age 65 or older are making their homes in rural communities. In fact, 19 percent of the U.S. rural (nonmetro) population is 65 years or older, compared with 15 percent in urban (metro) areas. Rural counties make up nearly 85 percent of the 1,104 “older-age counties”—those with more than 20 percent of their population age 65 or older.

A New Year with New Data

This time of year, I can’t help but think about cycles – everything coming full circle – from agriculture (planting through harvest) to the holiday season marking the end of one year and the start of the next. Here at USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), we are at an exciting time in the five-year cycle of the Census of Agriculture program, which includes the Census of Agriculture itself – NASS’ largest data collection effort that is sent to every known farm and ranch in the country – as well as several smaller but important special studies. Not only are we just nine weeks away from releasing the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture on February 21, we are also about to conduct two special studies: the Census of Aquaculture and the Irrigation and Water Management Survey.

Fighting Fire with Fuel Treatments: A Shared Stewardship Approach

Fire season is now about two months longer than it was in the 1970s. Before summer even begins, forests are primed for large fires that spread rapidly in trees that are dehydrated from drought, compromised from fighting off bugs, and often competing for space in overly dense forests.

The Name, the Pin, and the Bee

She leans over her dead subject and deftly pushes a pin through its body, securing it to the foam below. To be clear, this is not about a morgue or a serial killer. This is about taxonomy, or the science of identifying, classifying, and naming organisms. The woman in question is a scientist, and her pinned subject is a bee.

Stand Up Your Holiday Feast with a Tasty Rib Roast

December is filled with holiday observances and family gatherings, many highlighted by a seasonal feast. While the centerpiece for these feasts is as diverse as our nation, beef is a popular choice, particularly the standing rib roast, a traditional favorite. Last holiday season, the standing rib roast accounted for one fourth of all beef roasts marketed in retail outlets.

Your Holiday How-To: Keeping Hot Foods HOT and Cold Foods COLD!

The holidays are here, which means plenty of gatherings with family, friends and food! These get-togethers are usually fun-filled with catching up, laughter and occasional dancing, so don’t let foodborne illness crash your party. One of the best ways to keep foodborne illness off the guest list is to keep your food items at the proper temperatures while you enjoy your party.