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USDA Science Strengthens U.S. Efforts to End COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic requires a coordinated approach to combat the virus and its rippling effects. We all have a role to play to help end the pandemic. USDA is doing its part by providing evidence-based research and information, its facilities, personnel, and expertise to communities across the country.

Two Sisters Ensure Family Farming Legacy Thrives

I am Brielle Wright, a facilities service technician with APHIS’ Marketing and Regulatory Programs Business Services in Raleigh, North Carolina. Both sides of my families were heavily involved in agriculture. As children we loved being in the garden planting cucumber and cantaloupe. Our great-grandmother, now 103, had persimmon trees, pear trees, pomegranate bushes, and grape vines. We raised pigs, cows, and chickens.

Agriculture in America: Deeply Rooted in Black Culture

The story of agriculture in America cannot be told without acknowledging the contributions of Black people. Black people have been and are an integral driver in the success of U.S. agriculture. From farming and cultivation to scientific research, the agriculture narrative is fortified by the many roles played by black leaders. USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the premier food research agency in the world, and it wouldn’t be nearly as successful or impactful if not for its rich, diverse history of scientists.

Estimating Ecosystem Benefits from Rangeland Conservation Practices

Nature provides numerous benefits that people value. In the conservation world, we call these benefits ecosystem services. On rangelands, some ecosystem services can be bought and sold in traditional market systems – like forages, meat, and other animal products from livestock. Other ecosystem services are not typically bought or sold, but nevertheless have value – like cleaner water, better air quality, and reduced risk from drought or flood. Conservation practices can increase the value of both types of ecosystem services. But, how do we put a dollar value on non-marketable services on rangeland? And how do we tie those dollar values to USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conservation practices?

Preparing for the 2022 Census of Agriculture

Preparation for a large survey does not happen overnight, in a few weeks, or even a year. When it comes to USDA’s flagship data collection effort, the Census of Agriculture, this is especially true. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) started preparing for the 2022 Census of Agriculture in 2018, when NASS was collecting data for the 2017 Ag Census. NASS’s census, research, and methodology divisions immediately began evaluating content, design, and delivery of the census questionnaire and associated materials for possible improvement. This is the regular cycle of the vital, once-every-five-year Census of Agriculture.

Celebrating the Agricultural Impacts of 1890 Land-Grant Universities

USDA has a long history of investing in and supporting our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The 19 HBCUs established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890, along with the two HBCU land-grant universities established in the original 1862 legislation – University of the District of Columbia and University of the Virgin Islands – are a critical link in ensuring public access to agricultural education, research, and outreach programs are equitably distributed to all Americans. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) supports research at these institutions with both capacity and competitive funding.

Black History Month 2021: Agriculture, Family and the Land

Every February, the APHIS community celebrates Black History Month and honors the many and varied contributions of African Americans to U.S. history. This year’s Black History Month theme is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.” This feature, a personal narrative by APHIS employee Langston Hull, is the first in a two-part series recognizing Black employees at APHIS and their connection to agriculture, family, and the land.

Spread the Word, Not the Weeds

Deceptively delicate and fragile in appearance, the Eurasian watermilfoil forms thick mats in shallow areas of a lake, quickly growing and spreading to block sunlight, killing off native aquatic plants that fish and other underwater species rely on for food and shelter.

Jumpstart Your Heart with a “Daly” Dose of Healthy Foods

Every 36 seconds, a person dies from heart disease in the United States. Heart disease is the leading cause of the death in America, and in 2017, Black Americans were 20 percent more likely to die from heart disease than non-Hispanic whites. Several medical conditions and lifestyle choices contribute to a higher risk of heart disease such as being overweight or obese and having unhealthy diets. As we recognize American Heart Month and celebrate Black History Month, we’re spotlighting Dr. Marie M. Daly’s contribution to improving American health outcomes through nutrition research.