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Press Releases and Announcements

This section includes all current and archived press releases and announcements.

WASHINGTON D.C (July 27, 2020) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it has engaged the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to coordinate a Workshop on Federal Government Human Health Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Research. Aggressively addressing PFAS has been an active and ongoing priority for the EPA and entire federal family. As outlined in EPA’s PFAS Action Plan, this collaborative workshop will ensure coordination of PFAS research across the federal government.  Read More...

The USDA is strongly committed to ensuring the highest level of integrity in all aspects of the Department's engagement in scientific and technological activities and the use of scientific information in policy making. Departmental policies explicitly allow scientists and employees to communicate their scientific findings objectively without political interference or inappropriate influence, and it outlines procedures that help safeguard their rights to do so.

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Two of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s top scientists today reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to science-based decision-making at the G20 Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS) meeting held this week in Tokyo. Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, USDA’s Acting Chief Scientist and Administrator of the Agricultural Research Service and Dr. Scott Hutchins, USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics (REE), led the U.S. delegation. The United States has participated in MACS meetings since 2012.

 

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture, spanning some 6.4 million new points of information about America’s farms and ranches and those who operate them, including new data about on-farm decision making, down to the county level. Information collected by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) directly from farmers and ranchers tells us both farm numbers and land in farms have ongoing small percentage declines since the last Census in 2012. At the same time, there continue to be more of the largest and smallest operations and fewer middle-sized farms. The average age of all farmers and ranchers continues to rise.

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The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) Agricultural Statistics Board has begun rescheduling reports that were affected by the lapse in federal funding. During the lapse, NASS was not able to collect data nor issue reports.

The following report has been rescheduled and others will be announced as soon as they are determined:

  • 2017 Census of Agriculture (Feb. 21) will be released April 11 at Noon ET, providing that funding remains available for Fiscal Year 2019.

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Research by scientists at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the University of Maryland released today sheds new light -- and reverses decades of scientific dogma -- regarding a honey bee pest (Varroa destructor) that is considered the greatest single driver of the global honey bee colony losses. Managed honey bee colonies add at least $15 billion to the value of U.S. agriculture each year through increased yields and superior quality harvests.

The microscopy images are part of a major study showing that the Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) feeds on the honey bee’s fat body tissue (an organ similar to the human liver) rather than on its “blood,” (or hemolymph). This discovery holds broad implications for controlling the pest in honey bee colonies. 

The study was published on-line Jan. 15 and in today’s print edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. An image produced by the ARS Electron and Confocal Microscopy Unit in Beltsville, Maryland is on the cover of today’s journal.

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2018 – Research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) generated 166 new inventions and 68 patent applications in the 2017 fiscal year, according to a report issued today. USDA research innovations included tornado “safe rooms” built of cross-laminated wood, “sachets” that extend the life of produce, soybean germplasm with heat-tolerant genes, and tires of rubber made from a flowering desert shrub. The annual Technology Transfer Report lists technology produced through research either conducted or supported by USDA.

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WASHINGTON, April 20, 2018 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Research, Education, Economics and Acting Chief Scientist Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young announced today that Thomas Shanower will become Acting Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Shanower will be replacing outgoing NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy...

 

Windbreaks are plantings of trees, shrubs or both, that shelter crops, soil, animals, homes, and people from wind, snow, dust, or odors.

The diversity of agricultural production systems across the United States presents wide-ranging opportunities for exciting new research and innovation. New scientific findings and new technology, for example robotic automation, artificial intelligence, vertical farming and gene editing, could all play a role in not only improving existing systems but in developing new systems and new products altogether. New and emerging agricultural products can generate exciting new niches for farmers who want to meet consumer demands for crops and livestock with improved nutritional or environmental benefits.

Join the USDA Listening Session on March 2, 2017

USDA needs to know how research can help U.S. farmers produce the agricultural products consumers desire. You can listen to this session live by computer (March 2, 2017 USDA Listening Session), or by phone [888-844-9904, code 8967180] and submit written comments up to a week after the listening session as listed in the Federal Register. Please email Dr. Seth Murray at seth.murray@osec.usda.gov for additional instructions and information before submitting written comments.

China Garden Groundbreaking at the National Arboretum - November 5, 2016

REE Under Secretary Cathie Woteki addresses the gathering at the groundbreaking for the National China Garden at USDA's National Arboretum in Washington DC. Woteki said the 12-acre gift from the People's Republic of China would serve as a "living classroom" about Chinese nature and culture.

Also pictured: Sam Mok of Washington DC, President of the National China Garden Foundation, and Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Administrator of ARS.