United States Department of Agriculture

The United States Department of Agriculture (informally the Agriculture Department or USDA) is the United States federal executive department responsible for developing and executing U.S. federal government policy on farming, agriculture, and food. It aims to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers, promote agricultural trade and production, work to assure food safety, protect natural resources, foster rural communities and end hunger in the United States and abroad. The head of the department is the Secretary of Agriculture, who is a member of the Cabinet. The current Secretary is Tom Vilsack. Early in its history, the economy of the United States was largely agrarian. Officials in the federal government had long sought new and improved varieties of seeds, plants and animals for importation to the United States. In 1837 Henry Leavitt Ellsworth, a Yale-educated attorney interested in improving agriculture, became Commissioner of Patents, a position within the Department of State. He soon began collecting and distributing new varieties of seeds and plants through members of the Congress and agricultural societies.

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Dressing US troops to safeguard against insect attacks

Outfitting soldiers with clothing that effectively repels or kills insects is one of the strategies U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are using to help protect U.S. military personnel deployed overseas against ...

dateDec 03, 2012 in Ecology
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Arming US troops with insect-protective gear

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) have joined forces to create effective barriers and gear that help shield deployed soldiers from disease-causing insects.

dateDec 17, 2012 in Ecology
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Protecting US troops against sand flies

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are helping deployed American troops protect themselves against sand flies, which are major pests in Afghanistan, Africa and the Middle East.

dateNov 19, 2012 in Other
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