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.

Website
http://www.usda.gov/
Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_Agriculture

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Peanut genome sequenced with unprecedented accuracy

Improved pest resistance and drought tolerance are among potential benefits of an international effort in which Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their collaborators have produced the clearest picture yet ...

Study sheds light on major disease in roses

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Beltsville, Maryland and their colleagues have discovered why a mite is causing extensive damages to the nation's $250-million-a-year rose industry and why it's so hard to ...

Collaring the mice that carry Lyme disease-causing ticks

White-footed mice in Howard County, Maryland are being collared as part of a study to improve control of the ticks that spread Lyme disease. The mouse collaring research, never before done in Maryland, is a partnership of ...

Food toxin detector incorporates camera

Each year, about 48 million Americans are sickened by foodborne diseases, and 3,000 die, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One factor that limits widespread testing of foods for toxins that ...

New tests count total phenolics in fruits and veggies

Agricultural Research Service investigators have a long history of designing and developing reliable analytical methods for measuring nutrients and other compounds in foods. ARS scientists have now devised new analytical ...

Advance may speed development of seed rot-resistant soybeans

Soybeans have been called the "wonder crop" for all the products that can be made from the versatile legume—including cooking oil, tofu, livestock feed, and biodiesel, to name just a few. But America's second-largest field ...

Chemical trickery explored to help contain potato pest

If left unchecked, the pale cyst nematode burrows into potato roots to feed, obstructing nutrients and causing stunted growth, wilted leaves and other symptoms that can eventually kill the plant. Now USDA and cooperating ...

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