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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Unlocking cedar's hidden potential against pests

Trained as an entomologist, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) chemist Fred Eller still has a soft place in his heart for insect-related research. When he noticed ants climbing up the pole of his backyard hummingbird feeder ...

Analyzing genomes to improve disease control in poultry

Marek's disease—a highly contagious viral disease caused by a herpesvirus—is a constant threat to poultry worldwide. It is also one of the most preventable diseases with vaccination. However, while vaccines prevent poultry ...

Fungus fights oxygen-sucking water weed

In parts of the South, there are stories about an invasive floating weed, which forms such a dense mass that it enables small animals to walk across water.

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 ...

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