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.
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.
Artificial logs that create a cheerful and welcoming blaze in your fireplace can be made from a perhaps surprising source: grass clippings.
While one team of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists is testing the effectiveness of pesticides against mosquitoes, another group is learning how repellents work.
A tip about a folk remedy plant used in India and Africa to ward off bugs has led to the discovery of insect-repelling compounds.
Capturing and recycling ammonia from livestock waste is possible using a process developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers. This invention could help streamline on-farm nitrogen management by allowing ...
There's good news for fans of black raspberries: A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist and his commercial colleague have found black raspberries that have resistance to a disease-spreading aphid.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research confirms that the time-tested practice of amending crop soils with manure also can help restore soils on damaged post-mining landscapes.
(Phys.org)—Potatoes with higher levels of beneficial carotenoids are the result of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) studies to improve one of America's most popular vegetables.
(Phys.org)—Aflatoxins are highly toxic carcinogens produced by several species of Aspergillus fungi. But not all Aspergillus produce aflatoxin. Some, in fact, are considered beneficial. One such strain, dubbed K49, is now ...
(Phys.org)—Preventing activity of a key enzyme in potatoes could help boost potato quality by putting an end to cold-induced sweetening, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists.