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 ...

Treating stable flies in pastures

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are developing strategies to help livestock producers control stable flies, the most damaging arthropod pests of cattle in the United States.

Sorghum eyed as a southern bioenergy crop

Sweet sorghum is primarily grown in the United States as a source of sugar for syrup and molasses. But the sturdy grass has other attributes that could make it uniquely suited to production as a bioenergy crop, U.S. Department ...

Beneficial mold packaged in bioplastic

(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 ...

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