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Impact

Developing New Measures to Assess Factors Associated with Food Insecurity in the U.S.

Tackling food and nutrition insecurity is one of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s top priorities. Developing and validating tools to measure the emerging concept of nutrition security will help accelerate USDA’s progress.
A smiling woman cropping the fruit for a fresh fruit salad. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Impact

Multistate Project Focused on Protecting One of Nation’s Largest Aquifers

Rapidly dropping reservoir levels in the West are capturing national media attention, but the nation’s underground aquifers are also under threat. The Ogallala aquifer is one of the world’s largest fresh water resources. Communities and agriculture in eight states in the High Plains region of the country rely on it.
Aerial view of irrigated and non-irrigated fields in eastern Colorado. Photo by Bill Cotton, Colorado State University.

Impact

Diversity and Inclusion in Agriculture: The Case for Missouri Latino Farmers and Ranchers

Since 2007, the U.S. Census of Agriculture has consistently documented a demographic shift in the agricultural sector. Although this shift reflects a more diverse farming community that collectively contributes to reducing food insecurity across the United States, the need to integrate and include non-white farmers and ranchers’ communities into the mainstream agriculture and USDA support programs has increased.
A group of Latino farmers learning grass management practices at a Southwest Missouri Ranch. Photo courtesy of Lincoln University Cooperative Extension.

Impact

A Closer Look at Rural Populations: Multistate Research Monitors Changes and Issues Affecting Rural Areas

Rural areas make up 72% of the nation’s land area, house 46 million people and are essential to agriculture, natural resources, recreation and environmental sustainability.
Downtown Durham, New Hampshire. Image courtesy of University of New Hampshire.

Impact

NIFA Celebrates Disability Pride Month

A collective case study of Land-grant University leaders discovers strategies for the retention of students with learning disabilities. Such outcomes could prevent bullying on campuses and in the workplace.
Illustration of happy people, courtesy of AdobeStock

Impact

Land-grant Universities Conducting Agricultural Safety and Health Research and Extension

Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the U.S. Across the nation, people who work or live on farms and ranches are regularly exposed to dangerous machinery, sharp tools, toxic chemicals, biological pathogens, confined spaces, extreme temperatures and other hazards that can cause injuries or deaths.
A farmer on a tractor prepares the land for the next growing season. Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Impact

SCSU Team Finds Ozone Treatment to Manage Stored-Product Pests

South Carolina State University researchers have found that ozone treatment could be an alternative for managing all life stages of select stored-product insect pests.
Dr. Rizana Mahroof, left, demonstrates how to sort male and female pupae of the red flour beetle. Photo courtesy of ARD Updates and South Carolina State University.

Impact

Reducing Runoff to Save Farmers Money and Protect Water Quality

University of Maryland researchers are tracing the different types of nitrogen and phosphorus flowing into drainage ditches, tile drains and overland flow at the edges of farm fields during rainfall events.
University of Maryland researchers have set up a network of sophisticated monitoring stations across Maryland to identify what flows off the land every few minutes when it rains. Photo courtesy of the University of Maryland.

Impact

Research Makes National Strawberry Month Sweeter

Five pounds of strawberries might seem like a lot, but that is approximately how much each person eats each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Given that much consumption, it’s good that strawberries are grown in every state in the U.S. and every province in Canada. In 2021, New Hampshire producers grew nearly 720,000 pounds of strawberries, generating more than $2.3 million in farm sales of the crop, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station researchers Becky Sideman, Lise Mahoney and Tom Davis. Photo courtesy of the University of New Hampshire

Impact

The Extension Disaster Education Network Helps Prepare Nation for Hurricane Season

The Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) is a collaborative multi-state effort by Cooperative Extension Services across the country to improve the delivery of services to citizens affected by disasters.
June 1 marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season in the United States.

Impact

University of Connecticut Supports Connecticut’s Greenhouse Industry – An Integral Part of Agriculture

Greenhouses in Connecticut represent over one third of the state’s vibrant $4.7 billion agricultural economy and are integral to the success of all agricultural businesses, according to a 2021 study by Farm Credit East. The total economic impact of the 583 greenhouse businesses in the state was $390 million in 2020.
David and Joyce Hart, owners of Hart's Greenhouse and Garden Center in Canterbury, Connecticut. Courtesy of UConn Extension.

Impact

Nanotechnology in Agriculture and Food Systems 

Nanotechnology refers to the science and engineering of tiny objects between one and 100 nanometers (a nanometer is one billionth of a meter). Researchers and farmers need nanotechnology, such as nanoscale biosensors and nanoparticles, to get an inside look at and manipulate processes like the spread of pathogens.
Illustration of nano technology courtesy of AdobeStock

Impact

Yes, Allergy Seasons Are Getting Worse. Blame Climate Change

If you live with seasonal allergies and feel like the pollen seasons feel longer and longer every year, you may be right. New research shows that pollen seasons start 20 days earlier, are 10 days longer, and feature 21% more pollen than in 1990—meaning more days of itchy, sneezy, drippy misery. Led by William Anderegg of the University of Utah School of Biological Sciences, the researchers found that human-caused climate change played a significant role in pollen season lengthening and a partial role in pollen amount increasing. Their research, funded in part by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Rocky Mountain Columbine flower and pollen in southwestern Colorado. Photo courtesy of William Anderegg/University of Utah.

Impact

Horticulture Champion

Sue Barton’s role at the University of Delaware (UD) is the perfect embodiment of the University’s Land-grant mission. She teaches. She conducts research. And she takes UD’s knowledge to the public. Barton is both a professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and Cooperative Extension specialist of ornamental horticulture.
Sue Barton explains the benefits of a bioswale installation in South Bethany to landscape architecture majors. Courtesy of the University of Delaware.

Impact

Hope to Dream: Mobile County SNAP-Ed Educator Facilitates Bed Donation

The suspense grew and grew one recent Saturday afternoon at Craighead Elementary School in Mobile, Alabama. Suspicions were eventually met with screams of joy as 75 third-grade students learned they were getting their own twin Sealy mattress, frame and bedding ensemble to be delivered to their home. The beds were donated to the students through a partnership with the Alabama Extension Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education department (SNAP-Ed), 1915 South, and Ashley Furniture’s Hope to Dream program.
Students sprint to a bed and jump up and down with excitement. Courtesy of the Alabama Extension Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education department (SNAP-Ed).

Impact

Building Legacy Together: Our Communities’ Journey of Strength and Resilience

With support from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Land-grant Universities in the Pacific Islands carry out innovative education, applied research and related community development programs that create stronger, more resilient Pacific Islander communities. Learn about the innovative research being conducted at the University of Guam.
Novel agroforestry experiment plots located at the Ija Research & Education Center in southern Guam. Credit: Western Pacific Tropical Research Center

Impact

Illinois Program Turns Cowgirl Dreams into Livestock Research Reality 

The moment 4-year-old Sarah Graham sat in a saddle for the first time, she announced she wanted to be a cowgirl. For the suburban Chicago preschooler, it was an unlikely dream. But it stuck.
Photo of Sarah Graham, courtesy of ACES News

Impact

From Pests to Protein: Edible Insects Emerge as a Sustainable Food Source

Bugs. They get a bad rap. Some bite. Some sting. Some stink. But what if they could be considered beyond their pesky traits? What if certain insects could actually benefit the health of humans, of animals, of the entire planet?
Image of fried crickets courtesy of AdobeStock

Impact

Texas A&M AgriLife Tick Research Gets $1M Boost

Two NIFA-funded projects by Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists aim to protect the U.S. cattle industry from the emerging and significant threat of pesticide-resistant cattle fever ticks.
Adela Chavez, Ph.D., is expanding her tick research to seek a vaccine to treat cattle infected by cattle fever ticks. Credit: Laura McKenzie, Texas A&M AgriLife.

Impact

Solving the Honeycrisp Apple Ancestry Mystery

Thanks to DNA-based tracking, NIFA-supported researchers at the University of Minnesota (U of M) have finally traced the family tree of the Honeycrisp apple — one of the top 10 varieties produced in the United States. Recently published in HortScience, the findings are the result of sifting through thousands of DNA markers to unwind the pedigrees of many of the U of M’s best apple cultivars.
Honeycrisp apples, courtesy of Adobe Stock

Impact

University of Nebraska Continues to Assist with 2019 Flooding Recovery

When the COVID-19 pandemic descended on the world in March 2020, Nebraska and its neighboring states already had been reeling for a year from a previous, record-setting, climate disaster.
There was vast flooding in Nebraska. Credit: Nebraska Emergency Management Agency

Impact

Nebraska Faculty Lead National Cover Crop Course

With a lot of time, planning, collaboration with other institutions and a $10 million NIFA Coordinated Agricultural Project grant, an idea from two University of Nebraska professors became a reality and they were able to offer a cover crop course like none other in the country.
Sarina Janssen, a senior agronomy major (from left), and Benjamin Janssen, a junior plant biology major, with course instructor Andrea Basche, identify plants grown for the Cover Crop Challenge activity in Agronomy 425/825 Cover Crops in Agroecosystems. Students selected their own cover crop mixes.Credit: Lana Koepke Johnson/University of Nebraska

Impact

Genomics-Assisted Breeding Tools Improving, Gaining Users and Uses

Thanks to the development and adoption of specialized computational tools, the past several years have seen major advancements in the breeding of “polyploid plants” — plants with more than two sets of chromosomes in their cells.
David Byrne, Texas A&M AgriLife Research rose breeder and geneticist, is director of a grant-funded project that is a “game changer” for polyploid plant breeding. Credit; Sam Craft/Texas A&M AgriLife Communications
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