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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced more than $5 million in grants for fellowship opportunities for undergraduate students at colleges and universities. These awards are made through NIFA’s Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduate (REEU) Fellowships program, part of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s (AFRI) Education and Literacy Initiative. Continue reading

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced $11 million in available funding for projects that mitigate antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a growing public health issue that affects more than 2 million people annually. Funding is made through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Continue reading

snap house agriculture committee research
Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research, held a hearing to highlight the importance of agricultural research as part of the committee’s hearing series on the next farm bill. Members heard from witnesses who stressed the important role research plays in ensuring that American agriculture remains competitive and capable of addressing growing needs around the world. Continue reading


These bulls look alike, but they may carry different genes that influence disease. ARS research has cut the cost and time to analyze cattle genes.
(Photo by Mike Heaton.)

Thanks to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists, a genomic database of U.S. beef cattle is now available online.

The complete genomes of 96 bulls representing different U.S. cattle breeds were sequenced by researchers at the Agricultural Research Service‘s (ARS) U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Clay Center, Nebraska. The breeds include Angus, Brangus and Hereford.

The publicly accessible information helps scientists identify those traits that breeders and ranchers value, according to USMARC microbiologist Michael Heaton. Heaton and his colleagues started building the panel in the 1990s and recently completed the genomic profiles of the bulls. Continue reading

By Sean Nealon, UC Riverside

citrus greening disease

Credit: UC Riverside
UC Riverside researchers (from left) Philippe Rolshausen, David Jassby, Haizhou Liu, Caroline Roper, Georgios Vidalakis and James Borneman received a $5.1 million grant to fight a disease killing citrus trees.

A team of scientists, led by a group at the University of California, Riverside, has received a five-year, $5.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fight a disease that is devastating the citrus industry.

The team, led by Caroline Roper, an associate professor of plant pathology, will design and identify bactericides, which are chemicals that kill bacteria, to target Huanglongbing, a bacterial plant disease decimating citrus trees worldwide. They also will focus on better understanding the pathways those bactericides travel inside citrus trees. Continue reading

cabbage aphids

Brussels sprouts infested with cabbage aphid, which can render most sprouts unmarketable.

Severe infestations of cabbage aphids can virtually destroy a crop of Brussels sprouts, making them unmarketable. However, new research from the University of New Hampshire shows that organic pesticides can be effective in managing the pests.

The research was conducted by Becky Sideman, a researcher with the NH Agricultural Experiment Station and extension professor of sustainable horticulture production, and her undergraduate student Talia Levy. Levy studied the issue of aphid infestations of Brussels sprouts for her senior thesis. The research was conducted at the UNH Woodman Horticultural Research Farm, a facility of the NH Agricultural Experiment Station. Continue reading

By Kim Kaplan, Agricultural Research Service

food-nutrition-research-briefs logo
Research showing a higher dose of vitamin D may benefit pregnant women by reducing inflammation is among the new nutrition and health findings in the latest issue of the Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Food and Nutrition Research Briefs. Continue reading

by Dennis O’BrienAgricultural Research Service


Alan Meerow with Griffinia intermedia (Amaryllidaceae) in Brazil.
Photo: Judy Dutilh.

Alan W. Meerow, a research geneticist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS), has been awarded the 2017 David Fairchild Medal for Plant Exploration by the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG).

This not-for-profit, non-governmental organization is based in Kaua’i, Hawaii and is dedicated to tropical plant conservation, research and education. It is honoring Meerow, a geneticist at the ARS Subtropical Horticulture Research Station‘s National Germplasm Repository in Miami, for an eclectic career that combines botany, horticulture and genetic research. Continue reading

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced 11 grants totaling $3 million for Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) projects focused on plant and animal phenomics and microbiomes. The grants are funded through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s (AFRI) Food Security Program, authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill. Continue reading

By Lorena Anderson, UC Merced Assistant News Director

Professor Stefano Carpin and one of his robots
(Image courtesy of UC Merced)

A nearly $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is helping University of California researchers refine collaborative robotic technology that could change the way crops are maintained worldwide, saving millions of gallons of water each year and taking precision agriculture to a whole new level.

The three-year Robot-Assisted Precision Irrigation and Diagnostics (RAPID) project is led by UC Merced robotics Professor Stefano Carpin, UC Berkeley Professor Ken Goldberg — director of the People and Robots Initiative at the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute — and UC Davis biology and engineering Professor Stavros Vougioukas. Watch the video and learn more. →

By Lorena Anderson, Assistant News Director, UC Merced Communications

blum center

Everyone in the campus community can get fresh produce from the farmers market truck that comes to campus each week.
(Image courtesy of UC Merced)

UC Merced is relaunching its branch of the Blum Center for Developing Economies with a focus on food security for the first two years of the faculty-led effort.

Economics Professor Kurt Schnier, with the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, and Karina Diaz Rios, a nutrition specialist in the UC Cooperative Extension, will lead the rejuvenated Blum Center. with administrative help from the Health Sciences Research Institute (HSRI).

They hope to make the Blum Center a hub for all food-security-related research and outreach on and off campus. Continue reading

Bee Health
A national partnership is collecting bee health data from across the United States using surveys and specialized teams. Researchers can then use the centralized information to identify health trends in bees. Continue reading

By Sara LaJeunesse, Penn State University

Dead Pupa
Credit: Tonilynn Baranowski

A chemical that is thought to be safe and is, therefore, widely used on crops — such as almonds, wine grapes and tree fruits — to boost the performance of pesticides, makes honey bee larvae significantly more susceptible to a deadly virus, according to researchers at Penn State and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Continue reading

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