ike many of you, I bask in the excitement of the holidays—wrapping gifts, planning holiday dinners, and spending time with loved ones. However, this month also means the end of the year is near, ushering in a time of reflection and anticipation. In USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area, this time of year serves as neither a beginning nor an end. For us, it is a continuation of the scientific research needed to solve the agricultural challenges ahead.
In 2018, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) achieved scientific breakthroughs that impact Americans every day. For example, scientists at the ARS Healthy Processed Foods Research Unit in Albany, California developed a health-promoting grape-seed flour from wine byproducts. This novel approach curbs food waste and may help lower the risks of heart disease and obesity. Learn more about ARS’s 2018 accomplishments.
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) partnered with leading scientists and extension professionals in 2018 by funding innovative research, education, and extension to help advance American agriculture, including rural communities recovering from disaster. In April 2018, damage from wildfires in Oklahoma exceeded $26 million. Oklahoma State University (OSU) Cooperative Extensionhelped families in affected areas by matching producer needs with incoming donations. Additionally, Cooperative Extension offices in Florida helped obtain feed and supplies for cattlemen across the Panhandle after Hurricane Michael. These are a few of the highlighted 2018 NIFA-funded projects.
Supporting Secretary Perdue’s focus on improved customer service and efficiency, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducted the single largest federal agricultural data collection program in the United States in 2018 with an improved online questionnaire. The new, user-friendly questionnaire is accessible on most devices, calculates totals automatically, and skips questions that do not apply. In addition to being more convenient for respondents, it makes data collection and analysis more efficient for USDA. Read more about NASS’s 2018 successes.
This year, the Economic Research Service (ERS) produced more than 300 research, information, and outlook products that improve the public’s understanding of agriculture and food issues that affect American’s daily lives. For example, food away from home has become a huge part of the American diet. The ERS report America’s Eating Habits: Food Away From Home takes a comprehensive look at how food away from home affects American diets, how much is spent, and other factors including diet quality, income, age, and other socioeconomic factors. You can check out other 2018 ERS accomplishments.
There were many scientific and technological advancements to celebrate this year. As we look forward to 2019, REE will remain focused on delivering new agricultural solutions to make a difference in all American communities and around the world.