NIFA Update April 25

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Editor: Kelly Sprute                                                                                        April 25, 2018

Making a Difference

Strawberries image from USDA

Strawberry Research Provides Service to Texas Farmers

Strawberries are proven to improve cardiovascular and brain health, as well as prevent some types of cancer. It’s no wonder Prairie View A&M University is trying to get ahead of the curve by finding ways to help limited-resource farmers successfully grow organic strawberries. According to the USDA, California produces 91-percent of strawberries in the United States, with Florida providing most of the winter crop. Unfortunately, as it stands, Texas isn’t a top producer.

“Strawberry production in Texas only occurs on about 150 acres, mainly in the Poteet area,” said Dr. Peter Ampim, a research scientist with the Cooperative Agricultural Research Center at PVAMU. “We want to figure out if we can grow the crop statewide, especially with an increase in consumer interest and demand.” Learn more about the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE)-funded, collaborative, multidisciplinary, and multi-state project.

Strawberries image provided by USDA


Dr. Thomas Shanower

Jacobs-Young Announces Shanower as Acting NIFA Director

Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, U.S. Department of Agriculture's Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Research, Education, Economics and Acting Chief Scientist, announced that Thomas Shanower will become Acting Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Shanower will replace outgoing NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy.

“Dr. Shanower brings more than 20 years of experience in scientific research and management, and he will maintain a steady hand at the helm of NIFA,” said Jacobs-Young. “NIFAs’ support of the best and brightest scientists has resulted in groundbreaking discoveries that combat childhood obesity, improve rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, explore new sources of energy, mitigate climate variability and ensure food safety. We salute Dr. Ramaswamy for his tireless enthusiasm at NIFA in support of agriculture-related research and education.” Read the full USDA announcement

News for You

Hokuao Arce 4-H student receives FSA youth loan

Hawaii Middle School Student Funds 4-H Livestock Project with FSA Youth Loan

Hokuao Arce, a 12-year-old student at Molokai Middle School in Molokai, Hawaii, is naturally following in his family’s footsteps and embracing his agricultural background.

Last year, he showed two steers and a market hog project through the Molokai 4-H Livestock Club. Participating in 4-H livestock projects can come with a significant price tag when you consider the cost of the animal, feed, vaccinations and vet costs along with the equipment necessary to show the animal. Arce used a USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Youth Loan to finance his livestock project. This is his second time to use the Youth Loan program, which he learned about when his local FSA representative visited a 4-H meeting. Read the full USDA article.

The FSA Youth Loan provided Arce with the capital he needed to purchase market animals, feed and supplies to show the animals at the County and State Expos.

Cover Crops and Soil Health conference logo

Cover Crops and Soil Health 2017 National Conference Presentations Now Available

Videos and presentations from the 2017 National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health sessions are now available. The conference, held December 7-8, 2017, highlighted insights from some of the nation's most innovative producers, conservation leaders, and scientists on using cover crops to improve soil health. Watch the videos or read the PDF document of the whole conference from the general sessions, basics of cover cropping, to special topics with cover crops. Learn more from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education website.   

USDA Message

Do Right Feed Everyone Year One image

Year One with Secretary Perdue

Sonny Perdue came by his knowledge of agriculture the old fashioned way: he was born into a farming family in Bonaire, Georgia. From childhood, and through his life in business and elected office, Perdue has experienced the industry from every possible perspective. Uniquely qualified as a former farmer, agribusinessman, veterinarian, state legislator, and governor of Georgia, he became the 31st United States Secretary of Agriculture on April 25, 2017.

In his first year, Secretary Perdue and the USDA team made breakthroughs in agricultural trade, moved to reduce burdensome regulations, responded to natural disasters, and battled through the worst fire season on record, among other notable achievements. Read the full Year One USDA article