USDA at Beltsville

At the metro station taking the bus…
Happy faces this morning taking the bus to the USDA Ag research services in
Beltsville after a 40 min ride on the Metro from Rosselyn to Greenbelt.  At this point of the trip we are Metro experts!
Arriving at the USDA Ag research Center…
Beautiful view of the farm…
Janet Slovin

                                                                   Jude Maul
We had a warm welcome from Jude Maul and Janet Slovin.  Both of them are researchers working hard and contributing to Agriculture every day.  Jude works with farming best practices with focus in soil.
Scientist Jude Maul explains several experiments established at the farm.  He provided a great snapshot about the importance of crop rotation, cover crops and the correlation of great yield and healthy micro-environment at the root zone.
Scientist Slovin explains how important has been biotech to find solutions to big problems in agriculture.  The picture above shows the differences in bio fortified rice (golden rice), herbicide, disease and insect resistant crops.

Janet Slovin is a passionate scientist who sees biotechnology as the oportunity to help farmers to be more productive and as a great tool to protect the environment. The use of biotechnology has revolutionized the way we do agriculture  and research  must continue to address climate changes that have a direct  impact on agriculture.  The need of new traits will always be there to improve yield and to enhance the crop performance in general. 

Scientist Slovin explained to us the importance of growth chambers and the continuous efforts to find new traits by observing mutants in strawberries.
And now let’s learn about dairy operation and animal nutrition…
 Scientist Randy Baldwin explains the research done to improve ruminants digestibility.  The diet of the animal will have a direct impact on the size of the intestine.  The goal is to maximize the nutrient absorption.
And then we visited the swine inmunology and molecular biology lab…

Scientist Joan K. Lunney explained to us the importance of sanitation in  commercial pig operations.  Dr. Lunney has performed research on finding antibodies to fight hogs disease.  We all learned that the swine flu came from humans.  

 
And now going to the library…
Our last stop of the day was at the  National agricultural library. Susan Fugate gave us a very instructive tour and explained to us the diverse collections of books and art at the library.  The collection goes back as far as middle 1500s.  The authors of plant physiology books used artists to paint plants parts.  Most of the artists were women.  That became a great venue for women to have exposure to plant science.   She also explained how the old collectibles are handled.  We all appreciated the beautiful and impressive Architecture of the library!
 Chinese rock art at the library
 Some paintings of the art collection at the library
The day had a Happy ending at “Dave’s” house ( Jennicas brother).  He was very kind to let us cook at his house for our traditional class dinner!  
 
Thank you 
Dave !!!!!!!

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