A seemingly annual event during the federal budget cycle is the threat of shutting down some of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service locations, including the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Illinois.

Fortunately, it hasn’t happened to this historic lab, and it remains open.

ARS has over 90 research locations across the United States and abroad, and one may wonder about the value of this USDA function. The question is answered in a report released April 5, “Scientific discovers impact our everyday lives.”

ARS laboratories annually release new discoveries, innovations and technological breakthroughs. The research of about 2,000 ARS scientists focuses on human nutrition, natural resources, crop and animal production, food safety and bioenergy.

Among the research discoveries documented in the most recent annual report were:

*A natural supplement, L-glutamine, as a possible alternative to antibiotics for promoting pig health and growth.

*Flour made from grape seeds, which contain many healthful compounds, including protein, lipids, carbohydrates and antioxidants.

*New hop and barley varieties that are critical to helping the brewing industry keep pace with increasing consumer demand for new brands offering diverse flavors and aromas.

*New clues as to how the bacterium associated with citrus greening disease infects the insect that carries it.

This is just a very small sample of the latest achievements by ARS scientists that will impact our daily lives from the farm to the processors and on to consumers.

Detail of this report can be found on the USDA ARS website.

Tom C. Doran can be reached at 815-780-7894 or tdoran@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow him on Twitter at: @AgNews_Doran.

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