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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

1910-1919
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Celebrating Over 90 Years of scientific excellence in agricultural sciences and human nutrition


Photo: Three women recording data on dairy herd, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, n.d Dairy herd improvement program begins keeping detailed records of milk output and other characteristics used to decide breeding management. During the first 10 years, average yearly milk production increases from 5,354 pounds to 6,637 pounds per cow. Today, milk production of cows in the program has increased more than fourfold.
Return to top of page Photo: Portrait of Sewell Wright, one of the founders of the science of population genetics, n.d Sewell Wright is considered one of the founders of the science of population genetics. His pioneering work leads to dramatic improvements in domestic livestock.
Return to top of page Photo: Dairy Barn, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, 1930s The Dairy Barn (Building 167) is built in 1913. This is the first building at Beltsville and is the site of the first research activity.

Land is acquired in 1919 at Glenn Dale, MD for the Plant Introduction Station commonly known as Bell Station.
Return to top of page Photo: Two women cooking meat to test ovens, Home Economics Laboratory, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, 1930s Discovered that trichinae, which causes trichinosis, can be reduced in pork by proper refrigeration, leading to new, effective meat inspection control measures.
Return to top of page Photo: Training army horse, Beltsville, 1920s During WWI, scientists fulfill an Army request to improve the wool output of sheep, important for soldiers and consumers in a time before synthetic fibers. Animal husbandry is also responsible for selective breeding of stallions used to sire horses suited for use by the Army. Research on homing pigeons is also conducted.

A major food problem - the short shelf life of butter- is solved when researchers show that the traditional use of sour ripened cream shortens the shelf life of butter compared to using pasteurized sweet cream. This basic process is still in use today.

Last Modified: 9/20/2013
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