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Tom Vilsack

USDA scientists seek commercial uses for inventions

USDA scientists seek commercial uses for inventions

At research labs in Beltsville, scientists are studying ways to cure dairy cows of antibiotic-resistant illnesses, screen food ingredients for contaminants and warn farmers early on about severe droughts.

Such projects, underway at U.S. Department of Agriculture facilities in Maryland and elsewhere, are part of a push by the agency to find commercial uses for its inventions, often with the help of public and private partnerships.

At the Beltsville Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, scientists have been developing a crop condition indicator that can warn of severe drought earlier than existing systems. It's an effort to give farmers more time to adjust planting and...