Funding Agricultural Research Funding Agricultural Research

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					Funding Agricultural Research
                                                                             Agricultural Research:
Research in Agriculture:                                                     A Critical Foundation for
• Improves the quality of life                                               a Healthy Economy
                                                                                 A robust economy requires continuous public investment in a
• Ensures a safe and nutritious                                              food, fiber, and natural resource base that continues to earn the
  food supply                                                                admiration of the world. Today’s agricultural sector is strongly
                                                                             affected by such challenges as competitiveness, trade, food safety,
• Stimulates the economy                                                     consumer interests, bio- and info- technology, structural changes in
                                                                             agriculture, risk management, and environmental concerns. With
• Is an investment in disease prevention                                     increased private sector investment in bringing to market some of
                                                                             these new technological products, the social necessity of public sector
• Enables farmers and ranchers to                                            investments must be even higher in the future. Private investments
                                                                             in agricultural and food R&D have nearly tripled in real terms, from
  produce the highest quality food and                                       about $1.3 billion in 1960 to $4 billion in 1996.1
  fiber for the world                                                            The agricultural system that exists today thrives from past
                                                                             investments. The food on our tables, the trees in our parks, the grass
• Is important to maintaining good health                                    on our lawns and public places are the result of the long history of
                                                                             public investment in infrastructure, and agricultural research and
• Improves the environment                                                   development. Continued public investment is needed to maintain
                                                                             and sustain development of novel technology. Public investment in
• Fosters sustainable communities                                            agricultural research is a ‘best buy’ as evaluated by numerous
                                                                             analyses, including The National Research Initiative: A Vital Competitive
                                                                             Grants Program in Food, Fiber, and Natural Resources Research, National
                                                                             Academy of Sciences (2000), Agricultural Productivity in the United
                                                                             States (AIB-740) and U.S. Agricultural Growth and Productivity: An
Agricultural Research Improves                                               Economy-Wide Perspective (AER-758), which explore different
Human Health, Food Safety                                                    dimensions of productivity growth in U.S. agriculture.

and the Environment                                                          Figure 1. Public and Private Agricultural Research, 1960-1996
                                                                             (billions of 1996 dollars)
    Human health is enhanced by safe foods, balanced diets, proper
nutrition, and the elimination of world hunger. Human health
research is an important and growing component of the research,
education, and economics (REE) mission supported by USDA. As the
future challenges us with new and more complicated human diseases,
and new natural and processed foods, scientists must work in other
areas such as plant and animal genomics. Transgenic plants and
animals offer potential human health benefits never before thought
possible. Questions and concerns associated with organic foods,
conventional foods, and those produced by biotechnology require
public-sector research. Issues involving food production, pesticide
usage, animal care, and food handling also challenge our scientists.
These demands and opportunities must be answered in a way that
sustains or enhances our quality of life. Also, sustaining and
enhancing ecosystems, complex food processing, and animal waste                  Public sector expenditures in 1996 were $3.15 billion, about
management cannot be achieved without a research-based approach.             $800 million less than private sector expenditures. Such disparity
                                                                             raises concern about the supply and focus of agricultural R&D in the
                                                                             private and public sectors.
1. Klotz-Ingram, C. & Day-Rubenstein, K. (1999). The changing agricultural
   research environment: What does it mean for public-private innovation?.
   AgBioForum, 2(1), 24-32. Retrieved April 15, 1999 from the World Wide
Who is                             Why the Federal Government
CoFARM?                            Should Increase Support for
American Dairy Science             Agricultural Research
Association                            CoFARM strongly recommends that the current budget for agricultural research be significantly
                                   increased in FY2002. This would serve as the first step toward the goal of doubling the entire research
American Institute of Biological
                                   portfolio over a five-year period.
Sciences                            A significant increase in research funding this year is required to help ensure a continued supply
American Phytopathological         of affordable, safe, wholesome food produced in an environmentally responsible manner. Long-term
Society                            research must be addressed to provide a balanced portfolio that includes increases in competitive,                     peer-reviewed grants as well as formula funds that address broader public issues. The National
Amer. Soc. of Agricultural         Research Initiative (NRI), specifically, has a unique mission within the USDA to fund, in a competitive,
Engineers                          peer-reviewed fashion, investigator-initiated, fundamental and applied research related to agriculture.                       A major concern raised in a recent National Research Council (NRC) report, and shared by CoFARM,
American Society of Agronomy       is that the NRI has been grossly underfunded. The limitation in funding has led to low success rates          of its applicants, and projects that are limited in size and duration. As a result, the NRC believes that
American Society of Animal         the best scientists will be deterred from applying for grants in agriculture.2
Science                                 Increased funding would fill many voids in addressing other issues associated with our national                       security, such as bioterrorism and renewable bioenergy; environmental issues such as migratory
American Soc. for Horticultural    species and habitats on farms, recycling waste into food and fiber, and open spaces in urban areas;
Science                            and working with other agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and National Science                       Foundation to understand and use genomics of microbes, plants, and animals important to the health
American Society for               and well-being of the U.S. and its inhabitants. Without dramatically
Microbiology                       increased funding these much needed scientific and technological                     advances will be diminished or not occur at all.
American Soc. for Nutritional           For these reasons CoFARM recommends doubling the funding for
Sciences                           USDA’s entire research portfolio. This amount reflects our view that
                                   the increase requested for the competitive grants program, as well as
American Society of Plant          all Department research programs is an investment that will lead to
Physiologists                      greater and more productive advances from research.

Council on Food, Agricultural
& Resource Economics
                                       What is CoFARM?                                                      In 2000 CoFARM developed a                          The Coalition on Funding Agricultural Research                        strategic plan to address two
                                   Missions (CoFARM) is a broadly based coalition                                   primary goals:
Crop Science Society of
                                   united by a commitment to advance and sustain                                           use the best
                                                                                                           1. Effectivelyinformation topossible            investment in our nation’s fundamental and applied                         scientific                inform
                                   agricultural research. CoFARM was formed in 1990                             policy makers of the value and
Entomological Society of
                                   to better advocate the benefits of food and                                  benefits of agricultural research;                     agricultural research.                                                       and to,
Federation of Animal Science           CoFARM’s 22 member societies represent more                         2.   Provide a unified voice within the
Societies                          than 80,000 individuals from scientific and                                  agriculture research community                       professional organizations.                                                  on broad scientific policy and
Genetics Society of America                                                                                     funding issues.
Institute of Food Technologists    2. National Research Initiative: A Vital Competitive Grants Program                           in Food, Fiber, and Natural Resources Research. National
                                      Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. (2000).
Poultry Science Association
                                   References can be found on the CoFARM website:
Rural Sociological Society

Society of Nematologists

Soil Science Society of America

Weed Science Society of
America                       Learn more about CoFARM and Agricultural Research at

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