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Report: US needs more ag R&D investment and expanded competitive research funding

Last month the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology delivered a new report on Agricultural Preparedness and the Agriculture Research Enterprise. The report addresses the scientific challenges facing the nation’s agricultural research enterprise—including the impacts of climate change, controlling agriculture’s environmental impacts, health and nutritional concerns and international food security—and makes recommendations on how to refocus and rebalance Federal  support of agricultural research to enable U.S. farmers to meet these critical challenges in the century ahead.

The report calls for increased public investment in agricultural research to enable creation of an innovation ecosystem for agriculture that combines public and private R&D efforts to most efficiently meet both the short- and long-term dimensions of the challenges. The authors also recommends changing the way that the USDA administers research funds, in particular an expansion of competitive opportunities for both intramural and extramural research.

Additional investment in agricultural research would create opportunities for new business ventures funded by the private sector and provide the means to train the next generation of farmers and agricultural researchers and meet the workforce demands of U.S. agriculture in the 21st century, the authors write.