14 Agriculture Research, Extension, and Education

14.1 Introduction

(Updated September 2015)

Agriculture research, educational and extension efforts are vital in creating short and long-term advancements in food and agriculture to benefit farmers, ranchers, industry and consumers. Research is needed to advance technology; delve into market and economic questions; address environmental concerns; and advance food and agriculture as a whole. Studies have shown that every dollar invested in agricultural research creates $20 in economic activity. Innovation investments over the past several decades have spurred the development of new products and procedures—continuing these investments is critical for the continued growth of American agriculture.

While agriculture research funding has dramatically increased around the globe, principally in China and India; public agriculture research funding in the U.S. has reduced by 20% in the last 10 years. The agriculture sector must increase its production by 100% by 2050 in order to feed the world’s growing population. Resources and investment of public funds for Land Grant Universities (LGUs) to continue REE (Research, Education, and Extension) are needed for the U.S. to continue leading the world in the global food, agriculture, and natural resources sectors and train the next generation of agriculture leaders. The U.S. has a need for individuals pursuing agriculture careers, and research enhances and supports that effort.

NASDA believes increased public research funding is especially needed in the areas of positive agricultural economic viability, pollinator health, food safety, water quality and other emerging priority issues.

14.2 Supporting Research Investments

  1. NASDA recognizes the need for research as a means to increase food production capabilities, pest and pathogen prevention, extension capacity and other mechanisms that affect our nation’s capacity and global preeminence in the food, agriculture, and natural resources sectors.
  2. NASDA supports efforts at the federal level to enhance publicly funded REE to support short-term and long-term research needs. Specifically, NASDA encourages the efforts of the National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research (NC-FAR) and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and USDA-Agricultural Research Service.
  3. NASDA supports competitive research grant programs including the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), as well as other competitive-based funding initiatives. NASDA also supports maintaining and strengthening program funding through the Hatch, Smith-Lever Act and other formula-based funding authorities.

14.3 Enhancing Research through Partnerships

  1. NASDA supports state and stakeholder-driven involvement in federal research priority setting.
  2. NASDA supports enhancing the partnerships among state departments of agriculture, LGUs and USDA.
  3. NASDA supports state and federal-level communication strategies highlighting the importance and necessity of research to the general public; especially as a means to increase state and federal funding.
  4. NASDA encourages incentives for private research and public-private research partnerships. Further, NASDA believes programs and incentives aimed at regional cooperation around research and extension should be employed to best utilize limited funding
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