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Research -- Government policy -- United States, Federal aid to research -- United States, Crops -- Research, Public-private sector cooperation, Public investments


In December of 2012, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology (PCAST) issued a report to the President on Agricultural Preparedness and the Agriculture Research Enterprise. The PCAST report recognizes the long-term history of public investment in agricultural research. The report also recognized significant private investment into agricultural research. Significantly, the report is adamant that the agricultural research enterprise is not prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The report cited two reasons:

  1. too little competitive research and
  2. an imbalance of research priorities between private and public funding sources.

This report addresses the latter issue.

Members of the PCAST met with the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board during a formal meeting held on May 28-30, 2013. Subsequently, the NAREEE Advisory Board received a formal request by the USDA Office of the Chief Scientist that requested advice regarding the PCAST report calling for a re-balancing of research between public and private sources. This report is the culmination of these discussions in addition to discussion amongst the working group members, a thorough review of the PCAST report, and the review of information provided by the Economic Research Service.

The intent of this report is to guide USDA in its review and actions to address the PCAST concern over imbalance – public versus private funding of agricultural research. Our intent is not to solve this issue in this report.


At head of title: National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economics Advisory Board

Note: Mark McLellan was affiliated with Utah State University at the time of writing.

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