Agricultural Science Policy
Advances in agricultural productivity have led to abundant and affordable food and fiber throughout most of the developed world. Public and private agricultural research has been the foundation and basis for much of this growth and development. Studies have shown that public investment in agricultural research has resulted in large economic benefits with annual rates of return between 20 and 60 percent. (See Economic Returns to Public Agricultural Research, 2007.)
Technology transfer holds promise for improving incomes and welfare throughout the world. The major goals of this ERS research program are to do the following:
- Quantify productivity improvements associated with research and development;
- Investigate the direction and efficiency of the public and private sectors in enhancing the stock of agricultural knowledge and in developing new technologies; and
- Assess the economic value and cost of preserving the public's access to genetic resources and genetic diversity.
The Agricultural Act of 2014 authorizes funding for research, extension, and education—including competitive grants and capacity funding (i.e., awarded by formula) to Land Grant institutions and State agricultural experiment stations, and intramural funding for USDA research agencies; identifies high-priority research areas and new research initiatives. See Agricultural Act of 2014: Highlights and Implications and the section under Research for more information.