Agricultural research and development portfolios differ for the public and private sectors

A chart showing public and private research expenditures, by research topics in 2016.

The public and private sectors tend to invest in different portfolios of agricultural research topics. Private firms specialize in fewer topic areas and focus their R&D in areas with established product markets, such as food, agricultural inputs like crop seed and chemicals, farm machinery, and veterinary pharmaceuticals. Public institutions invest in a broader portfolio of topics than private firms. For instance, public R&D investment addresses areas such as the environment and natural resources, human nutrition and food safety, and social and community development. Research in these areas provides social benefits that are widely diffused and difficult to capture through private innovation. This chart comes from The Complementary Roles of Public and Private Sectors in U.S. Agricultural Research and Development, EB-19, September 2012.

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