Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-45) 42 pp

March 2009

U.S. Public Agricultural Research: Changes in Funding Sources and Shifts in Emphasis, 1980-2005

Over the years, proposals have recommended shifting the focus of public agricultural research from applied to basic research, and giving higher priority to peer-reviewed, competitively funded grants. The public agricultural research system in the United States is a Federal-State partnership, with most research conducted at State institutions. In recent years, State funds have declined, USDA funds have remained fairly steady (with changes in the composition of funding), but funding from other Federal agencies and the private sector has increased. Efforts to increase competitively awarded funds for research have fluctuated over time, as have special grants (earmarks). Along with shifts in funding sources, the proportion of basic research being undertaken within the public agricultural research system has declined. This report focuses on the way public agricultural research is funded in the United States and how changes in funding sources over the last 25 years reflect changes in the type of research pursued.

Keywords: Agricultural research, Current Research Information System, CRIS, State Agricultural Experiment Stations (SAES), competitive and formula funds

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