Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ag Research?

"Investments in agricultural research has a high return on investment and is necessary for a solution to feeding a growing world population on limited resources, so why is Farm Bill funding for R&D shrinking?
Julian Alston, agricultural and resource economics professor at the University of California-Davis, spoke about the challenge to provide safe, affordable food for a world population expected to reach 8.9 billion by 2050 during the 2013 Congressional Assistants Tour, hosted by K-State Research and Extension Aug. 29-30.
While the growing population expectation is a primary concern for producers, Alston raised additional concerns of competing demands for land and water, competing demands with biofuels, a changing climate, and co-evolving pests and diseases.
The good news is agriculture has been profitable enough the last ten years that research has perked up a bit again.  I saw that yesterday at Farm Science Review but there has been a shift from public research to private research.

The first big knock in ag research in Ohio was the closing of the corn breeding program.  Ohio had inbreds no one else had.  The second big knock was when the REAL soil testing lab was closed down and let go to private competition.

How is your state or country doing in agricultural research?  Or should I ask what at all are they doing?  It isn't much in many states and countries.

Who is number one in public agricultural investment?

Ed Winkle


  1. I agree ag research should be increasing, nor shrinking, it's probably because biotech companies have taken over and made it profitable for them. It would be nice to have some traditional or GM crops that are public-domain and that you can plant and replant without selling your soul to these companies.

    More research on food and nutrition would be fantastic too. Most people don't cook or don't know to cook a healthy meal. Politicians will need to be very creative to devise funding that not only does not tax the budget, but also contributes to its recovery. 50 state ag unis need what, $30 millions a year each on average? That's $1.5 billions total. If you tax every unhealthy junk food box or bag five cents more, you'd need sales of about 82 million items a day. That's probably much less than what is being sold or exported every day. Not saying that's the way to go, but if you want the privilege of having your own cook (since the meal is being cooked for you), and an unhealthy food at that, five cents is really a insignificant and might encourage you to cook more. Maybe this kind of taxes is better suited to food and nutrition research: When sales of junk food go down because the research has done its job, then research funding runs dry with it right at the time when research is not needed anymore.

    By the way, enrollment at ag unis has been going up lately, so obviously more public funding is needed, not less.

  2. Especially with all of these gmo, non gmo issues hitting the media from average people's questions, ag research should be increasing!

    The demand for non gmo alone today should increase research that direction!

    The research I am using today is basically all privately funded!

    Where are the land grants when we need them?

    Are they broke or blind???