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Executive Summary Rapid and dramatic social, economic, and technologic changes have occurred in the food and agricultural sector during the last 30 years. These include increased global competition, the advent of biotechnology and precision produc- tion, changes in intellectual property rights, increased product differentiation, greater demand for ecosystem services from agriculture, and changes in farm and market structure. These changes pose new challenges for the federally funded agricultural research, extension, and education system and indicate a need for reflection on the future directions of that system. In response to a congressional mandate, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) requested that the National Research Council conduct a study of USDA's Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area and provide recom- mendations for future opportunities and directions. In response to the request, the Research Council convened the Committee on Opportunities in Agriculture and three subcommittees, the Subcommittee on Economic and Social Development in a Global Context, the Subcommittee on Food and Health, and the Subcommittee on Environmental Quality and Natural Resources, which were charged with the following: 1. Drawing in part on previous National Research Council work, the study will include collection, review, and assessment of data on agricultural research and its operating environment. 2. The historical background of agricultural research, education, and eco- nomics will be considered, and changes in US needs and priorities will be described. 3. Programmatic and functional complementarities among the four REE 1

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2 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH research agencies (the Agricultural Research Service [ARS], the Coop- erative State Research, Education, and Extension Service [CSREES], the Economic Research Service [ERS], and the National Agricultural Statis- tics Service [NASS]) will be examined, and the relevance of agency research to current and proposed national priorities will be evaluated. 4. Current capacity in research, education, and extension will be assessed, and scientific strengths and gaps in federally funded agricultural research efforts will be identified. 5. Research quality will be evaluated for content, relevance, effectiveness, and outcome with regard to the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993. 6. Quality standards, the use of peer review and external advice, resource allocation (including formula funds), and collaborative and interdiscipli- nary research will be examined. 7. Recommendations will be provided on the future role of federally funded agricultural research, future research opportunities and directions, the setting of relevant research priorities, gaps or weaknesses in the federal agricultural research system, and the strengthening of programmatic, structural, or management components of agricultural research, extension, and education to ensure responsiveness to future national needs. In responding to its charge, the committee examined the changing context of agricultural research and the widening scope of opportunities for delivering research benefits to society. To capture those opportunities, a renewed federal research enterprise is envisioned, and recommendations are made for changes in research directions, setting of the research strategy, allocation of resources, collaborative relationships, quality and impact assurance, leadership, human capacity, information capacity, and infrastructure. THE CHANGING CONTEXT OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH Worldwide changes are transforming American agriculture into an endeavor focused not only on efficient food and fiber production but also on delivering improved public health, social well-being, and a sound environment. Recent scientific breakthroughs will make it easier for agriculture to achieve its potential for delivering a wide array of benefits to society. For this potential to be realized, the agricultural research system must take advantage of new opportunities and relationships and must have the critical leadership in place to address the com- plex, various roles for agriculture in the 21st century. Over the last century, the primary public need addressed by US agriculture has been food and fiber production. The major focus of agricultural research, in turn, has been on enhancing agricultural productivity. The success of that endeavor has been substantial, as demonstrated by major productivity gains such

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 3 as the tripling of corn yields over the last 50 years. Scientific discoveries in such fields as plant and animal genetics, plant and animal nutrition, and livestock health and effective application of these discoveries in production systems- have driven those gains. At the same time, important shifts in public values have progressively broad- ened the scope of agricultural research to include goals related to the environ- ment, human health, and communities. Changing public values and needs will create new market opportunities and will alter agriculture's relationship to the food and fiber system, the environment, and the fabric of American society. The demands for research to support national needs in continued productivity gains, more and varied products, better human health in terms of nutritional outcomes and reductions in foodborne disease, enhanced biosecurity, animal welfare, envi- ronmental benefits, and viable rural communities are growing at the same time as scientific advances offer new opportunities for satisfaction of these demands. A VISION OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH The changes now under way in agriculture's social and scientific context require a new vision of agricultural research one that is grounded in lessons from the past, in changing American values, in a globalizing economy, and in scientific advances that have fundamentally altered the life, environmental, and social sciences. The vision promotes agriculture as a positive economic, social, and environmental force. It embraces further gains in food and fiber produc- tion gains that will be crucial to meet the needs of an expanding US and global population but it also provides other benefits, such as enhanced public health, clean water, more diverse wildlife, rural amenities, and social well-being. In the new vision, agricultural research anticipates the effects of new technologies and emerging socioeconomic structures on society, human health, and the environ- ment. US agricultural research should be conducted with an increased under- standing and awareness of how problems and solutions are interconnected globally. International collaboration will be more important for the agricultural research of the future if there is to be real hope of meeting the food and nutrition needs of a growing worldwide population while protecting biodiversity and the environment. Implicit in the vision is a new definition of agriculture's products and conse- quently of the client base for agricultural research. US agricultural leaders and policy-makers are changing their primary emphasis from production efficiency to meeting changing consumer demands. Food and fiber remain core products but agriculture has an increasingly important role in delivering pharmaceutical, nutri- tional, and biobased products; the sound stewardship of biologic, land, water, and atmospheric resources; social acceptance of agricultural systems and the well- being of food animals; and the sustained social and economic health of rural communities. The broadening of agriculture' s products has greatly expanded the customers of US agricultural research beyond commodity producers. Examples

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4 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH of the new customers are producers of pharmaceutical products; sustainable-, alternative-, and organic-farming interests; a broad array of public and private natural-resource and land managers; conservationists; and entrepreneurs in rural communities. What kind of federal research enterprise will be required to realize the vision of agricultural research? The enterprise must address a set of priorities in envi- ronment, food and health, and social well-being. Better targeting of resources through clear priority-setting mechanisms will improve accountability and make it possible to measure progress against national needs. An emphasis on flexibility will permit targeting of resources and ensure responsiveness to changing public values and rapid advancement of scientific innovations. A system that antici- pates challenges arising from emerging technologies, production systems, and consumption patterns rather than one that simply reacts to problems will maxi- mize agriculture' s long-term benefits. Broad representation of the natural, social, environmental, and health sciences will be essential to reflect the changing port- folio of agriculture's products and the changing client base for agricultural research and to support a multidisciplinary systems approach. The relationships and roles of food and society and more consumer-oriented, health-conscious, global markets should be considered. Partnerships have enormous potential to help further the vision. VISION STATEMENT: Agricultural research will support agriculture as a positive economic, social, and environmental force and will help the sector to fulfill ever-evolving demands. These include further gains in food and fiber production and such other benefits as enhanced public health, environmental services, rural amenities, and community well- being. USDA's REE agencies will provide leadership in fostering this concept. Agricultural research will be anticipatory, strategic, collabora- tive, cost-effective, and accountable to a broad client base. Agricultural research will engage relevant biophysical and socioeconomic disciplines in a systems approach to address new priorities (Chapter 1~. FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH Five challenges provide opportunities for public agricultural research to serve the expanded customer base. For each of those five challenges, we have identified the research frontiers (detailed in Chapter 3) where the intersection of cutting- edge science with stakeholder needs provides compelling opportunities: Globalization of the food economy. Evaluate the implications of globalization for US agriculture and agri- cultural-research priorities.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY s Improve agricultural productivity and product quality while optimiz- ing resource use. Evaluate the economic, social, health, and environmental effects of agricultural technologies and practices. Emerging pathogens and other hazards in the food-supply chain. Reduce the risks of bioterrorism. Improve microbiologic food safety. Understand and minimize the hazards of food allergens and toxicants. Improve understanding and management of plant and animal diseases. Enhancing human health through nutrition. Advance research on bioactive food compounds. Elucidate genetic mechanisms of human health and nutrition. Improve understanding of food-consumption behavior and its links to health. Improve the nutrient content of foods. . Improving environmental stewardship. Reduce pollution and conserve natural resources. Advance environmentally sound alternatives. Deliver new environmental benefits. Integrate leading-edge environmental-science concepts and technologies. Improving quality of life in rural communities. Evaluate the effects of changes in agricultural market structure. Meet the challenge of rural development's changing context. Research in those frontier fields is often best undertaken in the public sector because many of the challenges will not be fully addressed through private-sector research, inasmuch as the broad environmental and public-health benefits envi- sioned are widely distributed and cannot be fully captured by private firms. Furthermore, the changing global context for agricultural, food, and rural policies means that USDA policy-makers will require an expanded research base. In many cases, research opportunities will require expanded collaboration among scien- tific disciplines, federal agencies, or international organizations. Given its historical strengths in mission-oriented research, collaboration on all levels, and responsibility for food and agricultural databases, REE is uniquely positioned to address these frontiers in agricultural research. RECOMMENDATION 1: REE should provide leadership for the agri- cultural community in exploring research frontiers in food, health, envi- ronment, and communities. REE should build on its historical strengths and become a scientific leader in using new technologies and emerging scientific paradigms to pursue strategic, long-term research goals. A greater emphasis on multidisciplinary work that engages all relevant disciplines will be needed to address many new research frontiers (Chapter 3~.

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6 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH REE agencies can build on several strengths in their current capacity and organization as they move into their leadership role. REE has established processes to engage in strategic planning, to ensure quality of science, to listen to stakeholders, to provide for professional development of intramural scientists, and to engage in productive collaborative relationships with a variety of other institutions. Many of those processes can be improved to provide a stronger foundation for leadership. SETTING THE RESEARCH STRATEGY The REE agencies' specific approaches and roles must reflect the changing institutional context of federally supported research. Private-sector expenditures for agricultural research have exceeded public-sector expenditures for 2 decades. USDA-appropriated funds to state agricultural experiment stations are declining, as funding from industry, commodity groups, foundations, and non-USDA federal agencies are providing an increasing share of funding. USDA remains an impor- tant source of funding for most agriculture-related research, but it faces increased challenges in providing leadership for agricultural R&D and must be more strategic in use of its funds and in articulating the importance of outcomes of agricultural research. Federal resources should be used to support outcomes with broad public ben- efit that are not well funded by private-sector interests. Such benefits as enhanced public health or environmental services are often more difficult for private firms to capture, so these are important goals for public research. Federal investments also include research that provides new "platforms" of discovery for multiple private or local applications. RECOMMENDATION 2: The REE agencies need to identify clearly their unique positions relative to the other components of the agricul- tural-research system, identify high-impact activities through which targeted funding and resources could generate substantial and measurable progress toward meeting national needs, and coordinate planning and research support across the agencies to minimize unnecessary duplica- tion and maximize effectiveness. Those efforts should be informed by a clear articulation of the major national priorities for research and educa- tion and a system for anticipating, reporting on, and identifying strate- gies to address emerging research needs (Chapter 4~. Resource Allocation REE has substantial resources invested across the broad array of research goals related to agriculture, food, health, environment, and communities. How- ever, agricultural productivity still receives the dominant share of research

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 7 resources, particularly for intramural research. Without question, the REE research agenda of the future will require greater resources and a more balanced distribution of those resources in new directions mentioned earlier. RECOMMENDATION 3: The REE agencies should direct new and existing resources that currently support agricultural productivity research toward new research opportunities in health, environment, and commu- nities (Chapter 4~. (Research opportunities are identified in Chapter 3.) Approaching the research frontiers requires new resource-allocation strate- gies. The four current funding mechanisms in agricultural research are formula funding, competitive grants, special grants or earmarks, and intramural research. The diversity of financial sources usually ensures that local, state, regional, and national agricultural research needs are addressed, and economic evidence sug- gests that the diversity of funding mechanisms has been a historical strength of the USDA research system. It is unclear, however, what role competitive grants will play in the overall research portfolio, given their variability in appropriated funds in the last few years. It is also unclear whether the current portfolio of funding mechanisms will adequately address the complex problems of contem- porary agriculture in the 21st century and realize the new vision of REE research. In particular, additional flexibility is needed to help the REE agencies respond most effectively to opportunities and to help provide the research results that are needed by USDA agencies administering programs mandated by the department (action agencies). A realignment of the existing research budget to increase the proportion of funds in competitive grants and cooperative agreements would be effective in achieving greater flexibility and for addressing new and emerging issues by engaging new talent and expertise. A target of 20-30% of the research portfolio allocated via merit-reviewed competitive processes would achieve greater parity with other federal research programs. The committee envisions that increasing the percentage of research allocated via cooperative agreements to 25% of the portfolio would also contribute to greater flexibility. Competitive mechanisms should be used for awarding large cooperative agreements ($1 million or more). However, competitive mechanisms need not be used in the case of small awards for which competitive processes may incur delays and higher transaction costs. Greater discretion for REE agencies to move resources to new subjects could also be achieved through no-year-funding or revolving-funding authority or by with- holding a percentage of discretionary funds for research in new subjects. Discre- tionary funds withheld above the agency level could be used as an incentive for agency collaboration on emerging issues or emergency needs. The committee believes that allocating discretionary resources for research to action agencies could also contribute to more effectively meeting action-agency research needs. REE would be well placed to receive these resources, but a more

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8 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH competitive mechanism would create greater accountability and transparency in terms of carrying out research designed to meet the needs of action agencies. RECOMMENDATION 4: To ensure that research funds are used to advance science in new directions and to address emerging and emer- gency issues in a timely and responsible fashion, the committee recom- mends the following (Chapter 4~: 1. Total competitive grants should be substantially increased to and sustained at 20-30% of the total portfolio. 2. Action agencies should receive or control discretionary funds to be used to meet critical programmatic needs complementary to those currently served by REE agencies. The agencies could thereby fund intramural USDA scientists, other agency scientists, or university researchers competitively on the basis of the researchers' availability and match of expertise to agency needs. 3. The REE agencies should pursue complementary research activities and tap broader expertise by dedicating a higher percentage of new funds to cooperative arrangements, to be awarded on a competitive basis for large awards, with academic or other public-sector researchers. 4. Congress should increase REE budgetary flexibility to move resources toward emerging and emergency needs. Relevance Assurance Through Stakeholder Input The REE agencies have implemented numerous mechanisms to integrate stakeholder input into their priority-setting and into the research, extension, and education processes. Stakeholder input generally strengthens the connection between research and its applications, but results of REE' s efforts to engage stake- holders have been mixed. Not all processes have ensured balanced participation by the full array of affected stakeholders. Efforts have been largely unlinked across agencies, and this creates duplication of effort and sometimes disparate results. The stakeholder processes now occurring strain stakeholder time and resources and the capacity and resources of the REE agencies. These processes do not effectively utilize the national cooperative extension network that exists at local and state levels. Moreover, the agencies have sometimes found it difficult to reconcile stakeholders' competing views and to synthesize diverse and abun- dant stakeholder input into a usable form. Finally, stakeholder processes are as yet weakly linked to REE and its agencies' strategic planning and performance evaluation. RECOMMENDATION 5: To provide a forum for shared learning across agencies, REE should conduct a national summit every 2-3 years

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 9 that would engage the four REE agencies and a broad representation of stakeholders at the local, national, and regional levels. The summit could assess national research needs and inform stakeholders how their input is used in agency decision-making (Chapter 4~. COLLABORATION Partnerships between REE and universities over the last 50 years have worked effectively in addressing many of agriculture's greatest challenges, such as soil conservation. The emergence of new kinds of research organizations and structures is now providing opportunities for REE to explore different kinds of partnerships and research collaborations and is challenging conventional ways of carrying out research. Examples of emerging and continuing partners in REE research are other federal research agencies involved in human health and the environment, nonprofit organizations, international research centers, and agricul- tural research systems in other countries. All those kinds of partnerships can play important roles in addressing new research opportunities. Collaborations with the private sector are growing rapidly. Policy changes over the last 2 decades allow patenting and licensing of knowledge developed through public-sector research (for example, the Bayh-Dole Act) and have expanded the scope of collaboration between the public and private sectors, open- ing new opportunities and risks in technology development. Benefits of such public-private collaboration include more-successful technology transfer, in- creased support of research, and expanded scientific networks. Concerns about such collaboration include its potential effect on priority-setting in the public sector, on scientific-information generation, and on the allocation of resources for future research. Many questions regarding the management of intellectual property in agriculture are unresolved, and policy is still not well defined. RECOMMENDATION 6: REE should provide national leadership in developing intellectual property policy for agricultural research. REE should address the potential consequences of public-private collabora- tion with appropriate policies, practices, and organizational arrange- ments that . Promote the greatest public benefit from agricultural research. Protect the public investment in research. Prevent diversion of public resources away from research that can be carried out only in the public sector. Pursue strategic private-sector collaboration necessary to achieve public goals.

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10 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH To accomplish these objectives, REE should establish ways to measure the effectiveness of technology generation and transfer through private- sector collaboration (Chapter 5~. QUALITY AND IMPACT ASSURANCE The committee considered the REE agencies in light of metrics of quality and mechanisms for quality assurance. Generally, the committee identified a variety of quality-review and evaluation processes that are in place for all research projects and programs in the REE system. The committee found evidence that REE scientists produce research of high quality. The adoption of peer-review systems in both the intramural and formula-funded research systems is a positive step. However, in comparing REE with other federal research programs, the committee found that the REE system appears to reward excellent research per- formance adequately but except for the competitive programs may not ade- quately exclude mediocre research performance. In benchmarking REE against other federal intramural research programs, the committee found that unsatisfac- tory performance has very little consequence in the REE intramural system, whereas in some other federal intramural research programs, reduction or com- plete loss of research support or ineligibility for tenure was a consequence of unsatisfactory research performance. RECOMMENDATION 7: The REE intramural research system should strengthen quality control for poor research performance. Mechanisms used in other federal intramural research agencies, including the re- direction of human or financial resources when quality is poor, could be implemented (Chapter 6~. The committee reviewed the impact of REE research by using a variety of metrics focused on some dimension of the real output or payoff of research, including publications, citation frequency, patenting, longer-term quantitative measures, and social rate of return. In general, the impact of REE research on several important outcomes is well documented. The social rate of return on past public agricultural-research investments in the period 1950-1982 has been very high, and the rate of return over the last 2 decades has not declined. Although documented quantitative data are not as systematized as economic rates of return, there is evidence that REE research has had positive environmental, social, nutri- tional, and health impacts. Monitoring and Communicating Impact The new research agenda poses challenges for tracking and monitoring suc- cess. Public investments in agricultural research have shown a high rate of return

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 11 over the last 75 years, primarily through enhanced productivity. But future investments will yield improvements in public health, the environment, and com- munity well-being that are more difficult to measure. Tracking outcomes and measuring success at these research frontiers require strategic thinking about information collection. RECOMMENDATION 8: REE agencies should develop and adopt ways of measuring the national, long-term impacts of their research on the environment, human health, and communities. The tools should include measures and indicators that are influenced by agricultural research or that can be attributed to research outcomes, including how research supports the needs of action agencies. REE should strive to achieve greater transparency in communicating these impacts through timely electronic publishing of peer-reviewed results and through greater efforts to interpret these results for a general audience (Chapter 6~. Monitoring capability should be developed to show how REE research is changing in focus, relevance, quality, leadership, and accountability. Monitoring capabil- ity should also be developed to show how food, agricultural, natural, and human systems are changing with a view toward targeting future research directions. More effective tracking capability will help to improve self-evaluation in REE agencies and reporting of progress to groups outside REE. REE CAPACITY The dramatic changes in science and technology, globalization, emerging needs, and the identification of new research themes commensurate with a broader scope of societal issues will require changes in leadership, scientific staffing, and data development and management. Organizational Capacity and Research Leadership The current organizational structure of research efforts in the REE agencies limits the combined effectiveness of the agencies. Leadership to provide intel- lectual guidance and a long-term, coherent vision for REE research, promote intra- agency coordination, broker partnerships outside the REE agencies, and integrate REE's research within the federal research program is lacking. No position in the REE administrative structure has the visibility and prestige of the directors of the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and the scien- tific reputation of the REE agencies suffers from this lack. RECOMMENDATION 9: There is a national need for a high-level leader to represent food and agricultural research and to promote oppor- tunities for the research system. Such a leader should be vested with the

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2 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH authority to develop the food and agricultural research agenda, redirect funds to emerging issues and emergency needs, integrate the efforts of the individual agencies, and facilitate collaboration and coordination with scientists outside USDA and elsewhere in the federally supported research system. The leader should be selected on the basis of outstand- ing scientific and administrative accomplishments and must command the respect of the agricultural community and the broad scientific com- munity (Chapter 7~. Most committee members believe that creating a new position of research direc- tor who reports directly to the secretary of agriculture would be the best among several alternatives for establishing the high-profile leadership that is needed to implement the new vision for food and agricultural research described in this report. Several committee members concluded that other options, including strengthening the undersecretary position, also could successfully address the need for enhanced leadership of the nation's food and agricultural research effort. Human Capacity Evidence suggests that the scientific expertise needed to address progressive fields of research is lacking in REE. There is a continuing lack of scientific exper- tise in the nutritional, environmental, and social sciences and imbalances in ethnicity and sex within and between agencies. RECOMMENDATION 10: REE should increase the hiring of scientists in research fields that have the greatest opportunities to address societal goals. Those include integrative environmental science, ecology, economics, and sociology; human genetics (including statistical human genetics) and bioinformatics; and human nutrition, public health, and food safety. REE agencies should continue to develop new methods for recruiting and retaining women and members of ethnic minorities (Chapter 7~. The committee found that REE agencies face a number of recruitment and retention challenges, including stiff competition from the private sector, other federal agencies, and academe, complex and constraining hiring rules under the Office of Personnel Management, and an increasing number of non-US citizens with PhDs in agricultural sciences who are not eligible for employment in US government agencies. In spite of these challenges, REE agencies have made use of a variety of recruitment procedures and retention incentives to increase flex- ibility. These include the postdoctoral fellowship program, the Demonstration Project, cooperative agreements with university-based research centers, the recently authorized Senior Scientific Research Service program, and incentives authorized under the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 13 The committee also notes that REE has made substantial efforts to build internal capacity by promoting training and professional development. REE also contributes to building the human capacity of the future through its support of the research establishment in the land-grant university system. Continued efforts of these kinds hold promise for the future. Information Capacity A broader perspective in surveying and in collecting data will be necessary to support an expanding and broadening food and agricultural research agenda, particularly in the areas of nutritional and environmental analysis. New catego- ries of data and systems for data use are needed. Creative approaches to data collection and analysis that integrate the unique strengths and complementary expertise of all the REE agencies, land-grant universities, other government agen- cies, the private sector, nongovernment and voluntary groups, and international organizations should be implemented. Finally, new technologic tools, including geospatial referencing, are enabling the combination of new and existing datasets from different sources to create new knowledge. RECOMMENDATION 11: REE should undertake an analysis of the data development, management, and dissemination needed to support environmental and nutrition policy analysis. REE should work with other USDA mission areas to conduct an inventory of available social, economic, biologic, chemical, and physical datasets and to take stock of the data needs of the future. REE should take the initiative in coordinat- ing with other USDA agencies and with other federal agencies to identify where and how data can be more efficiently and effectively used and shared. REE should put into place structures and systems to support data management and dissemination across its agencies (Chapter 7~. Research Infrastructure State-of-the-art facilities and equipment are critical requirements for USDA to be able to conduct world-class science and research. However, maintaining a physical infrastructure that is too large and too expensive will have a major adverse effect on department research unless REE budgets grow substantially or REE is able to gain in efficiency by being permitted to close and consolidate a number of facilities. Maintenance of some facilities has been deferred for many years, and the cost to repair these facilities is mounting to tremendous sums of public funds. Congressional and stakeholder pressures greatly hinder the ability to close some facilities that do not cost-effectively contribute to USDA' s national research agenda.

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14 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH RECOMMENDATION 12: The committee recommends that REE use objective criteria to decide which USDA facilities merit investment of budget resources for repair, modernization, or security improvement and which should be consolidated or closed because they are incapable of cost-effectively contributing to the REE research strategy without renovation. These criteria should be established in the public interest and mutually agreed on by key members of Congress and state and local legislators, as articulated in the principles and recommendations of the 1999 Report of the Strategic Planning Task Force on USDA Research Facilities. The closing, consolidation, or renovation of facilities should be implemented (Chapter 7~. LOOKING TO THE FUTURE As the world' s premier agricultural research system, USDA and its partners have been widely emulated. The increasingly international character of research benefits means that USDA's future choices will have global consequences. Part- ners in the research effort will be increasingly diverse and far-flung, and how USDA chooses to partner with other institutions will provide models for global collaboration. USDA can lead the way for institutional change that responds to new demands on the agricultural system.