The chief scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that agricultural research will have a payoff for everybody and that is why it is important for the U.S. government to continue to find ways to fund research that helps the country's food and fiber system.
"My response to this trying U.S. budget situation is to keep pointing out to all the audiences I speak to that investing in agricultural research is an investment for everybody," Catherine Woteki said. "I talk first about the payoff for farmers in new technology that they can use to increase their productivity and reduce their costs. But that also pays off for the general public in a wider variety of foods available and in reasonable food prices."
Woteki is the undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics and chief scientist for USDA. Her job includes overseeing four agencies: the Agricultural Research Service, National Institute for Food and Agriculture, Economic Research Service and the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
She noted that research that helps U.S. farmers positively affects the country's ability to export goods and balance trade with other countries.
"In order to maintain that important part of our exports, which is important to our economy, our investment in agricultural research is all the more important," she said.
USDA economists have found that every dollar invested in agricultural research has a $20 return to the American economy, she added.
Reprinted in part from DairyHerd.com