Revitalizing agricultural research for global food security
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An imaginative American legislation, the Morrill Act of 1862, established the U. S. Land Grant University Model, where such universities would adopt a uniform, tri-partite function of education, research, and extension. It legislated that these universities would provide segments of society with practical and timely education that would be useful to their daily lives. A profound concept based on a system that focused on educating the next generation of agricultural scientists, providing support to the generation of new knowledge and technology, and communicating the results of the new discoveries to key stakeholders was born. Sustained support of this 19th century legislation and the commitment and drive of generations of agricultural scientists and farmers brought about remarkable advances, making 20th century American agriculture most productive and the envy of the world. These successes were replicated in North America, Europe, and in much of the developed world, and served as the impetus for the emergence of the Asian Green Revolution. Farming became a profitable business and consumers were accustomed to safe and relatively inexpensive supply of food, unfortunately leading to 21st century complacency. The recent food price crises seem to have reawakened world leaders and donor agencies to the necessity of assuring the food security of nations and to revitalizing and reinvesting in the agricultural sciences.