Public Research and Technology Transfer in US Agriculture: The Role of USDA
Agriculture has been of fundamental and growing importance from the earliest days of human society. Over millennia, farmers have domesticated and improved a wide array of crops and livestock and passed their knowledge and experience down over generations. As the challenge to feed an ever-growing world population has increased, however, so has the need for ever greater levels of production. The latest science and technological advances undergird the success of modern agriculture. Virtually every item in a typical meal is available, at least in part, because of scientific and technological advances that have led to increased production, protection from pests or disease, or enhancements to their nutritional value. This vast array of research activities can be clearly seen in the story behind the daily Western breakfast table.
The vast array of advances we profile result from the efforts of hundreds (thousands?) of researchers and for their many efforts we are grateful. We also thank an array of individuals who provided guidance, edits, and information to this chapter, including ARS National Program Leaders Peter Bretting, José Costa, Rosalind James, James Lindsay, Sally Schneider, and Gail Wisler, and ARS Center Director Marisa Wall. This chapter is based on a presentation at the 2016 USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum, February 25–26, 2016.
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