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President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Calls for Increased Investment in Competitive Agricultural Research

Media Contact: Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-8188

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2012 - Today, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a new report, “Agricultural Preparedness and the Agriculture Research Enterprise.” This report addresses the scientific challenges facing the nation’s agricultural research enterprise and calls for more competitive research grants and a network of public-private agricultural institutes to address pending challenges. PCAST’s recommendations to President Obama look at how to refocus and rebalance the federal investment in agricultural research to enable U.S. farmers to meet the critical challenges facing U.S. agriculture.

In the report, PCAST calls for increased public investment in agricultural research to meet these growing challenges. The goal of the additional investment is to enable creation of an innovation ecosystem for agriculture that combines public and private R&D efforts to most efficiently meet both the short- and long-term dimensions of the challenges.

The council further recommends that USDA make some important changes in the way it administers research funds, specifically expanding competitive opportunities for intramural and extramural research. This additional research investment would create opportunities for new business ventures funded by the private sector and provide the means to train the next generation of farmers and agricultural researchers.

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is USDA’s extramural research agency that provides research funding to a broad range of organizations addressing challenges of national importance and global influence. Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and Extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical challenges of food, agriculture and the environment. For more information, visit www.nifa.usda.gov.

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is an advisory group of the Nation’s leading scientists and engineers, appointed by the President to augment the science and technology advice available to him from inside the White House and from cabinet departments and other Federal agencies. PCAST is consulted about, and often makes policy recommendations concerning, the full range of issues where understandings from the domains of science, technology, and innovation bear potentially on the policy choices before the President. For more information about PCAST, see www.whitehouse.gov/ostp/pcast.

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