Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture

Committee to Review the Role of Publicly Funded Agricultural Research on the Structure of U.S. Agriculture

Division on Earth and Life Studies

Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.



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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture Committee to Review the Role of Publicly Funded Agricultural Research on the Structure of U.S. Agriculture Division on Earth and Life Studies Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. 43-3AEL-7-80055 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-07616-1 Additional copies of this report are available from National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055; (800) 624–6242 or (202) 334–3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Suggested citation: National Research Council, 2001. Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture. Committee to Review the Role of Publicly Funded Agricultural Research on the Structure of U.S. Agriculture (Washington, DC: National Academy Press). Cover illustration reprinted, with permission, from Good Directions, Inc. Copyright 1996 by Good Directions, Inc. Copyright 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M.Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm.A.Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I.Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M.Alberts and Dr. Wm.A.Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture COMMITTEE TO REVIEW THE ROLE OF PUBLICLY FUNDED AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH ON THE STRUCTURE OF U.S. AGRICULTURE ANTHONY S.EARL, Chair, Quarles & Brady LLP, Madison, Wisconsin MICHAEL BOEHLJE, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana R.DEAN BOYD, Pig Improvement Company, Franklin, Kentucky FREDERICK H.BUTTEL, University of Wisconsin, Madison ARNOLD DENTON* (retired), Campbell Soup Company, Sacramento, California ESSEX E.FINNEY† (retired), Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland CORNELIA BUTLER FLORA, Iowa State University, Ames PETER J.GOLDMARK, DJR Research, Okanogan, Washington FREDERICK KIRSCHENMANN, Iowa State University, Ames DAVID ZILBERMAN, University of California, Berkeley Staff CLARA COHEN, Study Director (since November 2000) LEE PAULSON, Study Director (from August 1999 to November 2000) MARY JANE LETAW, Study Director (from August 1997 to September 1999) LUCYNA KURTYKA, Program Officer (from August 1999 to July 2000) ANNE H.KELLY, Editor KAREN L.IMHOF, Project Assistant MICHAEL R.KISIELEWSKI, Project Assistant Consultant FRED C.WHITE, University of Georgia, Athens *   Resigned, November 4, 1999 †   Resigned, December 10, 1999

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture BOARD ON AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES HARLEY W.MOON, Chair, Iowa State University, Ames CORNELIA B.FLORA, Iowa State University, Ames ROBERT B.FRIDLEY, University of California, Davis BARBARA GLENN, Federation of Animal Science Societies, Bethesda, Maryland W.R.GOMES, University of California, Oakland LINDA GOLODNER, National Consumers League, Washington, D.C. PERRY R.HAGENSTEIN, Institute for Forest Analysis, Planning, and Policy, Wayland, Massachusetts GEORGE R.HALLBERG, The Cadmus Group, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts CALESTOUS JUMA, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts GILBERT A.LEVEILLE, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Denville, New Jersey WHITNEY MACMILLAN, Cargill, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota (retired) TERRY L.MEDLEY, DuPont BioSolutions Enterprise, Wilmington, Delaware WILLIAM L.OGREN, U.S. Department of Agriculture (retired) ALICE PELL, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York NANCY J.RACHMAN, Novigen Sciences, Inc., Washington, D.C. G.EDWARD SCHUH, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis BRIAN STASKAWICZ, University of California, Berkeley JOHN W.SUTTIE, University of Wisconsin, Madison JAMES TUMLINSON, Agriculture Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Gainesville, Florida JAMES J.ZUICHES, Washington State University, Pullman Staff WARREN MUIR, Executive Director CHARLOTTE KIRK BAER, Director JULIE ANDREWS, Senior Project Assistant

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture Preface The food and agricultural economy is highly concentrated today. Economic concentration characterizes food distribution and processing, agricultural inputs, and, increasingly, primary production and commercial farming. Six million farms produced the nation’s food during World War II. Today, 90 percent of all farm output comes from fewer than a million farms. This trend is unlikely to be reversed, but it nonetheless troubles U.S. society, which values the concept of the family farm, as farm legislation consistently mentions the family farm as part of its justification and goals. Vertical integration and contracting increasingly characterize the U.S. food and agricultural system. Vertically integrated farming, processing, and marketing activities often are components of a single corporate entity. Subcontractors might manage a crop or livestock operation while livestock and other assets are owned and much of the decision making is controlled by the farm, which acts as integrator. In contrast to vertical integration and contracting, but also in response to highly differentiated consumer demands, is the rise in some regions of a segment of farmers engaged in production for niche markets. Niche marketers produce specialty crops or use alternative management practices and typically are independent, small-scale producers. They often market directly to small grocers, specialized outlets, or urban farmers’ markets. The changing food and agricultural system poses major challenges for the public sector’s food and agricultural research and educational system. One major

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture challenge is the complexity associated with meeting the research, extension, and education needs of agricultural producers. A concern expressed by Congress and other observers is the putative role of publicly funded agricultural research in developing technologies that have been or will be biased toward changes in farm size and other characteristics of the structure of agriculture. In response to these concerns, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) asked the National Research Council (NRC) to review the relationship between publicly funded research and the evolving structure of agriculture. The NRC convened a study panel of experts chosen for their knowledge of agricultural policy issues, farm and agribusiness management and finance, rural sociology, agricultural economics, and the land grant system. The committee had the following charges: Assess the role of public-sector research on changes in farm size and numbers, with particular emphasis on very-large-scale operations. Review relevant literature, including pertinent rural development literature, on the role of research and the development of new technology in promoting structural change in farming, evaluating theoretical and empirical evidence. Consider whether public-sector research has influenced the size of farm operations and, if so, by what means. Provide recommendations for future research and extension policies, giving consideration to improving access to the results of public-sector research that leads to new farm production practices and technology. As part of its information-gathering activities, the committee held public workshops to elicit the perspective of producers, particularly those who are often described as underserved by the current public research agenda, and other experts on the structure of agriculture. The committee reviewed a wide array of background material, including long-term trends in public and private agricultural research, USDA budgets, literature on economic and sociologic research, literature on adoption and diffusion, and on the relationship among public research, farm size, and structural characteristics. The committee also considered reports on minority and women farmers, the report of the USDA National Commission on Small Farms, and reports by the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment on the structure of agriculture. This report analyzes the implications of public-sector research, technology adoption, technology transfer, and distribution of public-sector research investments for the structure of agriculture. The report also frames public-sector research and development in the context of other drivers of structural change in agriculture, including market forces, public policy, and the changing role of knowledge and information. The study committee offers recommendations for changes in the public sector’s research approach and priority-setting process and for strengthening research programs devoted to analysis of structural change, its

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture causes, and its implications. The study committee hopes that Congress and the Executive Branch will use these recommendations ultimately to benefit a broad diversity of agricultural constituents. Anthony S.Earl, Chair Committee to Review the Role of Publicly Funded Agricultural Research on the Structure of U.S. Agriculture

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture Acknowledgments Many individuals generously contributed their time, advice, data, and other input during the study process. The committee gives special thanks to those who provided input at its public workshops: GLENN ANDERSON, Organic Farms ROBERT EVENSON, Yale University GAIL FEENSTRA, University of California, Davis ROGER GERRITS, (formerly) Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture ROBERT GOODMAN, University of Wisconsin, Madison CHARLES HASSEBROOK, Center for Rural Affairs JAY HARMON, Iowa State University DOUGLAS JACKSON-SMITH, Utah State University DESMOND JOLLEY, University of California, Davis MARLYN JORGENSEN, Jorg-Anna Farms, Iowa NOEL KEEN, University of California, Riverside EDWARD KNIPLING, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture MARGARET KROME, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute MICHELLE MASCARENHAS, Occidental College DANIEL MOUNTJOY, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture TERRY NIPP, AESOP Enterprises, Ltd. KEN OLSON, American Farm Bureau Federation CALVIN QUALSET, University of California, Davis SARAH J.ROCKEY, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture JAMES VAN DER POL, Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture MICHAEL WEHLER, Upland Prairie Farms, Wisconsin JAMES ZUICHES, Washington State University The following are also acknowledged for assisting the National Research Council staff during preparation of the report by providing information and statistics: George Cooper, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Robert Hoppe, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Charles Krueger, Pennylvania State University; Richard Pirog, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Deborah Sheely, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Frank Shelton, National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Barbara Tidwell, National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Luther Tweeten, Oklahoma State University; and Dennis Unglesbee, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. The committee is extremely grateful to the staff members of the National Research Council Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR) for their efforts throughout the study process and the preparation of this report. The committee also would like to acknowledge Fred C.White for technical assistance, Anne H. (Kate) Kelly for her editorial assistance, and Michael Kisielewski for his efforts in preparing the report. The committee wishes to extend special thanks to Clara Cohen, Study Director since November, 2000, for her dedicated efforts in shepherding the completion of the report. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: MAGGIE ADAMEK, Vision for Change, University of Minnesota JANET BOKEMEIER, Michigan State University RUSSELL CROSS, Future Beef

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture WALLACE HARDIE, Fairmount, North Dakota JAY HARMON, Iowa State University CHARLES HASSEBROOK, Center for Rural Affairs WALLACE HUFFMAN, Iowa State University D.GALE JOHNSON, University of Chicago NEAL VAN ALFEN, University of California, Davis Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by James Cook, Washington State University, and W.R.Gomes, University of California, Oakland. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1     The Study Process,   2     Project Scope,   3     Publicly Funded Agricultural Research,   3     The Structure of Agriculture,   4     Conclusions and Findings,   5     Recommendations,   8     Research Approach,   8     Broaden Public Goals Beyond Production and Efficiency,   8     Biophysical and Social Sciences Research,   9     Public Research, Stakeholder Participation, and Accountability,   10     Assess the Structural Impacts of Publicly Funded Agricultural Research,   11     Extension Policy,   11     Respond to Broad Variety of Producers, Particularly Underserved Populations,   11     Extension and Engagement,   13     Future Research,   13     Monitor and Analyze Structural Change,   13     Serve Diverse Producers,   14

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture 1   INTRODUCTION   16     The Study Process,   22     Structural Changes in U.S. Agriculture,   24     Publicly Funded Agricultural Research,   26     Sources of Public Resource Funds,   26     Institutions Performing Publicly Funded Agricultural Research,   27     Privately Funded Agricultural Research,   28     Report Organization,   29 2   STRUCTURAL IMPACTS OF RESEARCH   30     Research and the Structure of Agriculture,   30     Innovation and the Structure of Agriculture,   32     Mechanical Innovations,   33     Chemical Innovations,   34     Innovations in Biology,   35     Managerial Innovations,   37     Innovations Applied,   39     Green Revolution,   39     Tomato Harvester,   40     Animal Agriculture,   41     Structural Implications of the Research Priority-Setting Process,   43     Criteria for Setting Priorities in Agricultural Research,   43     Stakeholder Participation,   48     Structural Impact Assessments,   49     Summary,   50 3   STRUCTURAL IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND ADOPTION   52     Factors that Affect Technology Adoption,   52     Farm Size,   53     Regional Differences in Land Quality,   55     Human Capital,   56     Producer Age,   56     Tenure Arrangements,   57     Responding to a Broad Variety of Producers, Including Underserved Populations,   57     Technology Transfer,   59     Market-Oriented Technology Transfer,   60     Extension: Public-Sector Technology Transfer,   61     Structural Impacts of Extension,   61     Populations Targeted by Extension,   61

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture     Changing the Focus of Technology Transfer Programs,   63     Partnerships with the Private Sector,   63     Partnerships among Public-Sector Institutions,   64     Changes in Extension Structure,   65     Changes in Extension Function,   65     Changes in Extension Process,   67     Summary,   68 4   STRUCTURAL IMPACTS OF PUBLIC INVESTMENT IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH   69     Public-Sector Responses to Structural Issues,   69     Agricultural Research Investments,   72     Current Research Information System,   72     Public Research Spending, 1986 and 1997,   73     Public Research Spending, 1999,   78     Public Research and Environmentally Sustainable Alternative Agriculture,   79     Structural Implications of Research Funding Mechanisms,   82     Fund for Rural America,   82     Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems,   83     National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program,   83     Summary,   85 5   DRIVERS OF STRUCTURAL CHANGE, CHANGES IN KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION, IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY   86     Drivers of Structural Change,   86     Relative Price of Labor and Capital,   87     Knowledge and Information: A Changing Role,   89     Government Policy and Structure,   90     Changes in Farming,   92     Global Competition,   92     Industrialized Agriculture,   92     Differentiated Products,   93     Precision (Information-Intensive) Production,   93     Ecologic Agriculture,   94     Food Supply Chains,   94     Increasing Risk,   95     Increasing Diversity,   96     Information, Innovation, and the Structure of Agriculture,   97     Structure and Coordination,   97     Intellectual Property Rights and Distributional Consequences,   99     Global R&D and Information,   101

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture     Access to Technology and Disenfranchisement,   101     Research Opportunities,   103     Summary,   103     REFERENCES   105     APPENDIXES         A Committee to Review the Role of Publicly Funded Agricultural Research on the Structure of U.S. Agriculture, Public Workshop, November 19, 1999   119     B Committee to Review the Role of Publicly Funded Agricultural Research on the Structure of U.S. Agriculture, Public Workshop, January 18, 2000   122     C U.S. Public (USDA and State Agricultural Experiment Stations) and Private Agricultural Research Funds by Performing Organization, 1888–1990 (Millions of Dollars)   125     D Economic Research Service Farm Typology   129     ABOUT THE AUTHORS   131     BOARD ON AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES PUBLICATIONS   135

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture Tables, Figures, and Boxes Tables 3–1   Contact with Extension by Herd Size,   62 4–1   Historic Allocation of Public Research Funds by Commodity,   74 4–2   Historic Allocation of Public Research Funds by Goal,   75 4–3   Allocation of Public Agricultural Research Funds, 1999,   77 4–4   Selected Alternative Agricultural Technologies: Current USDA-Funded Projects and Total Patents Granted, 1975–1998, by Type of Organization,   80 Figures 1–1   Number of Farms and Acres Per Farm, 1850–1997,   17 1–2   Smallest Percentage of U.S. Farms Accounting for Half of the Nation’s Agricultural Sales, Selected Years from 1900–1997,   18 1–3   Share of Hog Production by Type of Vertical Coordination, 1970–1999,   20 3–1   Technology Adoption by Dairy Herd Size, 1999,   54 Boxes 1–1   Public Sources of Funding for Agricultural Research,   26

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture 3–1   Responding to Asian Growers in California,   59 3–2   State Extension Partners are Linking to Other Federal Agencies on a Broad Array of Problems,   66 3–3   Stakeholder Participation and SARE,   67 3–4   Fax-Based, Satellite Information Request System: Reaching Small and Part-Time Farmers,   68 4–1   Public-Sector Responses to Structural Issues,   70 4–2   Research Funding and Structural Change,   83