3
Structural Implications of Technology Transfer and Adoption

The influence of an innovation on the structure of agriculture depends not only on the nature of the innovation but also on who will use it. The characteristics of producers or farm operations influence the degree to which innovations are adopted. The first part of this chapter examines how the heterogeneity of producers and farm operations influences adoption of technology and innovation, and one approach for responding to this heterogeneity is offered. The second part of this chapter examines the way in which extension, the public-sector arm for transferring agricultural research results, can influence adoption—and hence structural change—through its public education and information programs. This section presents evidence demonstrating that what is transferred, to whom, and how it is transferred can have significant distributional effects. Finally, this chapter presents evidence that, at the state and the local level, extension is increasingly acknowledging the importance of and attempting to serve a greater diversity of farmers and other end-users. We highlight here structural and functional characteristics, innovative processes, and collaborative models of a more broadly “engaged” extension that should be investigated with regard to their structural implications.

FACTORS THAT AFFECT TECHNOLOGY ADOPTION

The literature on the adoption of new technology in agriculture distinguishes various types of technologies and recognizes that heterogeneity



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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture 3 Structural Implications of Technology Transfer and Adoption The influence of an innovation on the structure of agriculture depends not only on the nature of the innovation but also on who will use it. The characteristics of producers or farm operations influence the degree to which innovations are adopted. The first part of this chapter examines how the heterogeneity of producers and farm operations influences adoption of technology and innovation, and one approach for responding to this heterogeneity is offered. The second part of this chapter examines the way in which extension, the public-sector arm for transferring agricultural research results, can influence adoption—and hence structural change—through its public education and information programs. This section presents evidence demonstrating that what is transferred, to whom, and how it is transferred can have significant distributional effects. Finally, this chapter presents evidence that, at the state and the local level, extension is increasingly acknowledging the importance of and attempting to serve a greater diversity of farmers and other end-users. We highlight here structural and functional characteristics, innovative processes, and collaborative models of a more broadly “engaged” extension that should be investigated with regard to their structural implications. FACTORS THAT AFFECT TECHNOLOGY ADOPTION The literature on the adoption of new technology in agriculture distinguishes various types of technologies and recognizes that heterogeneity

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture among producers and farm operations affects what is adopted, to what extent, and when. This section discusses the barriers to adoption that can affect producers differentially. Farm Size Differences in farm size may influence technology adoption. Figure 3–1, for example, shows the extent to which several technologies were adopted by dairy farms of different sizes. Some innovations, such as management-intensive rotational grazing—intensively grazing a portion of a pasture followed by a rest period to allow the forage to regrow—are used more by smaller farms than by larger farms. Larger farms tended to adopt others, such as total mixed-ration equipment and the use of milking parlors. One characteristic that can affect the degree to which farms of different sizes adopt various new techniques or technologies is divisibility. The literature distinguishes between bulky and divisible innovations. Bulky innovations—such as tractors, combines, and other farm machinery—require a significant initial investment but reduce variable cost. It makes economic sense for a given farm to purchase a bulky technology only if its scale is above a critical level. There is a general assumption—and there is some supporting evidence (Feder et al., 1985; Marra and Carlson, 1990)—that larger farms tend to buy and adopt bulky innovations early. Small farms also might adopt the innovation if they collaborate and purchase equipment through a cooperative, for example, or if they rent equipment from dealers or obtain custom service from contractors. Homesteaders in the early days of U.S. agriculture demonstrated that smaller farms could benefit from machinery rental and custom services (Cochrane, 1979; Gross et al, 1996). Today, there is widespread use of custom services for harvesting and land preparation (for example, leveling fields using lasers). Some of the scale effects of technologies can be offset by institutional arrangements. Nevertheless, the introduction of bulky innovations affects the structure of agriculture significantly. The per-unit cost for the equipment owner is generally lower than for the renter or for the user of custom service. Those who purchase farm machinery also could have an extra incentive to augment the size of their operations to make full use of new equipment. Many agricultural innovations are divisible in that they can be divided into small enough units to, in principle, be used on any size operation: chemical innovations (fertilizers, pesticides); biologic innovations (seeds, biologic pest controls); and managerial innovations (new techniques of pruning, modification of timing for some activities). Divisible innovations are ostensibly more scale neutral than are bulky innovations; indeed, in many cases, per-unit gain from the adoption of innovations, such as seed varieties, does not vary with size. However, adoption of divisible innovations can entail a large initial investment,

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture FIGURE 3–1 Technology adoption by dairy herd size, 1999. (MIRG, management-intensive rotational grazing; TMR, total-mixed ration equipment; rbST, recombinant bovine somatotrophin; Parlor, milking parlor.) SOURCE: Adapted from F.H.Buttel, D.B.Jackson-Smith, and S.Moon, 2000. A profile of Wisconsin’s dairy industry, 1999.

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture putting some farmers at a disadvantage (Feder and O’Mara, 1981). The fixed cost can come in several forms. Adoption of some new technologies requires training, so farmers with small farms and farmers who are less educated could be at a disadvantage. Evaluation of new technologies is time consuming and, again, less-educated farmers or individuals with smaller farms could be at a disadvantage. Training farmers can require additional expense. For example, adoption of modern irrigation technologies, such as drip irrigation, can require fixed cost to redesign and modify farm operations, preventing some farmers from adopting the technology. Just and Zilberman (1988) assessed the distributional effects of introducing new divisible technologies within farms of varying sizes. They separated farmers into four groups with respect to adoption of more profitable but riskier divisible technologies: farmers with the smallest farms who are unable to adopt because they cannot cover the fixed cost of learning and adoption; farmers with small farms who are limited in their capacity to adopt because of credit constraints; owners of mid-sized farms who can fully or almost fully adopt; and owners of large farms who could be partial adopters because of risk considerations. Smaller, nonadopting farms can be worse off in absolute terms if research and development that introduces new technologies leads to reductions in output price. The credit-constrained farmers also can suffer relative to mid-size full adopters. Just and Zilberman’s analysis suggested that those who gain the most from the introduction of divisible technologies are farms large enough to fully adopt the technology but not so large that adoption will be hampered by risk considerations. Regional Differences in Land Quality The literature emphasizes the effect of differences in land quality and weather on technology adoption (Caswell and Zilberman, 1986; Green, 1995). Drip irrigation expanded California grape and avocado production to the foothills of the central and southern coasts and to sandy soils in Kern County. Center-pivot irrigation significantly expanded corn acreage to the sandy soils of western Nebraska and hillsides in Washington (Lichtenberg, 1989). The development of such technologies that can benefit new farm owners in low-quality lands might not benefit owners of higher quality lands who do not need to adopt the technologies. In many cases, large farms on marginal land benefit from land-quality-augmenting technology (e.g., regions in the Central Valley in California), whereas small farms on high quality land, such as avocado growers in San Diego County in California, would not profit from the technology. The farms on higher quality lands are often well-established, traditional family farms that have been able to earn higher yields using less-advanced irrigation technologies. Thus, the research resulting in land-quality-

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture augmenting technology has a significant distributional effect among different farms. Human Capital Human capital is another source of heterogeneity that has a significant influence on adoption in the context of rapid economic and technical change. Schultz (1975) describes two dimensions of human capital—working ability and allocative ability. Allocative ability is education level, intellectual skills, and aptitude for learning and assessing new technologies; working ability is physical capacity for labor. Many technologies are management incentives that draw on a farmer’s allocative abilities. Huffman (1974; 2000) has related farmer schooling to decision making and adoption of technology. Wozniak (1993) has demonstrated that managers with more education are more likely to adopt new inputs and contact the extension service for adoption information than are operators with less education. Integrated pest management (IPM), for example, involves designing context-specific pest treatment as opposed to following a prescribed regimen of chemical pesticide application. Weibers (1992) shows that highly skilled farmers are more likely to adopt IPM, and, even after they seek the advice of consultants, educated farmers are likely to spray less pesticide and use the system more effectively. Producer Age Sunding and Zilberman (2001) reported that the tendency to adopt modern technology declines with age. McWilliams and Zilberman (1996) found that older growers owned fewer computers. Analysis of data from Tulare County, California showed that operator age level, along with education level and size of the farming operation, significantly influenced the probability of computer ownership (Putler and Zilberman, 1988). Green (1995) also found generational differences in modernization of farming practices, such as drip irrigation and automated irrigation, in California. Older farmers operate with shorter time horizons, so investing time and effort in adopting new innovations might not be practical. Younger farmers who operate with longer planning horizons often make a greater effort to acquire the skills or knowledge they need to adopt new technology. Older farmers might have less education or more limited familiarity with computers than do their younger counterparts. Older farmers, who own and operate a large percentage of farms in the U.S., are unable to take advantage of new technologies that are adopted by younger and more active farmers.

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture Tenure Arrangements The literature emphasizes that contractual relationships, particularly tenure agreements (e.g., land ownership, rental), have a profound impact on adoption. Much of the research relating tenure arrangements to adoption has been performed in developing countries (Feder et al., 1985). Tenants with short-term contracts are less likely to adopt technologies requiring investment in land and assets that have a longer payoff. On the other hand, tenants might adopt equipment that is not tied to the land. Although farm management companies might not own land, they might own specialized, labor-saving equipment that will help them manage their operations more efficiently. Feder et al. (1985) surveyed a significant body of domestic and international literature and demonstrated that, under traditional tenure arrangements, when landlords are disengaged from farming activities and the contracts are of short duration, the adoption of modern technology is below average. RESPONDING TO A BROAD VARIETY OF PRODUCERS, INCLUDING UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS The previous section described factors that affect the adoption of innovation. These factors and others that characterize underserved groups, including race or ethnicity, are intangible policy parameters for research decision making. For example, there is such a diversity of small and medium-sized farms that it is difficult to generalize the essence of what they share in terms of research needs. It is much easier for a public research system to respond to the needs of underserved populations if it can target concrete production systems that have promise and can be funded readily. For example, in Wisconsin, management-intensive rotational grazing was used by about 22 percent of dairy farms in 1999, most of them small and medium-sized producers with herds of fewer than 100 cows (Buttel et al., 2000; Ostrom and Jackson-Smith, 2000). Hoop structures also have been used as a low-cost, labor-intensive alternative to confinement housing for smaller hog farms (Brumm et al., 1999). Thus, conducting research on rotational grazing or hoop structures might be useful for operators of small to medium-sized farms. If coupled with rigorous needs-assessment techniques to identify the production systems used by underserved populations, targeting nonmainstream or niche types of production systems can sometimes serve as a proxy for reaching underserved populations. A public policy approach would engage public research organizations and administrators in developing packages of research and development activities that target specific clienteles (including groups defined by scale characteristics and scale-related characteristics, such as race or ethnicity). Within that framework, research administrators would be justified in allocating funds and

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture resources to serve larger operators, provided the overall package of activities is transparent to the public and is balanced in terms of serving both medium-scale (or typical or representative) farmers and smaller, limited-resource or minority farmers. Public-sector outreach activities, including extension, should serve a variety of producers, including limited-resource producers, organic producers, direct marketing producers, transition farmers, full- and part-time farmers, and cooperatives. The public sector should continue special efforts to reach out to underserved or minority communities. Recommendation 5 Public-sector outreach, including extension, should take a proactive role in assessing the research and development and technology transfer needs of a variety of producers, including underserved and minority groups; designing appropriate strategies, such as applied, on-farm research, for serving those constituencies; and providing production assistance and other appropriate services, such as market development education for differentiated product markets, entrepreneurship education, financial strategies, value-added processing, and identification of opportunities for those working part time in agriculture. The committee acknowledges that there are publicly funded research, extension, and education programs and projects for specific underserved populations, among them the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Small Farm Program, the Hispanic-Serving Institutions Educational Grants Program, the Tribal Colleges Research Program, and the 1890 Institutional Capacity Building Program. Minority-serving institutions, including the historically African American 1890s land grant universities1, the 1994 Native American land-grant universities2, and the Hispanic-serving institutions3 have provided important access to underserved groups. Other institutions also are responding in innovative ways (see Box 3–1). However, the committee also submits that the public-sector response to these populations has been less than proactive, initiated 1   The 1890s institutions were created as a result of the Second Morrill Act of 1890, expanding the 1862 system of land grant universities to include African American institutions. Today, there are 17 1890s institutions—including one private institution, Tuskegee University—located primarily in the Southeast. 2   Tribal colleges were created over the last 30 years in response to the inadequate higher education rates of Native Americans and generally serve geographically isolated populations that have no other means of accessing higher education beyond the high school level. In 1994, Congress conferred land-grant status to thirty tribal colleges through the Equity in Educational Land Grant States Act of 1994 (U.S. Congress, 1994). 3   Section 316 of the Higher Education Act Reauthorization (U.S. Congress, 1992) identifies Hispanic-serving institutions as accredited and degree-granting public or private nonprofit institutions of higher education, with at least 25 percent or more total undergraduate Hispanic full-time equivalent student enrollment.

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture BOX 3–1 Responding to Asian Growers in California More than 700 farms in Fresno County, California, are operated by immigrant Asians, mainly Hmong, Mien, and Laotian farmers who arrived in the 1980s and 1990s as political refugees of the Vietnam War. Most of their farms are 10–15 acres, with intensive year-round farming and multiple specialty crops, including lemongrass, luffa, Chinese long beans, sugar peas, moqua, opo, bitter melon, and bok choy. The University of California Cooperative Extension has developed vegetable production techniques that help those and other small-scale farmers to raise crops more efficiently and profitably. These techniques include the use of plastic mulches to control weeds, drip irrigation, and plastic row covers. In 1998, extension personnel also piloted a biweekly call-in program on a local Hmong radio station on topics relevant for local farmers, many of whom are not fluent in English. Calls from Hmong farmers increased 300% during the first 6 months of the show and 800% in the last 6 months of the show (Ilic, 1992; Kan-Rice, 1999; USDA, 1999c). only in response to considerable public pressure and to such litigation as the 1997 class-action lawsuit filed against USDA by African American farmers (Pigford v. Glickman, 1997). The committee encourages an even greater public-sector effort to engage these populations. Recommendation 6 The public sector, at both the federal and the state level, should expand its programming focus with minority-serving institutions, which have unique access to underserved groups. More effective communication with these groups would help research institutions move toward conducting research and extension that are relevant to their circumstances. TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER The previous section addressed heterogeneous producer characteristics that affect adoption of technology, and it proposed a public policy approach for responding to this heterogeneity. We now turn to a discussion of private- and public-sector technology transfer systems and the influence of public-sector technology transfer on the structure of agriculture. Technology transfer, defined in the broad sense, involves conveying information to the user and has traditionally been in the purview of Cooperative Extension and other areas within the public-sector system. Embedded within that definition, as a result of growth of private sector and patent protection legislation (U.S. Congress, 1980), is the protection of intellectual property. Strengthening of intellectual property rights over the past 20 years has had important effects on the technology transfer

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture area and, consequently, important distributional consequences. This area is discussed further in Chapter 5. Market-Oriented Technology Transfer The private sector is increasingly important relative to the public sector in the delivery of agricultural technology. According to a survey conducted in 2001, more than 25 percent of agribusiness companies have total marketing budgets (including direct marketing, sales literature, farm shows, public relations, advertising, and internet marketing) exceeding $1 million dollars, and expenditures in agribusiness marketing budgets are increasing over 1998 levels (Agri-Marketing Association, 2001). In contrast, real aggregate federal expenditures for public extension have declined over time, from $332 million in 1991 to $280 million in 2000 (CSREES, Office of Extramural Programs). Other surveys indicate that the private sector (e.g., input suppliers) is a significant source of technologic information. For example, in 1998, 38 percent of farmers using precision agriculture relied on input suppliers for advice compared to 17 percent of farmers who used the extension service as a source of information about the technology (Daberkow and McBride, 2001). In the 1998 Farm and Ranch Survey, 35 percent of farms relied on irrigation equipment dealers for information on water conservation and irrigation cost reduction compared to 41 percent who relied on extension agents or university specialists (USDA, 1999c). The 1991–1993 Area Studies survey data indicate that fertilizer company recommendations exceeded the extension service as a source of information on nitrogen fertilizer application decisions. The survey also shows that a greater percentage of pest management advice was provided by chemical dealers than by local extension for corn, cotton, potatoes, soybeans, and wheat (Caswell et al., 2001). Survey data from the 1993–1995 Chemical User Survey indicated that chemical dealers were also the most-used source of pest management information for a variety of fruit crops (USDA, 2000a). The private sector contributes to the process of transforming an invention from discovery to application by investing additional resources for validation, manufacture, and distribution. In some cases, private sector groups provide additional technology support outreach in addition to or in concert with the public sector. New institutional and financing arrangements between public and private sectors for technology transfer are discussed later in this chapter. Private-sector vendors logically seek to work with farm operators who can contribute the most to their profits, and so they are more likely to seek out larger farm operations and develop products that make it easier to manage more land or animals with less labor.

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture Extension: Public-Sector Technology Transfer The Cooperative Extension Service was established under the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 (U.S. Congress, 1914). Extension receives public support through CSREES and from state and local governments. A major function of the extension service has been to translate information from research for farmers and other citizens through adult education. State extension organizations provide administrative support and subject matter specialists. A local extension agent system with county offices throughout the nation was developed to produce and distribute information on applied problems. The Cooperative Extension Service is accountable to county governments, state governments, land grant universities, and the federal government through CSREES and by myriad grants awarded through other private, state, and federal entities. STRUCTURAL IMPACTS OF EXTENSION Cooperative Extension is an important link between research and the structure of agriculture. Huffman and Miranowski (1981) demonstrated that extension can be a substitute for formal education and human capital in adopting technology. Thus, extension can ensure that the structural implications of new technologies are considered. Extension can affect agricultural structure through what is communicated (or what is not communicated), to whom, and how that information is communicated. Populations Targeted by Extension For several decades there has been a substantial literature on the relationship between farm size (and other indicators of farmers’ socioeconomic status) and contact with Cooperative Extension and other “change agents.” The early literature is summarized in Everett M.Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations (1995). More recently, Huffman and Evenson (2001) showed that public R&D and education (including extension) have been at least as important as private R&D and market forces for changing livestock specialization, farm size, and farmers’ off-farm work participation from 1953–1982 (discussed in Chapter 2). A survey relating herd size and five dimensions of contact with extension among Wisconsin dairy farmers reported that farmer use of extension services was highly variable and appeared to be correlated with the size of the farm (Ostrom et al, 2000).

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture TABLE 3–1 Contact with Extension by Herd Size Type of Contact During Past Year* Herd Size   1–49 Cows 40–99 Cows 100–199 Cows >200 Cows Read an extension publication or article 79 90 90 90 Visited county extension office 43 59 61 66 Called or spoke with extension agent 37 54 71 69 Attended extension meeting or workshop 22 41 50 48 Extension agent visited farm 14 22 37 62 *Percentage of operators within herd size category reporting any contact during the past year. SOURCE: Adapted from M.Ostrom, D.Jackson-Smith, and S.Moon, 2000. Wisconsin dairy farmer views on university research and extension programs. Wisconsin Farm Research Summary. Summaries of Research from the Program on Agricultural Technology Studies 2 (January):1–6. As shown in Table 3–1, the disparity in extension contact by herd size is smallest for reading extension publications or articles but is very large in the case of the extension agent visiting the operator’s farm4. The study also reported that, as herd sizes increased, farm operators were more likely to report that extension programs had been beneficial to their farm business. A disproportionately large share of the dairy farmers who were “unsure” whether they had benefited from extension came from farms with smaller herds. Using data from a 1989 survey of North Carolina farmers, Flora et al. (1993) found that several factors were associated with frequency of contact with extension agents and extension information: race (whites much more than African Americans or Native Americans), gender (men much more than women), size (large much more than small, measured either by acres or by gross sales), and type of agriculture (conventional more than alternative). Although some extension programs, such as Missouri’s Small Farm Family Program, have worked with limited-resource and small farmers, extension’s audience is composed mostly of larger-than-average farm operators. 4   Note that for nearly two decades, large farmers have tended to rely more heavily on private information sources such as crop consultants and agribusiness field or sales representatives (for a recent overview see Wolf, 1998). Extremely large operations such as industrial-scale dairy farms and large cattle feedlots often hire their own technical staff (e.g., agronomists and veterinarians). However, the tendency for large farmers to pursue information sources other than the traditional county agent system does not generally reflect a decreased tendency for large farms to contact extension, much less a trend toward relegation of Cooperative Extension programs to smaller producers, In recent years, in fact, very large operators often contact land grant extension specialists directly as part of the diversification and intensification of their search for the latest information on production practices.

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture Some groups traditionally have received little support from extension. African American and Native American farmers have traditionally not fully accessed public-sector support in the area of technology transfer (USDA, 1997a; 1998b). When minority farmers are approached, the method may not be culturally or socioeconomically appropriate. CHANGING THE FOCUS OF TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER PROGRAMS The next section illustrates that the public-sector technology transfer system is changing through the development of partnerships with the private sector and through increasing engagement among public-sector institutions. Partnerships with the Private Sector Public-sector technology transfer is increasingly resulting from novel partnership arrangements with the private sector. Public-sector involvement has the potential to ensure that the results of research are publicly accessible. Mechanisms of technology communication are improving because of public sector networking with private (e.g., National Pork Board) and other public institutions. Technology transfer arrangements may include the following: Universities invest in development and commercialization. Some universities invest selectively in product development through partnerships with industry, specialists, and farm advisors. These team efforts can be partially financed through private-sector contracts or contributions. University teams have been involved in seed development and commercialization for wheat, cotton, and other agricultural crops. University task forces also have developed IPM and waste disposal strategies. Individuals who made discoveries while working in the public sector engage in private development of a product. University or USDA researchers sometimes start private businesses based on work conducted in the public sector. In other cases, public-sector employees serve as consultants to private enterprises. Many entrepreneurs commercialize the knowledge and findings they obtain while working toward graduate degrees. Some consulting companies established by university researchers and graduates offer managerial or agronomic expertise. In other cases, for example in the biologic control business, enterprises provide expertise and a product (beneficial insects). Private-sector entrepreneurs and companies invest in development and commercialization of university findings. The classical processes of

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture technology transfer are still common. Commercial entities develop technology innovations reported by government-supported researchers in the scientific literature, frequently enlisting public-sector researchers as consultants. Private companies finance university research in exchange for the right to develop and commercialize the resulting innovation. For example, Iowa State University’s Pig Genome Mapping program is facilitated by private industry through provision of financial and genetic resources. Private entities buy the rights to commercialize university patents or varieties. In recent years, the use of formal processes of agricultural technology transfer has increased. For example, the University of California at Davis received more than a million dollars one year for the right to use its strawberry varieties. The chemical industry bought the patent rights for dibromochloropropane (DBCP) from the University of Hawaii to develop nematode control strategies. Cooperative Extension forms partnerships with the private sector, particularly for the production of public goods. For example, the Farm Bureau, Trees Forever, chemical companies, and Extension are collaborating to install riparian buffers in Iowa. Nonpublic sources of extension funding, including grants and contracts, often are used in technology transfer. The structural implications of public-private sector partnerships are an important issue needing further analysis but are beyond the charge of this committee. Partnerships Among Public-Sector Institutions A recent report by the Kellogg Commission, Returning to Our Roots: The Engaged Institution (1999), endorses the concept of institutional engagement. The report’s recommendations encourage institutions to go beyond conventional one-way outreach and service and to become “more sympathetically and productively involved with their communities” with a “commitment to sharing and reciprocity”. As extension considers this model, its technology transfer activities should be more effective in reaching a more diverse audience, and that could have implications for the structure of agriculture. Consistent with the model of engagement, the structure, function, and processes of extension are changing and may provide access to a wider set of expertise within the university community, engage farmers and others in the research process, and facilitate improved accessibility of options.

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture Changes in Extension Structure Extension is increasingly positioned at a higher administrative level than the college of agriculture within many universities. In 1995, extension played a university-wide role outside colleges of agriculture in 44 percent of 186 land grant universities surveyed (Warner et al., 1996). A more recent survey found the same distribution for land grant universities (Luft, 2000). Examples of university-wide positioning can be found at the University of Wisconsin, Oregon State University, and Iowa State University. From this administrative vantage point, extension can access a wider range of university resources and expertise. An institution-wide arrangement has fostered new interdisciplinary research and more holistic outreach that broaden the range of users, expand the utility of research, and change the research agenda. Changes in Extension Function Extension is increasingly responding to problems that go beyond its traditional focus on agricultural production and farm programs. The private sector has focused on transferring technologies from which value can be captured in the production or sale of seeds, machinery, agrochemicals, and plant and animal nutrients. Extension consistently engages in higher risk endeavors, particularly those that involve alternatives or farm groups considered less profitable for the for-profit sector, such as the production of public goods, from which revenue cannot be captured. Surveys in Missouri and focus groups in Minnesota have demonstrated the broad set of expectations for extension and needs identified by local stakeholders (Warner et al., 1996). CSREES has operated to connect other federal agencies with its state extension partners (Box 3–2). A more broadly defined extension service in terms of constituencies and stakeholders can ensure that structural dimensions of research results and technologies are considered. Recommendation 7 Extension should continue to reach out to other programs within universities, to draw wider networks of human resources, and to work with broader arrays of partners in the federal, private, nonprofit, and client sectors. CSREES should continue to facilitate more interdisciplinary and interagency activities that involve its state extension partners. CSREES should evaluate the potential and effectiveness of these extension approaches to serve diverse constituents.

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture BOX 3–2 State Extension Partners are Linking to Other Federal Agencies on a Broad Array of Problems Children, Youth, and Families at Risk Program and the U.S. Military USDA’s Children, Youth, and Families at Risk Program, established through a congressional appropriation in 1991, has forged links between Cooperative Extension and U.S. Military programs for children and families. The U.S. Army approached CSREES in 1995 for help in developing more comprehensive youth development programs on army installations. In 2001, 24 extension professionals on temporary assignment from their universities provided technical assistance in developing youth programs, including 4-H, for 130 installations. CSREES also has brokered a linkage between the U.S. Air Force and land grant universities to conduct research on preventing family violence. Cooperative Extension and U.S. Air Force bases in nine states are working together to identify critical needs of and build programs to serve at-risk children. In one state, this collaboration has developed a strong recreational component to help youth attain life skills. In another state, at-risk youth are using theater as a way to cope with issues of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and violence. Geospatial Technology Program and NASA CSREES and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration signed a memorandum of understanding in 1998 to initiate three pilot studies in the application of geospatial and remote-sensing technologies to agriculture and natural-resource management. Permanent extension positions have been established and cofunded in three states. Partner institutions have conducted needs assessments to investigate the potential of different constituencies (e.g., ranchers and farmers) for adopting geospatial technologies. Tools have been developed to improve spatial literacy and technology access. Partner institutions have invested in progressive uses for the technology, such as economic development and conflict resolution. For example, disenfranchised, at-risk youth from minority communities in one state learned how to use Global Positioning System receivers and Arc View to collect data and construct maps describing community resources. The project has promoted dialogue among community leaders and at-risk youth. USDA and NASA have collaborated through a $7.5 million interagency program in the FY 2001 funding cycle of the Initiative for Future Agricultural and Food Systems program. NEMO and NOAA Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) is an educational program for local officials that addresses the relationship of land use to natural-resources protection, with an emphasis on water quality. The program, developed at the University of Connecticut, has engaged three collaborative partners. Cooperative Extension, the Connecticut Department of Natural Resources Management, and Engineering, and the Connecticut Sea Grant Program, with support from a variety of state and federal agencies, including the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, CSREES, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Sea Grant College Program. NEMO has worked with almost two-thirds of the 169 municipalities in Connecticut, and a national NEMO Network of projects based on the Connecticut model has projects in 19 states. NEMO educational programs have catalyzed a variety of local actions to protect water resources, including changes to zoning and subdivision regulations, open-space planning and acquisition, and implementation of vegetative best management practices like grassed swales and pervious alternatives to pavement.

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture Changes in Extension Process Stakeholder participation is growing in extension, and extension workers are changing to be more receptive to farmers’ perspectives. The definition of “stakeholder” is broadening, too, although land grant universities are still somewhat hesitant to broaden the range of stakeholders because of the perceived increased transaction costs and the fear of alienating some client groups (Extension Committee on Organization and Policy, 1996). Whereas the “demonstration plot” model of Extension generally engaged farmers whose larger operations were considered exemplary, a participatory model is likely to involve a broader variety of farmer circumstances along the research-extension continuum. In California, for example, extension workers are facilitating highly applied, on-farm research. The SARE program (see Box 3–3) demonstrates that extension processes are increasingly engaging stakeholder participation. BOX 3–3 Stakeholder Participation and SARE The regionally managed Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program demonstrates how stakeholder participation can be integrated into research and extension. Stakeholder participation is engaged at three levels: priority setting, project review, and project implementation. Stakeholder participation in administration makes SARE unique among federal granting programs. A broad group, including producers, farm consultants, university researchers and administrators, state and federal government agency staff, and representatives from nonprofit organizations, serves on the regional administrative councils that provide overall leadership for the program; establish program priorities, goals, and objectives; and select projects for funding. Stakeholders serve on the technical boards convened by each regional administrative council to review the technical quality and relevance of SARE proposals. For example, the 2000 North Central SARE technical committee included 10 reviewers from the private sector (mostly producers) and 10 reviewers from the public sector—researchers and extension personnel from universities, ARS, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USDA, 2000e). At the project level, SARE program has integrated participatory elements in research and extension. Since 1992, SARE has offered a small-grants program for farmers and ranchers to run their own on-site research experiments. SARE also offers, through its Professional Development Program (PDP), learning opportunities for agricultural extension and other field agency personnel. PDP activities in the Northeastern Region have helped extension and other agency personnel identify better ways to work with producers as colearners and facilitators (USDA, 1998d).

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Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of U.S. Agriculture BOX 3–4 Fax-Based, Satellite Information Request System: Reaching Small and Part-Time Farmers An initial grant from the USDA Small Farms Program tested the usefulness of a faxbased, satellite information-request system to address the changing circumstances of small and part-time farmers in North Carolina. The project was tested in three North Carolina counties where at least one agribusiness could be enlisted to house a fax information request center inside its business location. The fax machines were used to request information from Cooperative Extension. In one county, as many as 200 people visited each week to obtain “hot topic” information about plant disease control and other issues (Richardson et al., 1998). Extension is increasingly supporting farmer-to-farmer networking, although that has long been the basis of technology transfer, for example, through field days and demonstration plots. Examples include extension’s support of the group Practical Farmers of Iowa and work with farm stewardship groups in Minnesota and farmer marketing groups in Illinois. Alternative forms of outreach and engagement, including use of the Internet, also are resulting in greater stakeholder participation (See Box 3–4). SUMMARY The literature on adoption suggests that various producers and farm operations adopt innovations differently. Different degrees of adoption can be signaled by characteristics of producers or farm operations, such as farm size, regional differences in land quality, availability of human capital, producer age, and tenure arrangements. Some research innovations are more likely to be adopted by specific groups of producers, with structural implications. An approach to setting priorities for research, based on needs assessment of a variety of users, is proposed as an avenue for targeting heterogeneous producers and farm operations. This chapter discussed the structural impacts of extension through the disproportionate support for specific farmer groups. The chapter also contrasted the structural dimensions of the conventional “technology transfer” model of extension with new models characteristic of more engaged institutions. These new models are characterized by increasing collaboration with the private sector, changes in extension’s position within universities, a broadening of the extension mandate through linkages with other federal agencies, and greater stakeholder participation in setting priorities for research and extension activities. Research is needed to analyze the structural effects of these collaborative approaches.