Extension, and Education Reform Act (AREERA) of 1998 (U.S. Congress, 1998) highlight the importance of these issues. AREERA authorizes coordinated programs to improve the viability of small and medium-sized operations and to support minority-serving institutions. FAIR established a competitive-education-grants program for Hispanic-serving institutions, and it mandated representation by minority-serving institutions on the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board.

Public-sector research that responds to structural issues can be broadly categorized into three major areas (Box 4–1): research to monitor and analyze structural variables; research that serves needs of diverse constituencies; and research to further explain other drivers of structural change, including the influence of alternative policy instruments on structural change (Chapter 5). Box 4–1 lists general examples of public research efforts to address those issues.

BOX 4–1 Public-Sector Responses to Structural Issues

Research Monitoring Structural Change

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) has developed a significant body of research on structural trends, including a new farm classification system that divides U.S. farms into mutually exclusive and more homogeneous groups. Much of this is included in a Farm Structure Briefing Room on the ERS web site, http://www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/Farm/Structure (Hoppe et al., 2000; Appendix D).

  • As part of the agricultural census, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) collects data on farm size, farm number, operator characteristics, and farm ownership.

Responding to Diverse Needs

  • In 1999, USDA awarded $9.6 million in grants for research, training, and education to implement Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and other food safety advancements. Of that, $1.35 million was targeted specifically to assist small meat-processing plants and small farmers (USDA, 1999d).

  • USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has partnered with the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program to provide producer-led alternative marketing research and demonstration grants.

  • The AMS Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) provides matching funds to state Departments of Agriculture and other state agencies to conduct marketing studies or assist in developing innovative approaches to the

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