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APPENDIX G REE Dissemination And Outreach Efforts The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Research, Education, and Eco- nomics (REE) mission area uses multiple outlets for disseminating news, general information, services, and products, such as Web sites, databases, newsletters, and reports. An integral part of this diffusion has been the mission area's attempts to reach out to its clients and partners. Cooperative Extension the primary vehicle for technology transfer to users is a critical element of the dissemina- tion process. Each REE agency offers electronic databases and publications for access by the general public, and all USDA mission areas, including REE, are listed on the USDA "Services and Programs" Web page with links to each agency (USDA, 2002k). AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE Among the publications of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), its monthly magazine, Agricultural Research, is available for viewing on the ARS Web site and in paper form. Agricultural Research details USDA's scientific research and other newsworthy scientific and agricultural information. It is avail- able on ARS's "News and Information" Web page at no charge, but a fee is required for subscription to the paper form. Through the Web site, visitors have full-text access to Agricultural Research dating back to May 1996 and index-only access as far back as September 1978 (USDA, 2002a). In addition to Agricultural Research, the "News and Information" page pro- vides a compilation of updated and archived agricultural news. The committee notes that some ARS research is not always communicated to the public via offi- cial agency press releases (see Box Gab. The "News and Information" page also 204
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APPENDIX G 205 is linked to Healthy Animals (an online ARS newsletter addressing affairs relevant to animal health research), the ARS Quarterly Report of various research projects, Food and Nutrition Research Briefs, and the Methyl Bromide Alternatives News- letter. Other ARS publications can be accessed from the site, some free and some requiring a fee. The "News and Information" page also links users to "Sci4Kids," a Web site for youth that details the type of work done at ARS and includes information and resources for teachers. "Sci4Kids" is available in Spanish. Other ARS locations also have Web sites providing information useful for teachers and students (see Box G-2~. From the ARS "Offices and Programs" page, a link is provided to its "Diversity Outreach" site, which details ARS programs and out- reach efforts concerning equal opportunity and civil rights (USDA, 2002a). A1- though other ARS locations and programs can be located through its Web site, not all of them can be found or accessed easily.
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206 APPENDIX G In 1962, the National Agricultural Library (NAL) was designated a national institution, although that was not mandated by law until 1990 (US Congress, 1990~. Its origins can be traced to 1862, when it was established as the depart- mental library for USDA. Since then, NAL has fallen under the auspices of ARS, and it has been charged with serving as both a national and a departmental library. Designed to provide agricultural information to the general public, researchers, academicians, and decision-makers, it is among the world's largest agricultural libraries. NAL also is responsible for coordinating the libraries at USDA field locations and the state land-grant libraries. Its mission includes providing a center for agricultural data at the international level (USDA, 2002h). A number of electronic resources and information sources are provided through the NAL Web site. Four newsletters are sponsored by the library: Agri- cultural Libraries Information Notes (ALINy, Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC), Probe (for USDA's Plant Genome Program), and Vignettes (published by the NAL Agricultural Trade and Marketing Information Center). The NAL Web site is linked to other USDA Web pages designed for students, and links are provided to a number of previous annual reports. The NAL Web site contains links to agricultural information resources and to resources not overseen directly by the library. The library also maintains links to its services, such as document delivery and the interlibrary-loan process (USDA, 2002h).
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APPENDIX G 207 A substantial portion of the NAL mission requires the use of online data- bases to provide extensive agricultural information. From the NAL Web site, at least 17 databases can be accessed, not all of which are maintained by the library. Two of the databases Agricultural Online Access (AGRICOLA) and Agri- cultural Network Information Center (AgNIC) merit brief descriptions. AGRICOLA is a database of agricultural literature and reports in bibliographic form. A broad array of agricultural records addressing such topics as the plant, animal, and soil sciences is available. Books and journal articles can be searched online through this database, but full-text references are not available directly; several of the database entries contain Web links to their full-text versions. The entries in AGRICOLA are not necessarily limited to a particular year, and NAL notes that it includes records of materials dating back several centuries. In 1998, AGRICOLA was made available online to the general public at no charge (USDA, 2002h). AgNIC is an online resource that provides access to agricultural infor- mation on a number of subjects, including animal and veterinary sciences, eco- nomics, environmental sciences, forestry, and government regulations. Users can pick from general categories, which are linked to related categories or subcat- egories; or categories can be searched by using keywords, and an agricultural thesaurus is available for searching (USDA, 2002h). AgNIC represents a volun- teer-based partnership between NAL, a number of land-grant universities, and several institutions that are agriculture-related. Other government units and citi- zen groups also participate, and the total number of partners is about 40. Those participating agree to provide focused segments of agricultural information for the database. Moreover, various AgNIC projects are available for viewing at its Web site. AgNIC's institutional structure includes an executive board with a secretariat and a framework of rules and procedures (USDA, 2002h). In 2001, a panel of experts appointed by USDA reviewed the quality and effectiveness of NAL in relation to its stated mission. The central finding of the review was that NAL' s present degree of support renders it unable to maintain its responsibility as a national library effectively while serving as USDA's depart- mental library. Although surveys demonstrated a general sense of approval of the NAL on the part of USDA staff, the panel found deficiencies in light of site examinations, progress reports on NAL, and surveys of other users. Ultimately, the panel determined that NAL has not yet succeeded in fulfilling its dual role (Vanderhoef et al., 2001~. The panel noted that, in light of NAL's current short- comings, it will be important to further its development as an institution. Much of the panel's review focused on the need to expand and enhance the library's electronic databases and resources, including AGRICOLA and AgNIC. For ex- ample, the review suggested that AGRICOLA would operate better if it were given the functionality and breadth of databases of the National Library of Medi- cine. In addition to making budgetary recommendations, the panel called for an increase in NAL staff and a realignment in which the library would be placed directly under the auspices of the secretary or deputy secretary of agriculture. In
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208 APPENDIX G sum, the review panel called for an increase in general support with the objective of promoting the library's dual role and the fulfillment of its responsibility to all users (Vanderhoef et al., 2001~. ECONOMIC RESEARCH SERVICE The Economic Research Service (ERS) relies on electronic media and print publications to disseminate its work and information. One of its chief publica- tions, Agricultural Outlook, is published 10 times per year and is available on- line for viewing at no charge, and on paper with a subscription fee. Agricultural Outlook is USDA' s primary resource for agricultural and food-price forecasts. It typically includes data addressing agricultural commodities, general information on the US economy, and other economic indicators. The central focus of Agricul- tural Outlook is short-term forecasts of the economy and agriculture, but long- term examinations also are provided. Through the ERS Web site, past issues of Agricultural Outlook can be accessed back to 1995, and an index of publications over the last 5 years is available (USDA, 2002f). In addition to Agricultural Outlook, ERS offers Food Consumption, Prices, and Expenditures, 197~97, a statistical bulletin providing historical data on pat- terns in food consumption and spending. Available for viewing online at no charge, this publication also can be purchased in print. Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators also can be found at the ERS Web site. This report addresses the state of natural resources used in the agricultural economy, and it depicts various trends concerning their use. The first edition appeared in 1994. Online editions are free, but there is a fee for the print form (USDA, 2002f). Other ERS products include the magazines Food Review and Rural America. Food Review, published three times per year, studies patterns in food assistance, consumption, and safety; Rural America appears four times per year and addresses issues related to demographic change and the use of research as applied to rural banking. Outlook reports provide current and prospective information on com- modity supply, demand, and price conditions, and annual yearbooks provide historical data series on acreage, yield, supply, domestic use, foreign trade, and price and topical articles pertinent to understanding the US and global markets. Publications in professional journals also are available online (USDA, 2002f). ERS offers a number of data products, all of which can be accessed on-line, including state fact sheets, agricultural baseline projections, and data on farm income, farm financial management, production, supply, and distribution, and farm employment (USDA, 2002e). "Briefing rooms" also are available for in- depth discussion of selected issues and provide a synthesis of ERS research on specific topics, questions and answers, recommended readings, and data products.
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APPENDIX G 209 NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS SERVICE The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) USDA's principal supplier of agricultural statistics provides links to its publications, which gener- ally are available through its Web site at no cost or for purchase on paper. Access is provided to reports on commodities, state-level statistical information, and crop weather; relevant graphic information; a calendar of reports; and NASS's monthly newsletter, which contains statistical highlights. Another publication, Trends in Agriculture, draws on statistical information to capture the nature of changes and trends in US agriculture. With respect to agricultural graphics, users can access displays of crop and livestock data. From the NASS website, state agricultural statistics services can be located. NASS also offers a number of files depicting historical agricultural data, and special requests for data can be made, subject to a fee. The NASS Web site can be searched by keyword and by criteria, such as year or crop name (USDA, 2002i). From the NASS Web site, users can access a page detailing the R&D activities of the agency. It includes links to agricultural data and detailed maps and images pertaining to US agriculture. For example, users can enter queries that will generate downloadable maps, which can be useful for projects based on geographic information systems. The NASS Web site also contains pages that provide tables of information on such topics as land use. In addition to its data tables and maps, NASS maintains an on-line database of "published estimates" that can be accessed by the general public. The database spans national, state, and county data on crops and livestock and provides the number of farms by state. Although the database provides a rather extensive body of information, NASS acknowledges that it remains under construction (USDA, 2002i). Other sources of information from NASS include its "News and Coming Events" Web page and "NASS Kids." "News and Coming Events" provides statistical information relevant to agriculture in the form of brief mass-media statements. "NASS Kids" is an online educational resource for youths, which seeks to inform them about the type of work that NASS does, especially in the context of statistics. It offers learning tools in the form of games, a glossary, and elementary historical information about the agency. "NASS Kids" also provides a page of information useful for teachers and lesson planning. Like ARS's "Sci4Kids," "NASS Kids" is available in Spanish, although the Spanish version does not contain the full extent of information found in the English version (USDA, 2002i). The 1997 Census of Agriculture was the first to be conducted under the auspices of NASS. From the NASS Web site, the census can be accessed com- prehensively. Various rankings, highlights, and profiles are linked from the Web page of the census. The data provided online span the national, state, and county levels, and data on US territories, such as Guam and Puerto Rico, can be accessed.
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210 APPENDIX G "Special studies" also are provided, addressing, for example, the 1998 Census of Aquaculture and the 1998 Census of Horticulture (USDA, 2002i). COOPERATIVE STATE RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND EXTENSION SERVICE Although many of the dissemination and outreach efforts of the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) are similar to those of the other three REE agencies, this agency is also USDA's primary technology- transfer arm. Extension The Cooperative Extension System supported by CSREES, state, and local governments functions primarily to disseminate research results to farmers and other citizens. The Extension network serves clients in 3,150 counties in the United States. According to CSREES's Office of Extramural Programs, real aggregate federal funding for public extension has declined, from $332 million in 1991 to $280 million in 2000. Cooperative Extension programs include the well-established 4-H and Youth Development Program, a nonformal education program and organization for youth. The 4-H program is maintained under the auspices of CSREES, and its mission focuses on expanding opportunities for and helping to develop the abilities of culturally diverse children and adults through the building of support- ive environments (USDA, 2002g). The 4-H Web site allows users to access information concerning 4-H programs and partners, as well as how to join. Among the other features of the 4-H Web site are community-related program information and a history of the 4-H program (USDA, 2002g). Various reports have analyzed the land-grant universities and the extension system according to their outreach ability, as well as how these institutions have tried to bolster outreach and increase dissemination. A 1996 National Research Council report provides several recommendations for colleges of agriculture within land-grant universities with respect to extension (NRC, 1996), including a need for greater systematization of data on the results of extension programs, expanding linkages to other federal agencies, and strengthening the research underpinnings of extension, including in nonfarm programs. A 1999 report, Returning to Our Roots: The Engaged Institution, calls for a stronger sense of "engagement" between land-grant and state universities and the communities that they serve (Kellogg Commission, 1999~. The concept of engagement emphasizes the need to abandon one-way contact between institu- tions and communities in favor of greater collaboration and interaction. In addi- tion to strengthening technology transfer to users, engaged institutions are expected to expand opportunities for students to contribute to the extension
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APPENDIX G 211 system. The 1999 report provides a set of guidelines by which engagement can be measured, including the ability of institutions to respond to those whom they serve, the level of deference given to those who work with or are served by such institutions, the need for institutions to remain neutral in their treatment of poten- tially controversial topics, the degree to which institutions are accessible, the extent to which institutions' purposes are integrated with their duties as facilitators of student training, how well the different actors within institutions are coordi- nated, and the extent to which institutions are connected with partners that provide vital resources for their missions (Kellogg Commission, 1999~. The land-grant university system is expected to serve as a mechanism for "engagement" with those assisted by extension. In response to the Kellogg Commission's report (1999), the Extension Com- mittee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) formulated a vision of engagement that considers the impact of changing demographics, advances in technology, and social changes that confront contemporary America (ECOP, 2002~. They noted that for extension to meet the new challenges of engagement, its workforce must be empowered to alter programs and their delivery. Having more than 3,000 facilities nationwide, extension has tremendous connectivity and has built its repu- tation by responding to the grass-roots needs of communities. Those efforts will be most effective if extension and its university partners forge effective alliances with public and private agencies and organizations that provide health and human services, commercial or civic evaluation, and private-sector vendors of technical information (ECOP, 2002~. The structure, function, and processes of extension have been changing. Extension is increasingly playing a universitywide role outside colleges of agri- culture in many universities an arrangement that has provided access to a broader array of university resources and expertise and has fostered more multidisciplinary research. Extension is increasingly engaging stakeholders and other users and is responding to more broadly defined problems that go beyond its traditional focus on agricultural production (NRC, 2002~. Other CSREES Dissemination and Outreach Efforts Like the other REE agencies, CSREES provides many of its resources on- line through its Web site. From its "News and Information" page, users can access current information about CSREES, its mass-media releases, and other relevant news. CSREES also offers a newsletter that is archived back to 2000. Another online resource, "Partners on the Web." is a video magazine detailing national research, education, and extension programs in the United States. Using video streaming technology, visitors can access three episodes, the most recent of which dates back to Spring 2000. From the "News and Information" page, users also can obtain application information and other details about the CSREES Fellows Program (USDA, 2002d).
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212 APPENDIX G The "News and Information" page contains a link to "Community Supported Agriculture" (CSA), which is a program maintained by CSREES and NAL. CSA represents an effort to link relevant users with databases on sustainable agricul- ture and with communities of users engaged in cooperative economic associa- tions. In addition to CSA, visitors can use the "News and Information" page to browse information about the CSREES Competitive Grants Program, current requests for proposals, and a calendar of previous and upcoming CSREES events (USDA, 2002d). The CSREES Web page home provides a link to "Agriculture in the Class- room," a program that helps to develop students' understanding of the relation- ships among agriculture, the economy, and society. Representatives of farming associations, government, agribusiness, and higher education participate at the state level to implement this program. USDA works to coordinate and facilitate "Agriculture in the Classroom" (USDA, 2002b). The Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) is the communication and out- reach arm of USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, a competitive-grants program that supports regional sustainable agri- culture research and education. SAN is a cooperative effort among academe, government, and other organizations interested in the sharing of information relevant to sustainable agriculture. In 1991, SAN launched an e-mail discussion forum intended to provide responses to questions concerning sustainable agricul- ture (Sustainable Agriculture Network, 2002~. Currently, 900 users subscribe to the forum. SAN also provides information in a variety of formats, such as elec- tronic diskettes and printed materials. The Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges published a report, A Science Roadmap for Agriculture, in 2001. The report considers the progress that could be made if new enterprises allowed the US agricultural system to capitalize on innovations arising from basic science, to respond to the inter- nationalization of markets, to improve the status of rural and urban communities, and to engage in environmental protection. The report was written around a number of "challenges" by which its findings are conveyed (ESCOP, 2001~. CSREES Databases Current Research Information System The Current Research Information System (CRIS) is USDA's documenta- tion and reporting system for current agricultural, food and nutrition, and forestry research. It contains over 30,000 descriptions of current, publicly supported research projects of the USDA agencies, the state agricultural experiment stations (SAESs), the state land-grant universities, state schools of forestry, cooperating schools of veterinary medicine, and USDA grant recipients. The CRIS database
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APPENDIX G 213 is overseen by the Information Systems and Technology Management (ISTM) unit of CSREES. The database includes information on the type of activity being performed, the people performing it, the location of the activity, progress made, anticipated impacts, and publications that have resulted from it. The public can access CRIS online free of charge, but other products and services, such as infor- mation requests that can be made to agency staff, are not available to all people and institutions (USDA, 2002c). Agricultural Databases for Decision Support (ADDS) Program An information program that can be reached through the CSREES Web pages is the Agricultural Database for Decision Support (ADDS) Program, in which CSREES is a partner. ADDS, Inc. a private, nonprofit corporation is a Web site and Internet support center that develops, promotes, and delivers educational materials, datasets, software, and other decision-support tools to agricultural producers and others. Other partners include land-grant universities and the pri- vate sector (USDA, 2002c). Food and Agricultural Education Information System The Food and Agricultural Education Information System (FAEIS) is an on- line database of higher-education statistics spanning human sciences, agriculture, and the food sciences. Drawing on national data from multiple government agen- cies, land-grant universities, professional associations, and other databases, FAEIS includes information on renewable natural resources, forestry, general agriculture, and veterinary medicine. It is operated through Texas A&M Univer- sity (USDA, 2002c). Science and Education Impact Databases The Science and Education Impact Databases provide information obtained annually from institutions in the land-grant-USDA partnership on the impacts of research, teaching, and extension programs. The databases can be queried by topic, term, and state, and they can be viewed through topical summaries and fact sheets (USDA, 2002c). Research Management Information System REE research activities are tracked by the Research Management Informa- tion System (RMIS), a computer-based documentation and reporting system for current and recently completed CRIS projects in agriculture, food and nutrition, and forestry research. RMIS is designed to provide access to information about research conducted primarily in the REE agricultural research system. Projects
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214 APPENDIX G cataloged are conducted or sponsored by USDA research agencies, SAESs, the state land-grant university system, other cooperating state institutions, and par- ticipants in USDA's NRI Competitive Grants Program. RMIS also tracks patents and CRADAs. Research, Education, and Economics Information System The 1996 Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act (US Congress, 1996) permitted the construction of an information system that would track and assess affairs in agricultural research and extension. CSREES was charged with bringing together the other REE agencies in an effort to design and put into prac- tice such a system, called the Research, Education, and Economics Information System (REEIS). The impetus for REEIS came from a deficit in the body of REE electronic information concerning the programs that it conducts with its part- ners namely universities and other institutions of higher education. Further- more, the Government Performance and Results Act has required standards for reporting on the status of USDA projects (USDA, 2002j). REEIS is expected to provide the public with access to information about research results and new technologies while decreasing redundancies in these efforts. It also is intended to create links between similar programs, to harmonize information about REE programs, to meet standards for fiscal responsibility, and to monitor the progress of technologies used in research, economics, extension or education activities. The broader goal of REEIS is to interconnect several data- bases used by extension and other REE agencies. The Science and Education Resources Development division of CSREES is charged with oversight of REEIS (USDA, 2002j). Although the public has on-line access to minutes of the REEIS National Steering Committee meetings, the future of the REEIS system is unclear (USDA, 2002j). SUMMARY The Research, Education, and Economics mission area disseminates its information and services through a number of channels used by its four agencies. Closely related to dissemination is the mission area's effort to increase its degree of outreach, which in turn requires greater engagement with communities and other users of agricultural technologies, innovations, and education programs. All four of the REE agencies rely on electronic media to disseminate their research and services, and each uses print materials as well. However, collectively and individually, the agencies tend to stress the utility of electronic media for helping to fulfill their mission statements. This effort includes the further development of agency Web pages and online databases available to the general public. Never- theless, as various reports and user surveys have indicated, not all of REE's elec-
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APPENDIX G 215 tronic resources are well interfaced, and Web sites related to the mission area's work are not entirely accessible from the agency pages. REFERENCES Chase, M. 2002. Drinking alcohol may reduce diabetes risk in middle-aged. The Wall Street Journal. May 15, p. D6. ECOP (Extension Committee on Organization and Policy). 2002. The Extension System: A Vision for the 21st Century. February. Washington, DC: National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges. ESCOP (Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy). 2001. A Science Roadmap for Agriculture. Washington, DC: Task Force on Building a Science Roadmap for Agriculture, National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges. Available online at http:// www.nasulgc.org/comm food.htm. Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities. 1999. Returning to Our Roots: The Engaged Institution. Washington, DC: National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges. Available online at http://www.nasulgc.org/publications/Kellogg/ engage.pdf. Manning, A. 2002. Researchers weigh in on soaring diabetes rates. USA Today. May 15. NRC (National Research Council). 1996. Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: Public Service and Public Policy. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. NRC (National Research Council). 2002. Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and the Changing Structure of US Agriculture. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Sustainable Agriculture Network. 2002. Sustainable Agriculture Network. Available online at http:// www.sare. org/htdocs/docs/about.html. US Congress. 1990. P.L. (Public Law) 101-624. Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990. US Congress. 1996. P.L. (Public Law) 104-127. Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act (FAIR) of 1996. USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2002a. ARS News and Information. Washington, DC: Agri- cultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture. Available online at http://www. ars.usda.gov/is/. USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2002b. Cooperative State Research, Education, and Exten- sion Service. Washington, DC: Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, US Department of Agriculture. Available online at http://www.reeusda.gov/. USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2002c. Cooperative State Research, Education, and Exten- sion Service: CSREES Databases. Washington, DC: Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, US Department of Agriculture. Available online at http://www.reeusda. gov/1 700/programs/database.htm. USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2002d. Cooperative State Research, Education, and Exten- sion Service: News and Information. Washington, DC: Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, US Department of Agriculture. Available online at http://www.reeusda. gov/1 700/whatnew/newsinfo.htm. USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2002e. Economic Research Service. Washington, DC: Eco- nomic Research Service, US Department of Agriculture. Available online at http://www.ers. usda.gov/. USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2002f. Economic Research Service Publications. Washing- ton, DC: Economic Research Service, US Department of Agriculture. Available online at http: //www. ers. usda. gov/Publications/.
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216 APPENDIX G USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2002g. National 4-H Headquarters. Available online at http: //www.4h-usa.org/. USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2002h. National Agricultural Library. Washington, DC: National Agricultural Library, US Department of Agriculture. Available online at http:// www.nal.usda.gov. USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2002i. National Agricultural Statistics Service. National Agricultural Statistics Service, US Department of Agriculture. Available online at http:// www. usda.gov/nass/. USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2002j. Research, Education, and Economics Information System: Overview. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture. Available online at http: //www. reeusda.gov/ree/reeis/reeover.htm. USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2002k. Research, Education, and Economics Mission Area. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture. Available online at http://www.reeusda.gov/ ree/. Vanderhoef, L., M.A. Apple, K.J. Coulter, W.B. Delauder, J. Hirschman, A. Hoover, P. Hudson, B. Hutchinson, P. Kaufman, M.B. Krewson, P.S. Reed, W. Tabb, and R. Willard. 2001. Report on the National Agricultural Library-2001. Washington, DC: National Agricultural Library, US Department of Agriculture.
Representative terms from entire chapter: