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The US Department of Agriculture Research, Education, and Economics Mission Area The Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area is one of seven in the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). It was established to synthesize and circulate knowledge that addresses a broad array of agricultural research sub- jects. According to the most recent strategic plan, the mission of REE programs is to create a safe, sustainable, competitive US food and fiber system and strong, healthy communities, families, and youth through integrated research, analysis, and education (USDA, 2002~. In the context of the federal research establishment, REE falls at the interface of research areas linked to a variety of other federal agencies, including food, health, nutrition, and disease (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health), environment and natural resources (the Forest Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior), energy (the Department of Energy [DOE]), com- merce (the Department of Commerce and its National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and basic research (the National Science Foundation, DOE). REE' s comparative advantage among federal research institutions lies in its his- torical strengths in understanding the agricultural and food system. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) may work on specific nutritional components, but USDA is better positioned to assess diets holistically. For example, NIH might work on how lycopene prevents cancer, but USDA can assess how much lyco- pene is consumed by different subpopulations and how dietary trends or substitu- tions would affect that intake. Similarly, the interface between agriculture and natural-resource use argues for USDA research to address the environmental impacts of agriculture. No other public agency has the resources, infrastructure, or mandate to support research focusing on the interface between agriculture and 27

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28 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH the environment. And this is where private-sector research is highly unlikely to fill the void. REORGANIZATION OF THE US DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE In 1994, the Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act (US Congress, 1994b) authorized the secretary of agriculture to appoint an undersecretary for research, education, and economics. The explicit purpose of the legislation was to achieve greater efficiency, effectiveness, and economies in the organization and management of the programs and activities carried out by the department (US Congress, 1994b). The legislation delegated all functions and duties related to research, education, and economics to the new mission area, including those previously conducted in other agencies or mission areas. The REE agencies are required to work with USDA action and regulatory agencies: the Agricultural Marketing Service; the Animal and Plant Health In- spection Service; the Foreign Agricultural Service; the Food and Nutrition Ser- vice; the Farm Service Agency; the Food Safety and Inspection Service; the Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration; the Natural Resources Con- servation Service; the Rural Business-Cooperative Service; and the Rural Utili- ties Service. The 1994 reorganization brought four agencies into the REE mission area: the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the Cooperative State Research, Edu- cation, and Extension Service (CSREES), the Economic Research Service (ERS), and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) (Figure 2-1~. Before the consolidation of agencies, ERS and NASS were in the Office of Science and Education. The Forest Service, once a part of the Office of Science Education, was transferred to the Natural Resources and the Environment Mission Area. During this transition, the CSREES was created when the Cooperative State Research Service and the Extension Service merged. With the passage of the 1996 farm bill (US Congress, 1996), three USDA advisory boards the Agricultural Science and Technology Review Board, the Joint Council on Food and Agricultural Sciences, and the National Agricultural Research and Extension Users Advisory Board were consolidated, forming the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board. The new board was mandated to review the REE strategic plan and its implementation and was charged with assisting the secretary of agriculture in creating a task force that would review USDA research. The board also was authorized to counsel the undersecretary with respect to the oversight of REE programmatic content (USDA, 1996, 2002~.

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29 . ~ o ~ ._ .O m._ o ~ o ~ _ Q ~ ~ ~r cn ~ I C~ _ C.~ tL ~ U) , ,_ ~ s~ ,_ _ 2 _ ~ 2 U) ~ I U) - . ~ o U) U) ~ ,u _ ~ ~._ ._ C~ o _ - tL U) ~ t] U) [~] ,o = ' ,~ s CO - ~ ~ ~ o - C 2 ~ ~ ~, c 2 o '= ~ o ~ {d (~ U) 8 ~ 2 ~O ,o ~o [ IL- o ._ ._ ~ ._ _ Z Z~ C ~ G) O CIS - ~'~ O.~_ O G) C o _ IL 00 C) [L [L ~ _'~ _ u~ cn u) u~ _m'U)'m I m ~ ~ ~ o~ O: O: O: - ~, C 2 (~) 2 U) ~u - u) 8 ._ o ,_ mS = ~ .- - _. o ~::~ ~o~ ~U~ ~a ~ ~ ~ m~ ~._~ ~ ~ ~ _ ~i*_~'~ ~(d~ ~'b~a t s_ _ _ ~;~Cm ~o~ ~i;.~-~ ~i= ~:~ ~Ct ~ - ~ - ~q)~ ~ OCR for page 27
30 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH FUNCTIONS AND STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES OF THE RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND ECONOMICS MISSION AREA According to the REE strategic plan (USDA, 2002), the agencies conducting the REE mission area programs perform five primary functions: 1. "Create basic research knowledge at the frontiers of the biological, physi- cal, and social sciences, 2. "Produce, apply, and adopt applied research-based knowledge in innova- tive ways to address problems and issues, 3. "Produce developmental research results and promote the commercializa- tion and transfer of technologies and practices to potential users in a timely, cost-effective manner, 4. "Provide leadership in the delivery of research-based knowledge through Extension, outreach, and information to strengthen the capacity of public and private decisionmakers, and 5. "Strengthen capacity of institutions of higher education to develop the skills of the Nation's workforce." The REE mission area's strategic plan delineates five desired outcomes and associated strategic objectives (see Box 2-1; USDA, 2002~. The REE strategic plan also assigns resources to the five program objectives in the following distri- bution: 25% each to the first and second, 16% to the third and fourth, and 18% to the fifth (based on FY 1996 appropriations). RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND ECONOMICS AGENCIES The four agencies implementing the REE mission, under the leadership of the REE undersecretary, are ARS, CSREES, ERS, and NASS. The history and mission of each agency are described below. Agricultural Research Service ARS, the principal inhouse research agency of USDA, was authorized by the Organic Act of 1862 (US Congress, 1862~. The act called upon the then-commis- sioner of agriculture to "acquire and preserve in his Department all information he can obtain by means of books and correspondence, and by practical and scientific experiments...." With the onset of World War II, the department reconfigured its research units to form the Agricultural Research Administration (ARA). In 1953, ARA underwent a realignment to become what is known today as ARS (USDA, 1999, 2000a). The ARS mission is "to conduct research to develop and transfer solutions to agricultural problems of high national priority and provide information access

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THE USDA RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND ECONOMICS MISSION AREA 31 and dissemination to: ensure high-quality, safe food, and other agricultural products; assess the nutritional needs of Americans; sustain a competitive agri- cultural economy; enhance the natural resource base and the environment; and provide economic opportunities for rural citizens, communities, and society as a whole" (USDA, 1999, 2000a). Agency research focuses on achieving the five broad goals identified in the REE Strategic Plan (see Box 2-1) and is organized into 22 national programs (see Box 2-2~. ARS is the largest REE agency in overall program staff and budget. According to USDA's Office of Budget and Program Analysis, ARS's budget accounted for half the appropriation for the entire REE mission area in FY 2002. ARS also is responsible for the administration of the National Agricultural Library (NAL) and the National Arboretum. Brought under the auspices of ARS in 1994, NAL is the world's largest agricultural library. Mandated by Congress to carry out research and provide educational information, the National Arboretum conducts research at four sites in the eastern United States (USDA, 1999, 2000a). Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service CSREES was formed in 1994 through the USDA reorganization act (US Congress, 1994b). CSREES research and education programs are conducted in partnership with US universities (USDA, 2000b). CSREES's mission is "to achieve significant and equitable improvements in domestic and global economic, environmental, and social conditions by advancing creative and integrated research, education, and extension programs in food, agricultural, environmental and related life and social sciences in partnership with both the public and private sectors" (USDA, 2000b). The research and education activities of CSREES were authorized under the Hatch Act of 1887, as amended (US Congress, 1887~; the Cooperative Forestry Research Act of 1962, as amended (US Congress, 1962~; Public Law 89-106, Section (2), as amended (US Congress, 1965~; the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977, as amended (US Congress, 1977b); and the Equity in Educational Land-Grant Status Act of 1994 (US Congress, 1994a). Under those authorities, CSREES assists research and education pro- grams in a research community at state institutions, including the state agricul- tural experiment stations, schools of forestry, 1890 land-grant institutions and Tuskegee University, colleges of veterinary medicine, and other eligible institu- tions. It supports competitively awarded and formula-based research programs and regularly scheduled program reviews of the land-grant university agricultural and related sciences. CSREES is charged with implementing USDA's higher-education mission in the food and agricultural sciences. Its assistance in providing educational opportunities was traditionally less formal until USDA enacted the National Needs Graduate Fellowships Grant Program in 1984. Later initiatives, such as

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32 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH

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THE USDA RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND ECONOMICS MISSION AREA 33

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34 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH the Hispanic Serving Institutions Education Grants Program and the Multicultural Scholars program, have been implemented to strengthen the quality of education programs (USDA, 2000b). The Cooperative Extension System is a national education network of partners from CSREES, land-grant university cooperative extension services, and cooperative extension services in the 3,150 counties of the United States. Coop- erative extension work is authorized by the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, as amended (US Congress, 1914), and by Title XIV of the Food and Agriculture Act of 1977 (US Congress, 1977a). Another important function of CSREES is the collection and integration of national and state data to monitor accomplishments in research, extension, and education, including the Current Research Information System and the Food and

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THE USDA RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND ECONOMICS MISSION AREA 35 Agricultural Education Information System. Efforts are under way to establish a Research, Education, and Economics Information System to facilitate evalua- tions of REE activities (USDA, 2000b). According to USDA's Office of Budget and Program Analysis, the CSREES budget authorizations accounted for 42% of the total REE budget authorization in FY 2002. Economic Research Service ERS is the primary intramural social-science unit in USDA. It was created in 1961 out of the now-defunct Bureau of Agricultural Economics, which was authorized principally by the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (US Congress, 1946~. The ERS mission is "to inform and enhance public and private decision- making on economic and policy issues related to agriculture, food, the environ- ment, and rural development" (USDA, 2000c, 2001a), and the agency shares the five goals of the REE mission area, as described above. According to its FY 2002 performance plan, ERS's goals include research and development of economic and statistical indicators on a broad array of topics: global marketing conditions, trade restrictions, agribusiness concentration, farm and retail food prices, food assistance, foodborne illnesses, food labeling, nutri- tion, agrichemical use, livestock-waste management, conservation, sustainability, genetic diversity, biotechnology, technology transfer, rural infrastructure, and agricultural labor (USDA, 2000c, 2001a). According to USDA's Office of Budget and Program Analysis, the ERS budget authorizations accounted for 2.8% of the total REE budget authorization in FY 2002. National Agricultural Statistics Service NASS derives its mandate from the Organic Act of 1862; agricultural supply information was one of the purposes of USDA. The Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 authorizes NASS's responsibilities (US Congress, 1946~. The Census of Agriculture Act of 1997 (US Congress, 1997) reassigned the national census of agriculture from the Department of Commerce to USDA, and NASS was charged with administering the census every 5 years. The agency has about 1,350 federal and state employees, about two-thirds of whom are field operatives (USDA, 2000d, 2001b) and use the state statistical office in 46 states, which are coopera- tively funded through land-grant universities or state departments of agriculture. Other state institutions are also eligible for NASS services related to survey ad- ministration, and the agency undertakes some international activities (USDA, 2000d, 2001b). NASS states that its mission is to "provide timely, accurate, and useful statis- tics in service to US agriculture" (USDA, 2000d, 2001b). Its clients are drawn

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36 FRONTIERS IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH from almost every aspect of the farming and agribusiness communities. Clients typically provide NASS with responses that are used to generate data concerning such subjects as crop and livestock counts. The Agricultural Statistics Board of NASS uses the information to produce several hundred reports per year (USDA, 2000d, 2001b). In addition to the farming and agribusiness members that it serves, NASS's statistical information and reports are used in the decision-making processes of the White House, Congress, other USDA programs, and other federal agencies. Among the specific NASS activities that contribute to those processes are the supply of data used for the world agricultural supply and demand estimates, the Export Enhancement Program, the Conservation Reserve Program, the determi- nation of milk prices, grazing fees (on publicly owned land), and USDA's crop- insurance program (USDA, 2000d, 2001b). According to USDA's Office of Budget and Program Analysis, the NASS budget authorizations accounted for 4.6% of the total REE budget authorization in FY 2002. SUMMARY This chapter has provided background information on the 1994 USDA reorganization that brought about the REE mission area. The functions and strategic objectives of the mission area, the history and mission of each agency, and the proportion of the total REE budget accounted for by each agency were also considered. REFERENCES US Congress. 1862. 7 USC. 2201. Organic Act of 1862. US Congress. 1887. 7 USC. 361a et seq., 24 Stat. 440. Hatch Act of 1887. US Congress. 1914. 7 USC. 341 et seq., 38 Stat. 372. Smith-Lever Act of 1914. US Congress. 1946. 7 USC. 1621-1627. Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946. US Congress. 1962. Cooperative Forestry Research Act of 1962, as amended (16 USC. 585a-7). US Congress. 1965. P.L. (Public Law) 89-106, Section (2), as amended (7 USC. 450i). US Congress. 1977a. P.L. (Public Law) 95-113. Food and Agriculture Act of 1977 (7 USC. 2281. 91 Stat. 1041). US Congress. 1977b. P.L. (Public Law) 95-113. National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977. US Congress. 1994a. P.L. (Public Law) 103-382. Equity in Educational Land-Grant Status Act of 1994. US Congress. 1994b. P.L. (Public Law) 103-354. Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994. US Congress. 1996. P.L. (Public Law) 104-127. Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform (FAIR) Act of 1996. US Congress. 1997.P.L. (public Law) 105-113. Census of Agriculture Act of 1997 (7USC.2204g).

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THE USDA RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND ECONOMICS MISSION AREA 37 USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 1996. Charter of the National Agricultural Research, Exten- sion, Education, and Economics Advisory Board. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Available online at http://www. reeusda.gov/ree/advisory/charter.html. USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 1999. Agricultural Research Service Strategic Plan: Working Document 1997-2002. Washington, DC: Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agri- culture. Available online at http://www.nps.ars.usda.gov/mgmt/stratpln/1999/background.cim. USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2000a. Agricultural Research Service FY 2000 and 2001 Annual Performance Plans. Washington, DC: Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture. USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2000b. Cooperative State Research, Education, and Exten- sion Service FY 2000 and 2001 Annual Performance Plan. Washington, DC: Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, US Department of Agriculture. USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2000c. Economic Research Service Strategic Plan, 2000- 2005. October 11, 2000. Washington, DC: Economic Research Service, US Department of Ag- riculture. Available online at http://www. ers. usda. gov/AboutERS/ersstrategicplan. pdf. USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2000d. National Agricultural Statistics Service. GPRA Stra- tegic Plan, Washington, DC: National Agricultural Statistics Service, US Department of Agri- culture. Available online at http://www. usda.gov/nass/nassinfo/strat-2005.pdf. USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2001a. Economic Research Service FY 2002 Annual Perfor- mance Plan and Revised Plan for FY 2001 (July). Washington, DC: Economic Research Ser- vice, US Department of Agriculture. Available online at http://www.ers.usda.gov/AboutERS/ ersperformance_plan. pdf. USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2001b. National Agricultural Statistics Service FY 2002 and Revised FY 2001 Annual Performance Plans. Washington, DC: Economic Research Service, US Department of Agriculture. Available online at http://www.usda.gov/nass/nassinfo/nass- app-02-01.pdf. USDA (US Department of Agriculture). 2002. Research, Education, and Economics Strategic Plan. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture. Available online at http://www.reeusda.gov/ ree/ree2.htm.