The USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics component works to direct scientific knowledge related to agriculture through promoting research and education. The work of REE influences the funding available for animal science research, and the following are areas that were identified as future research focuses:
- Invest in the research, development, and extension of new varieties and germplasm, practices, and systems of interest (both domestically and in developing countries) to safely and sustainably increase animal and crop production and its nutritional value. Improve feed and forage use efficiency in animals and identify alternative feed and forage options for animal systems that do not compete for human food and energy needs. Develop and populate a framework for understanding the sustainability (productivity, economic, and environmental) outcomes of agriculture/food/forestry practices and systems.
- Invest in research, development, and outreach of new varieties and technologies to mitigate animal/plant diseases and increase productivity, sustainability, and product quality. Establish more sustainable systems that enhance crop and animal health.
- Generate new fundamental knowledge through research in genomic sciences and the applications of systems approaches required to enhance the sustainability of agriculture while increasing productivity. Preserve, characterize, and deploy genetic diversity to ensure economic and environmental sustainability and to maintain American agriculture leadership in a global, biobased economy. Conduct biotechnology risk and benefits assessment research that accurately and scientifically inform regulators, product development, and consumer
acceptance, and provide information to FAS relevant to trade issues.
- Explain the processes driving the direct and indirect effects of climate variability on natural and managed ecosystems, including feedbacks to the climate system.
- Develop knowledge and tools to enable adaptation of agriculture, forestry, and grasslands to climate variability and to improve the resilience of natural and managed ecosystems and vulnerable populations.
- Develop knowledge and tools to enhance the contribution of agriculture, forestry, grasslands, and other land management practices to mitigate atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
- Develop and provide the best available science and technology to inform decision-making and improve practices on water conservation, use, and quality.
- Explain the determinants of socioeconomically viable and environmentally sound livestock, forage, and forest production systems
- Provide research that helps to understand and define the microbial populations (pathogens and normal flora) in foods and surrounding environments.
- Provide research to understand the biology and behavior of foodborne pathogens.
- Develop technologies for the detection and characterization of food supply contamination from microbial pathogens, toxins, chemicals, and biologics.
- Develop intervention and control strategies for foodborne contaminants along the food production continuum.
- Provide research strategies, models, and data that identify and characterize effective management strategies and incentives for food safety improvement and the costs and benefits of improved safety for public health and industry viability.
- Recruit, cultivate, and develop the next generation of scientists and leaders with a highly skilled workforce for food, agriculture, natural resources, forestry, and environmental systems, and life sciences to out-educate our global competitors.
- Provide effective research, education, and extensions that inform public and private decision making in support of rural and community development.