These crops have continued to grow in production value, but this growth has not been matched by growth in public agricultural research spending. In fact, spending on specialty crops research has remained constant during a time period when the value of production for these crops has increased significantly.
A recent article published in the August 2008 issue of HortScience reviewed trends in the economic importance of specialty crops and public funding for research on these crops. Researchers Julian M. Alston of the University of California, Davis, and Philip G. Pardey from the University of Minnesota, questioned the adequacy of funding for specialty crops and whether the share of funding allocated to research these crops should be increased.
Previous research has indicated that government involvement in agricultural research and development is justified, because the private sector typically invests too little in certain types of R&D. The rates of return to publicly funded agricultural research have been very high, suggesting that government intervention to date has been inadequate, and that the U.S. government could have profited from spending much more on agricultural R&D, especially in the area of specialty crops.
Agricultural research in the United States is funded from a variety of sources. Historically, the majority of funding has come from the U.S Department of Agriculture. Other agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, and the U.S. Agency for International Development have been increasing sources of funding over the last several years. Overall spending on R&D grew rapidly during the 1960s and 70s, but since then, growth has slowed and become erratic. In general, support has stagnated.
The growth in the value of production of specialty crops has not been matched by commensurate growth in public agricultural research spending. There could be many benefits to increasing funding in this area. One possible benefit is that there can be a much larger social rate of return if it makes fruit and vegetables less expensive and more available to more Americans, encouraging people to eat healthier diets.
The authors concluded that although the evidence is mixed, specialty crops research is underfunded and that a case can be made for increasing funding going for research of these crops. They suggest that a producer check-off program with a matching government grant could be one way to give incentives to both private industry and government agencies to enhance research funding. The Australian government has implemented such a program with much success. Another option would be to simply redirect funds that would otherwise be spent on other types of agricultural research.
Michael W. Neff | EurekAlert!
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine