When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act into law in 1862, he set in motion the development of a system of land grant colleges and helped create the foundation for U.S. agricultural research that’s endured until today.
That foundation is still strong, thanks to formula funding established by Congress over the years, but there are new fears that the U.S. is no longer leading way in innovation.
Part of the answer is money, says Tom Grumbly, president of the Supporters of Agriculture Research (SoAR) Foundation. But perhaps an even bigger piece of the equation is finding the right policy and management system to govern the complex web of government-funded research programs. SoAR and its supporters are pushing for an overhaul in the next farm bill. They want a power shift at USDA to elevate the department’s top scientist to a near-cabinet level position. Read the rest of the story here.