Ag research is just fine, USDA chief scientist tells White House

Posted on December 20, 2012

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Dr. Catherine WotekiThe Agriculture Department’s chief scientist spoke in support of current ag research, in a letter to the New York Times editor published yesterday.

In her letter, Catherine Woteki responded to a Dec. 7 Presidential report that called for more funds because of “major shortcomings” in the current state of ag research.

In the report, a panel of President Obama’s scientific and technology advisers said shortcomings in current ag research “place the Nation at risk,” and called for an additional $700 million in annual funding.

An NYT article summarizing the report said:

A blue-ribbon panel of scientific and technology advisers to President Obama warns that the nation risks losing its longstanding supremacy in food production because research in agriculture has not kept up with new challenges like climate change, depleted land and water resources and emerging pests, pathogens and invasive plants.

While affirming the importance of agriculture research, Ms. Woteki defended ag science in the U.S. She wrote:

…as the Agriculture Department’s chief scientist, I disagree with the characterization that our research is faltering. Agricultural science has led our country to be the global leader in feeding the world.

…Despite financial constraints, the quality of our work remains of high quality and value.

Does the call for new funding have something to do with the farm bill?  Or is this just another example of the American elite getting agriculture wrong?

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Posted in: Media, Politics