USDA research priorities

USDA research priorities

Farm and Ranch February 24, 2011 Both Congress and the White House have proposed reduced spending in agricultural research as part of their efforts to cut federal spending. USDA Under Secretary for Research and Education, Catherine Woteki, says her division has identified five priorities to which to divert most resources. Those are food security, feedstocks for biofuels, child obesity prevention and what she says is a backdrop for all of the others, climate change.

Woteki: “Investing in research that is going to help farmers adapt to climate change and also we are looking to agriculture as a way to help mitigate some of the greenhouse gas effects and mitigate climate change.”

The emphasis on climate change was evident this past week when the USDA announced three separate 20-million dollar grants to study climate change and agriculture, which included a grant to the three Pacific Northwest land grant universities to study cereal grain production and climate change.

Some commentators say a growing share of Americans are rejecting what the scientific community is telling them and point to widespread disbelief in human causation of global warming. But Woteki says she isn’t experiencing that.

Scientists involved in the Pacific Northwest project say, in general temperatures in the PNW’s prime grain growing regions are expected to increase by 3.6 degrees by 2050. Winter precipitation is expected to increase about five percent during the same period but summer precip is expected to decrease.

I’m Bob Hoff and that’s the Northwest Farm and Ranch Report on Northwest Aginfo Net.

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