Once the global leader in agricultural R&D, the United States’ investment has been decreasing in comparison to private investment since 2010. The long-term effects of this shift have negative implications for the future of farming.
Investment in Agriculture R&D
U.S. public sector investment in agriculture R&D has historically positioned the U.S. to be a top contributor and the largest producer of cutting-edge agricultural technology in the world. Unlike other sectors of the U.S. economy, public investment, rather than private investment, in agriculture R&D, has been the main driver for the long-term development of industry-altering technology. However, since 2010, the share of U.S. public sector spending on food and agriculture R&D has decreased to less than 30% of total expenditures.
This shift in funding is the result of both a decrease in public funding and a dramatic surge in private funding in the biotechnology industry. The current funding trend in agriculture R&D may negatively impact the future of farming by focusing too heavily on short-term, consumer-driven developments.