Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Public Funding For Specialty Crops Inadequate, Research Suggests

Date:
February 14, 2009
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
Specialty crops, including fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and nursery crops, have become increasingly important compared to other categories of agriculture in the United States over the past 50 years. These crops have continued to grow in production value, but this growth has not been matched by growth in public agricultural research spending.

Pecan orchard with young pecan trees.
Credit: iStockphoto/Kathy Hicks

Specialty crops, including fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and nursery crops, have become increasingly important compared to other categories of agriculture in the United States over the past 50 years.

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "Public Funding For Specialty Crops Inadequate, Research Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090203130711.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2009, February 14). Public Funding For Specialty Crops Inadequate, Research Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090203130711.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "Public Funding For Specialty Crops Inadequate, Research Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090203130711.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins