How to Boost Agricultural Research
US land-grant universities need a radical rethink of their priorities.
The United States is at a crossroads in agricultural research. For 120 years, our land-grant universities and their associated agricultural experiment stations and extension services have succeeded because their collective mission links research, teaching, and outreach. There are cracks in the foundation, however: In 1993, a former land-grant university dean, Harry Kunkel, suggested that knowledge gathered through scholarship was being integrated inadequately. Despite advances in genomics that could be used to identify genetic markers for desired production traits, as well as resistance of plants and animals to parasites, disease, and harsh environments, these failures are even truer today.