Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Figures
 List of Tables
 Articulation, coordination, and...
 Linkages between research and technology...
 Articulation and coordination of...
 Incorporation of the assessment...
 Relationships between the public...
 Summary of finding and conclus...
 Policy options for USDA -...
 Back Cover

Group Title: Agricultural technology delivery system : a study of the transfer of agricultural and food-related technologies
Title: The agricultural technology delivery system
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00071940/00001
 Material Information
Title: The agricultural technology delivery system a study of the transfer of agricultural and food-related technologies
Physical Description: 5 v. in 6 : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Pennsylvania State University -- Institute for Policy Research and Evaluation
Feller, Irwin
Publisher: Institute for Policy Research and Evaluation, Pennsylvania State University
Place of Publication: University Park Pa
Publication Date: 1984
Subject: Agriculture -- Technology transfer -- United States   ( lcsh )
Food industry and trade -- Technology transfer -- United States   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Research -- Societies, etc -- United States   ( lcsh )
Agriculture and state -- United States   ( lcsh )
Food -- Research -- Societies, etc -- United States   ( lcsh )
Agriculture   ( mesh )
Communication   ( mesh )
Diffusion of Innovation   ( mesh )
Food Technology   ( mesh )
Research   ( mesh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographies.
Statement of Responsibility: by Irwin Feller ... et al..
General Note: "December 1984"--P. 4 of cover.
Funding: Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00071940
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 13333323
lccn - 85622524

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Page i-a
        Page i-b
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
    List of Figures
        Page vii
        Page viii
    List of Tables
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
        Page xvii
        Page 1
            Page 1
            Page 2
            Page 3
            Page 4
            Page 5
            Page 6
        Policy focus
            Page 7
            Page 8
            Page 9
            Page 10
            Page 11
        Conceptual framework: Technology delivery and open system
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Page 21
            Page 22
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
        Relationship to other studies
            Page 26
            Page 27
            Page 28
            Page 29
            Page 30
            Page 31
            Page 32
        Organization of the report
            Page 33
            Page 34
    Articulation, coordination, and performance of agricultural research in the United States: The public sector
        Page 35
        Problem statement
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
        The structure of the agricultural research system
            Page 39
            Page 40
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
            Page 45
            Page 46
            Page 47
            Page 48
        Planning, setting priorities, and coordinating research
            Page 49
            The ARS planning effort
                Page 49
                Page 50
                Page 51
                Page 52
            Relationships between ARS and other research organizations
                Page 53
                Page 54
                Page 55
                Page 56
            Cooperative state research service
                Page 57
        Funding of public agricultural research by other federal agencies
            Page 58
            Page 59
            Page 60
            Page 61
        State-level planning for agricultural research
            Page 62
            Page 63
            Page 64
            Page 65
            Page 66
            Page 67
            Page 68
            Page 69
            Page 70
            Page 71
            Page 72
            Page 73
            Page 74
            Page 75
            Page 76
        State-level funding and issues
            Page 77
            Page 78
            Page 79
            Page 80
            Page 81
            Page 82
            Page 83
            Page 84
            Page 85
        Funding of public agricultural research and the research orientation of the performers: Interlocking issues
            Page 86
            Page 87
            Page 88
            Page 89
            Page 90
    Linkages between research and technology transfer: Issues in articulation and coordination
        Page 91
            Page 91
            Page 92
            Page 93
        Organizational roles and relations in the agricultural technology delivery system
            Page 94
            Case studies
                Page 94
                Artificial insemination
                    Page 94
                    Page 95
                Conservation tillage
                    Page 96
                    Page 97
                The mechanical tomato harvester
                    Page 98
                    Page 99
                    Page 100
                    Page 101
            State vignettes
                Page 102
                    Page 102
                    Page 103
                    Page 104
                    Page 105
                    Page 106
                    Page 107
                    Page 108
                    Page 109
                    Page 110
                    Page 111
                    Page 112
                    Page 113
            Page 114
            Page 115
            Page 116
            Page 117
            Page 118
        Maintenance of research-transfer links
            Page 119
                Page 119
                Page 120
                Page 121
                Multi-county specialist
                    Page 122
                County agency qua applied researcher
                    Page 122
                    Page 123
            The role of extension specialists
                Page 124
                Page 125
            The role of the county agent
                Page 126
                Page 127
                Page 128
                Page 129
                Page 130
                Page 131
                Page 132
    Articulation and coordination of human nutrition research and technology transfer programs in an agricultural production system
        Page 133
            Page 133
            Page 134
        Support for and performance of human nutrition research and technology transfer activities
            Page 135
                Page 135
                Page 136
                Page 137
                Page 138
            Organizational structure
                Page 139
                Page 140
        Coordination of research priorities in human nutrition and related areas among federal agencies
            Page 141
            Page 142
            Page 143
            Page 144
        Linkages between research and transfer activities in human nutrition
            Page 145
            Linkages through market interactions
                Page 145
                Page 146
            Organizational links
                Page 147
                Page 148
                Page 149
                Page 150
                Page 151
        Integrating human nutrition research and education issues with the agricultural research and transfer agenda
            Page 152
            Page 153
            Page 154
    Incorporation of the assessment of impacts into agricultural research and technology transfer programs
        Page 155
            Page 155
            Page 156
            Page 157
        The public interest group perspectives
            Page 158
            Page 159
            Page 160
            Page 161
            Page 162
            Page 163
            Page 164
            Page 165
            Page 166
        Mechanisms for reconciling conflicts in goals, priorities, and beliefs
            Page 167
                Page 167
                Page 168
            Publications by critics and professional associations
                Page 169
            The political process
                Page 170
            Recruitment policies
                Page 171
                Page 172
                Page 173
        Public sector responses to concerns of public interest groups
            Page 174
            Page 175
            Page 176
            Page 177
            Page 178
            Page 179
            Page 180
    Relationships between the public and private sectors in agricultural research and technology transfer
        Page 181
            Page 181
            Page 182
            Page 183
            Page 184
            Page 185
            Page 186
        A conceptual framework
            Page 187
            Page 188
            Page 189
            Page 190
            Page 191
            Page 192
        Case studies
            Page 193
            Round hay baler
                Page 194
                Page 195
                Page 196
                Page 197
                Page 198
        Relationships in the performance of basic and applied research
            Page 199
                Page 199
            The case of biotechnology
                Page 200
                Page 201
                Page 202
                Page 203
                Page 204
                Page 205
                Page 206
                Page 207
                Page 208
        Public sector/private sector relationships in the dissemination of agricultural technology
            Page 209
                Page 209
                Page 210
                Page 211
                Page 212
                Page 213
                Page 214
                Page 215
                Page 216
            Private agricultural consultants
                Page 217
                Page 218
                Page 219
                Page 220
                Page 221
                Page 222
    Summary of finding and conclusions
        Page 223
            Page 223
            Page 224
            Page 225
            Page 226
            Research - Issues of planning and coordination
                Page 226
                Page 227
                Page 228
                Page 229
                Page 230
                Page 231
                Page 232
            Research/technology transfer linkages
                Page 233
                Page 234
                Page 235
                Page 236
                Page 237
            Public sector/private sector relationships
                Page 238
                Page 239
                Page 240
                Page 241
                Page 242
                Page 243
            Human nutrition research and technology transfer
                Page 244
                Page 245
            External environment
                Page 246
                Page 247
                Page 248
            Organizational and leadership changes
                Page 249
                Page 250
                Page 251
                Page 252
    Policy options for USDA - S & E
        Page 253
            Page 253
            Page 254
            Page 255
            Page 256
            Page 257
            Page 258
            Page 259
            Page 260
        Policy options
            Page 261
            Page 262
            Agricultural research service
                Page 263
                Page 264
                Page 265
                Page 266
                Page 267
                Page 268
                Page 269
                Page 270
                Page 271
                Page 272
                Page 273
                Page 274
                Page 275
                Page 276
                Page 277
                Page 278
            Cooperative state research service
                Page 279
                Page 280
                Page 281
                Page 282
                Page 283
                Page 284
            Federal extension service and the state cooperative extension services
                Page 285
                Page 286
                Page 287
                Page 288
                Page 289
                Page 290
                Page 291
                Page 292
                Page 293
        USDA science and education: Alternative futures
            Page 294
            Page 295
            Page 296
    Back Cover
        Back Cover
Full Text



A Study of the
Transfer of Agricultural
and Food-Related

Irwin Feller,
Lynne Kaltreider,
Patrick Madden,
Dan Moore,
and Laura Sims


A Study of the Transfer of Agricultural and
Food-Related Technologies


Irwin Feller, Lynne Kaltreider, Patrick Madden,
Dan Moore, and Laura Sims

Volume 5

Overall Study Report:

Findings and Recommendations

Institute for Policy Research and Evaluation
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania 16802

December 1984

This project has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from
the Department of Agriculture, under Contract No. 53-32R6-1-55. The
contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or
policies of the Department of Agriculture, nor does mention of trade
names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the
U.S. Government.




LIST OF FIGURES . . . . ... . ... vii

LIST OF TABLES . . . . ... . .... ix

PREFACE .. .. . . ... . . xi


1 INTRODUCTION . . . .... .. ... ... 1

I. Overview . . . . .. . 1
II. Policy Focus . . . . 7
III. Conceptual Framework: Technology Delivery
and Open Systems . . .... . 12
IV. Relationship to Other Studies . .. 26
V. Methodology .............. . 28
VI. Organization of the Report ............ 33

THE PUBLIC SECTOR . . .... . 35

I. Problem Statement . . .... . 35
II. The Structure of the Agricultural Research System. 39
III. Planning, Setting Priorities, and
Coordinating Research . . 49
A. The ARS Planning Effort . .... 49
B. Relationships Between ARS and Other
Research Organizations . . ... 53
C. Cooperative State Research Service . .. 57
IV. Funding of Public Agricultural Research by
Other Federal Agencies . . ... 58
V. State-Level Planning for Agricultural Research 62
VI. State-Level Funding and Issues . ... 77
VII. Funding of Public Agricultural Research and the
Research Orientation of the Performers:
Interlocking Issues . . .... 86


I. Overview . . .... . 91
II. Organizational Roles and Relations in the
Agricultural Technology Delivery System . 94


Chapter Page

A. Case Studies . . . . 94
1. Artificial Insemination . . 94
2. Conservation Tillage . . .. 96
3. The Mechanical Tomato Harvester .... 98
B. State Vignettes. . . . ... 102
1. Alabama . . . ... 102
2. Michigan . . . ... 107
3. Nebraska . . . ... 112
III. ARS . . . . ..... 114
IV. Maintenance of Research-Transfer Links . .. 119
A. Overview . . . . ... 119
1. Multi-County Specialist . .. 122
2. County Agency Qua Applied Researcher 122
3. Consultants . . .... .123
B. The Role of Extension Specialists . .. 124
C. The Role of the County Agent . ... 126


I. Overview . . . . ... 133
II. Support for and Performance of Human Nutrition
Research and Technology Transfer Activities 135
A. Funding . . . . ... 135
B. Organizational Structure . . .. 139
III. Coordination of Research Priorities in Human
Nutrition and Related Areas Among Federal
Agencies . . . .... 141
IV. Linkages Between Research and Transfer Activities
in Human Nutrition . . . ... 145
A. Linkages Through Market Interactions .... 145
B. Organizational Links . . ... 147
V. Integrating Human Nutrition Research and Education
Issues with the Agricultural Research and
Transfer Agenda . . . .... .152


I. Overview . . . . ... ... 155
II. The Public Interest Group Perspectives . .. .158
III. Mechanisms for Reconciling Conflicts in Goals,
Priorities, and Beliefs . . ... .167
A. Lawsuits . . . . ... 167
B. Publications by Critics and
Professional Associations . ... 169
C. The Political Process ............ .170
D. Recruitment Policies . . ... .171
IV. Public Sector Responses to Concerns of Public
Interest Groups . . . .. 174


Chapter Page


I. Overview . . ... . . 181
II. A Conceptual Framework . . .... 187
III. Case Studies . .... . . 193
(a) Round Hay Baler . . . .. 194
IV. Relationships in the Performance of Basic and
Applied Research . .... . . 199
A. Overview . . . ... 199
B. The Case of Biotechnology . . 200
V. Public Sector/Private Sector Relationships in the
Dissemination of Agricultural Technology . 209
A. Intermediaries . . . .. 209
B. Private Agricultural Consultants . ... 217


I. Overview . . .... . 223
II. Findings. . . ... . 226
A. Research--Issues of Planning and Coordination 226
B. Research/Technology Transfer Linkages .... .233
C. Public Sector/Private Sector Relationships 238
D. Human Nutrition Research and
Technology Transfer . . .... 244
E. External Environment . . ... 246
F. Organizational and Leadership Changes . 249

I. Overview . . .... . 253
II. Policy Options . .... . 261
A. Agricultural Research Service . ... 263
B. Cooperative State Research Service . .. .279
C. Federal Extension Service and the State
Cooperative Extension Services ...... 285
III. USDA Science and Education: Alternative Futures 294



Figure Page

1-1 Interrelation of Study Segments and Study Products 2

2-1 Organization of Agricultural Research Institutions 43

2-2 Schematic of Agricultural Research System Including
Key Constituent Organizations . . . 44

2-3 Organizations Relevant to Research in the Poultry
Commodity Subsystem . . . .. 46

2-4 Schematic of State Agricultural Experiment Station 63

2-5 Schematic of State Government Decision Process(es)
Concerning Agricultural Research . .. 84

6-1 Simple Expanded Model of Public Sector Agricultural
R&D/Technology Transfer System . . 188

6-2 Simple Model of Private Sector Agricultural
R&D/Technology Transfer System . .... .189

6-3 Synthesis of "Product Cycle" and Organizational Role
Schematic of R&D/Technology Transfer Process: I 191

6-4 Synthesis of "Product Cycle" and Organizational Role
Schematic of R&D/Technology Transfer Process: II 192



Tables Page

2-1 Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Expenditures on
Production and PHTME, Total Agricultural Research,
1966-80 . . .... . . . 50

2-2 Food and Agriculture-Related Research, Extension and
Higher Education Conducted by Federal Agencies Other
Than USDA, FY 81, Excluding ACTION and AID .. 60

2-3 Percentage of Total State Agricultural Experiment
Station Research Funds by Source, FY 78 and FY 82 78


The American system of public and private development and transfer

of agricultural and food technologies is complex and varied. It also is

changing. To assist legislative, policy, and program leaders to ade-

quately understand and assess the agricultural technology delivery

system, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Science and Education (USDA-

S&E) prepared a prospectus in June 1981 for a study of "The Transfer of

Agricultural and Food-Related Technologies." After a competitive award

process, the Institute for Policy Research and Evaluation, The Pennsyl-

vania State University, was selected to perform the study. This volume

is one of five that constitute the final report of the study. It is the

"overall study report," which is to include the "overall purposes,

procedures, findings, conclusions, recommendations, and limitations of

the study," called for in the study prospectus.

The two principal objectives of the study were: (1) To describe

the ways in which formal and informal interaction among a variety of

organizations--public and private, federal and state, research and

extension--affected the level and rate of transfer of agricultural and

food-related technologies and their impacts; and (2) To identify criti-

cal issues and problems in the transfer of agricultural and food tech-

nologies, and to suggest policy alternatives and recommendations con-

cerning governmental and university strategies and roles to improve the

transfer and the socially beneficial impacts of agricultural, food, and

related technologies.

The study employed four mutually supportive approaches to identify

and describe the organizations, programs, processes, and factors that

link researchers, transfer agents, and users of agricultural and food

technologies. These four approaches were:

1. Document-based review of organizations and their linkages
(Volume 1).

2. Surveys of organizations and their linkages (Volume 2).

3. Review of previous case studies of the development and transfer
of technologies (Volume 3).

4. New case studies of organizational linkages in technology
development and transfer (Volume 4).

The findings from each approach are reported separately in volumes 1 to

4, respectively. Volume 5 summarizes the principal findings and conclu-

sions from these four project components and develops from them a set of

options for consideration by the Congress, USDA-S&E, and the state land-

grant university system of agricultural experiment stations and coopera-

tive extension services.

The study was designed as an interdisciplinary project involving

the techniques and perspectives of several disciplines. The senior mem-

bers of the study group were Dr. Irwin Feller (Principal Investigator),

Professor of Economics and Director, Institute for Policy Research and

Evaluation (IPRE); Dr. J. Patrick Madden, Professor of Agricultural

Economics and Senior Research Associate, IPRE; Dr. Dan E. Moore, Associ-

ate Professor of Rural Sociology Extension and Senior Research Associ-

ate, IPRE; Dr. Laura S. Sims, Associate Professor of Nutrition in Public

Health, and Senior Research Associate, IPRE; D. Lynne Kaltreider,

Research Assistant, IPRE; and Irene Johnston Petrick, Research Assis-

tant, IPRE (September 1981-August 1983).


In conducting the study as an interdisciplinary project, the mem-

bers of the research group brought to the study the analytical perspec-

tives of their disciplines on processes of research, technology trans-

fer, and assessment of social impacts, plus specific knowledge they had

gained from prior experience in agricultural research, cooperative

extension, and human nutrition programs. Most of the tasks in the

project involved the collaborative efforts of at least two members of

the team. Most important, the integration of findings and the develop-

ment of policy options presented in volume 5 represent the convergence

of several different perspectives.

Coexisting with this collaborative approach was a division of labor

in which individual members of the research team took lead responsibili-

ties for specific tasks. Lynne Kaltreider was the principal researcher

and author of volume 1, A Document-Based Review of Organizations and

Their Linkages. Irwin Feller, Lynne Kaltreider, Patrick Madden, and Dan

Moore conducted the nearly 300 interviews in the nine survey states, as

well as with USDA and other federal agencies, that are reported on in

volume 2, Surveys of Organizations and Their Linkages. Laura Sims

conducted the surveys and is the author of the chapter in volume 2 on

Research and Extension in Human Nutrition, Food Science, and Home

Economics. Irene Johnston Petrick was the principal researcher and

author of volume 3, Review of Previous Case Studies. Irwin Feller,

Patrick Madden, and Dan Moore were the principal authors of volume 4,

Case Studies of Organizational Linkages and Technology Transfer. They

were assisted in this task by Irene Johnston Petrick, Janet Hendrickson,

and Cathy Rusinko. Irwin Feller, Lynne Kaltreider, Patrick Madden, Dan

Moore, and Laura Sims collaborated on volume 5, Overall Study Report:

Findings and Recommendations.

The IPRE research team was the beneficiary of an expert Advisory

Panel. The members of the panel were Dr. Nancy Belck, Dean of Home

Economics, University of Tennessee; Dr. David Dyer, U.S. Senate Commit-

tee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Dr. Gary Evans, Coordinator,

Natural Resources and Forestry, CSRS; Dr. J. D. Eveland, Innovation

Processes Research, National Science Foundation; Dr. C. Dennis Ignasias,

Director of Research and Grants Office, and subsequently Assistant Dean,

School of Agriculture Sciences, University of Maryland-Eastern Shore;

Dr. Patrick Jordan, Director, Experiment Station at Colorado State Uni-

versity, and subsequently Administrator, CSRS; Dr. Leo Lucas, Director

of Cooperative Extension Service, University of Nebraska at Lincoln;

Lynn Maish, Program Analyst, Office of Budget and Program Analysis,

USDA; Dr. Arland W. Pauli, Product & Market Planning, Deere & Company;

Representative William Presnal, Bryan, Texas, and subsequently Vice

Chancellor for State Affairs, The Texas A&M University System; Dr. Paul

Putnam, Director, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, and subse-

quently Area Director, Central Plains Area, National Animal Disease

Center, Ames, Iowa; Dr. Thomas N. Shiflet, Director of Ecological

Sciences, Soil Conservation Service; and Janet E. Tenney, Coordinator of

Nutrition Programs, Giant Foods, Inc. Also participating as members of

the panel were Dr. John Bottum, Deputy Administrator, ES; Dr. Denzil

Clegg, Associate Administrator, ES; Dr. Barbara Fontana, Executive

Secretary, National Agricultural Research and Extension Users Advisory

Board, and subsequently Staff Director of Agriculture, National Gover-

nors' Association; Dr. Mitchell Geasler, Director of Cooperative


Extension Service, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University;

Dr. James Halpin, Director-At-Large, Southern Region, Experiment Station

Committee on Organization and Policy; James Hall, Technology Transfer

Staff, ARS; John Victor, Budget Division, ARS; and Dr. Gerald Welsh,

Research Coordinator, Soil Conservation Service.

The Advisory Panel met four times during the course of the study to

review progress towards fulfillment of tasks, to make recommendations

concerning selection of the sites and the technologies to be studied, to

assess the adequacy and accuracy of the descriptive and analytical

material, and to make detailed comments on the several drafts of each

volume. The Advisory Panel served as a first and demanding set of

reviewers of these volumes. We have benefitted greatly from their con-

structive criticism, advice, and support. We, of course, and not they,

are responsible for the findings and recommendations contained in the

several volumes.

We also benefitted from the advice of Dr. John Sink, Chairman,

Division of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, West Virginia University;

Dr. W. Henry Lambright, Director, Science and Technology Policy Center,

Syracuse Corporation; Dr. W. W. Shaner, Project Director, Farming

Systems R&D Methodology Project, Colorado State University; and

Dr. Edward Moe, retired from CSRS-USDA. Dr. Robert Yin, Case Study

Institute, Cosmos Corporation, helped us apply the case study methodol-

ogy to the systematic review of previous case studies and develop an

approach to the new case studies.

Presentations by the IPRE team of the study's findings and distri-

bution of preliminary drafts of volume 5 were made to senior USDA-S&E

officials in June 1984 and to a meeting of USDA-S&E officials and

program managers, State Cooperative Extension Service Directors, and

State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors, and other officials in

September 1984, and comments concerning the report were invited. Many

substantive comments were received and are incorporated in this final

report. In particular, this report contains a fuller discussion of the

advantages and disadvantages of the several options for future strate-

gies for publicly-funded agricultural research and cooperative extension

than were contained in earlier drafts. It also should be noted that the

comments received as a result of the extensive review process served to

widen the range of assessments concerning the present state and future

direction of the traditional public sector organizations. The review

process and the interaction that the research team has had with the

several audiences before which it has presented its findings indicate

that differences exist, on the one hand, concerning the validity and

import of the study's findings, and on the other, concerning the feasi-

bility or effectiveness of the several options it presents. Although

this final report seeks to be responsive to the many comments generated

by earlier drafts, in the end it remains the product of the findings and

judgments of its authors. The report is presented, as it has been

received in the main, as a balanced account of the structure, trends, and

tensions within the complex agricultural technology delivery system.

From the study's inception, Dr. Claude Bennett, Extension Service,

served as project monitor. Currently an Evaluation Specialist, Program

Development, Evaluation and Management Systems, ES, Dr. Bennett was

formerly in USDA's Science and Education Administration, and in that

capacity led the team that prepared the USDA prospectus for the study.

Promoting compliance with the original focus of a contract, while


assisting a research group to follow questions and policy issues that

emerged during the course of a study, requires both a task orientation

and flexibility. It involves frequent interaction between a project

monitor and a research group, plus a shared commitment to high standards

of scholarly quality and academic independence. This relationship was

established between Dr. Bennett and the research team. We wish to

acknowledge our appreciation to him for sharing with us the experiences

of this project.

The research team wishes to acknowledge a special sense of appreci-

ation to the secretarial staff of the Institute for Policy Research and

Evaluation--Jan Walther, Elena DeLuca, and Marge Demey--for their

competency and good-naturedness during the course of the study. These

final volumes and the many interim volumes that were prepared for each

Advisory Panel meeting represent hours of labor on their part. Many of

these hours came after 5:00 p.m. and on weekends, as the staff often

took upon itself responsibilities for insuring that postal deadlines

were met. Mary Jane Johnson handled the arrangements for the Advisory

Panel meetings with efficiency and flair. Lee Carpenter performed with

great skill the formidable task of editing disparate prose styles,

redolent with Joycean tendencies, into readable tomes. Greta O'Toole,

Administrative Assistant, IPRE, was responsible for the financial

administration of the contract.



I. Overview

This report presents the findings and recommendations of the Insti-

tute for Policy Research and Evaluation's study, "The Transfer of Agri-

cultural and Food-Related Technologies." The report is organized around

policy issues that are contained in the original USDA study prospectus,

that have been identified as topics for consideration in congressional

hearings scheduled for 1985 concerning the reauthorization of Title XIV

of the Food and Agricultural Act of 1977--the National Agricultural

Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977, as amended in

1981--and that emerge from the study's findings.

This report draws on the findings of the four separate study tasks

that form the overall project: (1) a document-based review of organiza-

tions and their linkages; (2) surveys of organizations and their

linkages; (3) a review of previous case studies of the development and

transfer of technologies; and (4) new case studies of organizational

linkages in the development and transfer of six agricultural technolo-

gies. The relationships among the study components are depicted in

Figure 1-1.

This report is responsive to the overall goal of the study pro-


The prospective study will examine public and private influence on
and support of technology development and diffusion in agriculture,
food and related areas where the private sector and the consumer
are primary users of the technology.



I. Overview

This report presents the findings and recommendations of the Insti-

tute for Policy Research and Evaluation's study, "The Transfer of Agri-

cultural and Food-Related Technologies." The report is organized around

policy issues that are contained in the original USDA study prospectus,

that have been identified as topics for consideration in congressional

hearings scheduled for 1985 concerning the reauthorization of Title XIV

of the Food and Agricultural Act of 1977--the National Agricultural

Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977, as amended in

1981--and that emerge from the study's findings.

This report draws on the findings of the four separate study tasks

that form the overall project: (1) a document-based review of organiza-

tions and their linkages; (2) surveys of organizations and their

linkages; (3) a review of previous case studies of the development and

transfer of technologies; and (4) new case studies of organizational

linkages in the development and transfer of six agricultural technolo-

gies. The relationships among the study components are depicted in

Figure 1-1.

This report is responsive to the overall goal of the study pro-


The prospective study will examine public and private influence on
and support of technology development and diffusion in agriculture,
food and related areas where the private sector and the consumer
are primary users of the technology.


Interrelation of Study Segments and Study Products

Segment 1

Document-Based Review

O "Mapping out" of the
organizations involved in
agricultural, food, and
related technologies

Segment 2

Survey of Organizational Linkages

Organizational Role Analyses
o Interorganizational Linkages

Analytical Framework:

Technology Delivery System

(Open) Systems Planning Approach


Segment 3

Case Study Review

Review, appraisal, analysis,
and synthesis of previous
studies of the transfer of
specific technologies or
technology clusters.

Segment 4

New Case Studies

" Technology/technology cluster
analysis through entire process
of development, diffusion, and
* Identify developers, diffusers,
and users.
* Identify interrelationships
between actors in the system.

The study is intended as an aid to guiding food and agricultural
technology policies, including intergovernmental policy . The
study will delineate the roles, responsibilities, activities, and
relationships among the variety of organizations--public and pri-
vate, Federal and State, research and extension--involved in the
development and diffusion of food, agricultural and related tech-
nologies. The study should analyze how this complex operates in
relation to current theoretical understandings of technological
innovation and diffusion and the ways in which governments can
facilitate technology transfer.

This volume is a partial accounting of the full project. It draws

upon but does not repeat all of the other findings of this project con-

tained in volumes 1-4. Rather, this volume emphasizes those findings

most directly related to current and latent policy issues. In so doing,

the volume compresses its fuller discussion of the multiple influences

upon the organizations considered and its documentation of specific


This report constitutes one of several recent efforts to analyze

the performance and structure of American agricultural research and

technology transfer. Examination of the organization of public sector

agricultural research is a mini-industry. Congressional hearings,

executive branch analyses, National Academy of Sciences studies, Office

of Technology Assessment studies, and General Accounting Office reports

form one distinct set of examinations. A second set arises from the

principal public sector organizations themselves. The Agricultural

Research Service and the Extension Service have each recently produced

new statements of their missions--The Mission of the Agricultural

Program Analysis Staff, Joint Planning and Evaluation, Science and
Education Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture (1981), "The
Transfer of Agricultural, Food and Related Technologies: A Study Pro-
spectus," pp. 1-2.

Research Service and Challenge and Change--A Blueprint for the Future,

respectively. A joint USDA-NASULGC task force authored Extension in the

80s; NASULGC's Division of Agriculture has advanced major new initia-

tives in biotechnology--Emerging Biotechnologies in Agriculture: Issues

and Progress; and the Joint Council on Food and Agricultural Sciences

recently issued a report, Needs Assessment for the Food and Agricultural

Sciences. A third set emerges from recent empirical studies by

Hadwiger, Busch and Lacy, Evenson, Ruttan, Warner and Christenson, and

three USDA-funded studies--Lipman-Blumen and Schram, Rubenstein and

Geisler, and Wolek--that have added new analytical and empirical

perspectives to earlier historical and institutional presentations by

Bonnen, Cochrane, and Paarlberg.2

2Don Hadwiger (1982), The Politics of Agricultural Research
(Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press); Lawrence Busch and
William Lacy (1983), Science, Agriculture and the Politics of Research
(Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press); Robert Evenson, Paul Waggoner, and
Vernon Ruttan (1979), "Economic Benefits from Research: An Example from
Agriculture," Science 205(14) (September), pp. 1101-1107; Robert Evenson
(1982), "Agriculture," in Government and Technical Progress, edited by
Richard Nelson (New York: Pergamon Press), pp. 233-282; Vernon Ruttan
(1982), Agricultural Research Policy (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Univer-
sity of Minnesota Press); Paul Warner and James A. Christenson (1984),
The Cooperative Extension Service: A National Assessment (Boulder and
London: Westview Press); Jean Lipman-Blumen and Susan Schram (1984),
The Paradox of Success (USDA-Science and Education, Washington, D.C.);
Albert Rubenstein and Elizabeth Geisler (1983), Evaluation of the Stra-
tegic Plan of ARS and its Relationship to Technology Transfer (Evanston,
Illinois: Northwestern University), Final Report; Frances Wolek (1984),
Technology Transfer and ARS (Villanova, Pennsylvania: Villanova Univer-
sity); James Bonnen (1962), "Some Observations on the Organizational
Nature of a Great Technological Payoff," Journal of Farm Economics 44
(December), pp. 1279-1294; Willard Cochrane (1979), The Development of
American Agriculture: An Historical Analysis (Minneapolis, Minnesota:
University of Minnesota Press); Don Paarlberg (1981), "The Land-Grant
Colleges and the Structure Issue," American Journal of Agricultural
Economics 63 (February), pp. 129-134.

It is important to note how this study views this literature. The

first set typically begins by extolling the historical performance of

principal public sector organizations, but then focuses on the ways and

extent to which these organizations are seen as falling short of
attaining national goals. These reports advance explanations for this

shortfall in performance and contain recommendations for improving

intra- and interorganizational performances. This set is seen as

presenting the policy agenda towards which this study's conceptualiza-

tion of agricultural research and technology transfer and findings are

to be directed.

The second set mainly represents statements by public sector

organizations as to their missions, programs, and clientele. In some

cases, they constitute explicit statements of changes in program empha-

sis; in others they constitute implicit shifts in programmatic emphasis;

in yet others, they mainly reassert traditional roles within a changing

environment. These reports, the missions and priorities they advance,

and the strategies they reflect concerning organizational responses to

the critiques presented in the first set, are themselves treated as

"data." They are viewed as "indicators" of the propensities of the

"The food and agricultural industry in the United States is by far
the largest of all U.S. industries. Our agricultural success is
based largely on adoption of technology developed through research.
Indeed, the application of science to agriculture has significantly
helped make the United States a giant of industrial enterprise. Despite
its continued notable achievements, the food and agricultural research
establishment is facing new problems that are exerting strains on goal
fulfillment. Of prime concern among scientists are indications that new
technological developments may not be keeping pace with our needs" (U.S.
Congress, Office of Technology Assessment (1981), An Assessment of the
United States Food and Agricultural Research System, Washington, D.C.,
p. 21).

various organizations to adapt to changing external environments and to

the directions of these changes, if any.

The third set represents a group of inquiries that overlap this

study. These inquiries represent a number of alternative disciplinary

and methodological perspectives. Some of the studies tend to be more

quantitative than this study, and as such, provide an independent check

on the findings and interpretations offered in this report. Others

(e.g., Lipman-Blumen and Schram; Rubenstein and Geisler) are contempora-

neous with this study, share a common methodology, being heavily rooted

in interviews with nonrandom sets of respondents, and explore in greater

depth than this study selected aspects of the total agricultural tech-

nology delivery system on which this study focuses. Thus, they not only

provide an independent check on this study's interpretations, but at the

same time also provide data and insights that enter significantly into

our analyses and recommendations.

It is our view that the findings in this study are consistent with

the major findings emerging from other current studies, and moreover,

that this study, in the main, provides an institutional and qualitative

complement to this other work. In addition, this study offers a unique

perspective because it integrates both organizational surveys and tech-

nological case histories. As such, it identifies issues concerning

Yet a fourth set exists--those appearing contemporaneously with
this study, which like this study focus on policy issues relating to the
capabilities of the traditional public sector system to reform itself in
response to a wide set of criticisms. Cf. Glenn Johnson and Sylvan
Wittwer, "Agricultural Technology Until 2030: Prospects, Priorities, and
Policies," Michigan State University, Agricultural Experiment Station,
Special Report 12, July 1984.

organizational roles and relationships that are not apparent in any of

the three sets of reports noted above, and at points offers a more

complex portrayal of interrelationships than are provided by principal

methodological reliance on mail or telephone surveys. Thus, although in

good measure the study restates well-known findings in agricultural

research and technology transfer--e.g., the fragmented links between

research on human nutrition and agricultural production, the competing

pressures upon ARS concerning its long-term "basic" or near-term

"applied" research agendas--the study places these issues in a broader

context that makes possible a fuller analysis of the need for and likely

consequences of alternative public policies.

II. Policy Focus

The principal objective of the report was to "identify critical

issues and problems in the transfer of agricultural, food and related

technologies and suggest alternatives and recommendations regarding

governmental roles and strategies for response to such issues and


The policy setting for this study has been well described in

several other studies that have similarly examined aspects of agricul-

tural research and technology transfer.6 Agricultural output has more

5"The Transfer of Agricultural, Food and Related Technologies," op.
cit., p. 5.

6U.S. General Accounting Office (1983), Federal Agricultural
Research Funding: Issues and Concerns (October 20); Federal Agricul-
tural Research Facilities are Underused (January 14, 1983); Cooperative
Extension Service's Mission and Federal Role Need Congressional Clarifi-
cation (1981); OTA, An Assessment, op. cit.

than doubled since 1940 with a relatively constant supply of inputs.7

USDA-Economic Research Service data indicate that total factor produc-

tivity (output per unit of all inputs) increased by 2.0 percent annually

between 1939-1960, but at a rate of only 0.9 percent annually between

1960-1970. The Gollop-Jorgenson data, covering an overlapping period,

put the average annual rates of growth in agricultural productivity

between 1947-1973 at 1.7 percent, a rate of growth higher than all but 5

of 45 industrial sectors surveyed.8

The historic contribution of publicly-supported research and

cooperative extension activities to improvements in agricultural produc-

tivity also has been extensively documented, as have been the high rates

of social return on public investments in agricultural research and

extension, and the complementarity between investments in research and
extension. From the perspective of "social rate of return" criteria,

the issue has not been whether a satisfactory rate of return existed but

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service (1982),
Economic Indicators of the Farm Sector: Production and Efficiency
Statistics, 1980, Statistical Bulletin 679. See also B. R. Eddleman,
L. D. Teigen, and J. C. Purcell (1982), "Productivity in U. S. Food and
Agriculture: Implications for Research and Education," Southern Journal
of Agricultural Economics (December).

8Frank Gollop and Dale Jorgenson (1980), "U.S. Productivity Growth
by Industry, 1947-73," in New Developments in Productivity Measurement
and Analysis, edited by John Kendrick and Beatrice Vaccara (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press); National Bureau of Economic Research,
Studies in Income and Wealth 44, pp. 17-24, Table 1.30.

Evenson, Waggoner, and Ruttan, op. cit.; Bonnen, op. cit.

why, given the level of return, there has been an erosion in real terms

of public support of these activities.10

Clearly, social rate of return criteria alone do not shape percep-

tions of the performance of organizations that historically have formed

the core of the public sector's involvement in agricultural research and

technology transfer: the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Coopera-

tive State Research Service (CSRS), and Extension Service (ES) within

the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the state agricultural experi-

ment stations (SAES) and Cooperative Extension Services (CES) adminis-

tered through (1862 and 1890) land-grant universities.

Criticisms of public sector research have been made concerning

(a) its pedestrian and duplicative nature; (b) its inattentiveness to

the impacts that its pursuit of productivity-enhancing research has on

environmental quality, the size distribution of farms, and labor dis-

placement; (c) its purported selective orientation to the needs of

large-size producers; and (d) its redundancy to the activities of newly

emerging private sector capabilities. Criticisms of cooperative exten-

sion as they relate to agricultural and food-related research and tech-

nology transfer have centered mainly on (a) the purported diversion of

extension activities away from extension's traditional commitment to an

agricultural producer's orientation towards provision of a broad range

of social services; (b) the erosion of the technical cogency of

"If the USDA-state agricultural research system is efficient and
if it continues to achieve high rates of return, why does the political
process, motivated by organized producers and their legislative allies,
continue to undervalue, and to underinvest in, public sector agricul-
tural research?" (Vernon Ruttan (1982), Agricultural Research Policy
(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press), pp. 254-255).

extension-based services; and (c) extension's purported orientation

toward large-scale, capital-intensive farms rather than traditional

family-size farms.

To this "macro" set of criticisms may be added yet another set

concerning the "micro" workings of specific organizations--the exces-

sively large and underutilized number of laboratories operated by ARS;

the slow rate of completion and turnover of projects supported by Hatch

funds at state agricultural experiment stations; the equivocal commit-

ment and quality of evaluation efforts in extension. These criticisms

relate to the performance of the public agricultural research and tech-

nology transfer system. Dissatisfaction with performance, in turn,

leads to attention to the structure of the system, the characteristics

of the organizations, singly and collectively, that comprise the public

sector system.

Criticism concerning structure strikes at one of the cardinal

features of the traditional system--its ability to adapt effectively to

changing conditions. As Evenson has observed in referring to findings

that research and extension activities have contributed to agricultural

productivity over long periods of time and that these activities have

yielded high rates of social return:

these research institutions have been productive over a long
period of time. They have had the capacity to be oriented to
clientele groups to produce research findings of value, and, at the
same time by investing in related scientific research in the
institutional framework of the experiment station, they have
managed to replenish invention and discovery potential.

these research and extension institutions were productive
over the whole of the past century. This sustained productivity

was attributed to a capacity for institutional change which in tury
was associated with a capacity to respond to clientele interests.

The contribution of existing public sector organizations to agri-

cultural productivity has rested on their combined capability to gener-

ate, convert, adopt, and disseminate research findings in a manner that

provides an incentive for the profit-oriented producer to incorporate

them into firm-specific production functions. Evenson's statement high-

lights the underlying common denominator to many of the criticisms of

the public sector. It is not that there is a documentable, dammed-up

supply of scientific findings which have not been satisfactorily applied

to agriculture, or that there are practical solutions "on the shelf" of

ARS or SAES researchers which are not reaching end users because of

imperfections in the technology delivery system. Rather, it is that the

current stock of knowledge from which annual gains in productivity have

been drawn is being depleted, that increased quantities of research are
needed if only to maintain existing levels of productivity, that new

advances in fundamental science, principally in biotechnology, offer

great promise for replenishing the stock of knowledge from which future

Evenson, "Agriculture," op. cit., p. 268.
"A review of aggregate farm productivity data indicates some
leveling off in total farm productivity since the mid-1960s, but an even
bigger concern for the future is that the past sources of productivity
growth have now been heavily exploited and that future growth rates may
decline severely." W. B. Sundquist (1984), "Agriculture's Productivity
and Technology Base," paper prepared for the AAAS Program on Knowledge
Base, for the 1985 Agricultural and Food Policy Conference, New York
City, p. 6. Also, Yao-chi Lu, Philip Cline, and LeRoy Quance (1979),
Prospects for Productivity Growth in U.S. Agriculture, USDA Economics,
Statistics, and Cooperative Service, Agriculture Economic Report No.

productivity gains may be harvested,13 and, finally, that the public

institutions which historically have performed agricultural research

have in recent years not shown the capacity for institutional change

that would permit them to replenish their invention and discovery


It is important to note that this visible set of concerns relates

principally to the characteristics (and quality) of the research per-

formed under the auspices of ARS and the SAES system. It does not

address the set of issues concerning existing linkages between research

and technology transfer activities or those that can be projected to

emerge if agricultural research institutions were reformed along lines

advocated by their critics.

III. Conceptual Framework: Technology Delivery and Open Systems

The scope of the study is limited to technology; its limits are

determined by the concept of technology transfer employed. The study is

about agricultural, food, and related technologies. It focuses on

organizational relationships that affect research and technology trans-

fer activities related to agricultural production and to selected
aspects of human nutrition.4 The definition of technology that

13"The outlook for agricultural research and technology during the
remainder of this century and the first quarter of the next may be
outstanding. Science is providing us the basis on which to build new
technologies more powerful than any available before" (Ralph W. Hardy
(1983), "The Outlook for Agricultural Research and Technology" in
Agriculture in the Twenty-First Century, edited by John Rosenblum (New
York: John Wiley & Sons), pp. 91-103; p. 91).

1For a related study that addresses renewable resources, see David
(Footnote Continued)

underlies the study encompasses, as defined in the USDA prospectus, the

"devices, techniques, knowledge, and skills by which people control and

utilize physical and biological phenomena including their own bodies."

This definition of technology--"hardware" and "software"; production

technique and production practice--is used throughout the study. This

definition is also in keeping with studies on sources of productivity

gains in agriculture, which have emphasized both the application of

specific new techniques, e.g., seeds, herbicides, and equipment, and the

application of new farm practices concerning the combination, use, and

timing of these technologies. This definition of technology is also in

keeping with the activities of both public sector and private sector

organizations as they seek to develop and disseminate new technologies.

However broad its definition of technology transfer, the study

cannot be and is not intended to be an examination of all the roles and

missions of the organizations surveyed. Most public sector organiza-

tions have multiple missions and therefore multiple roles. Colleges of

agriculture and state agricultural experiment stations are involved not

only in agricultural research but also in graduate education, which

depends on continuous research to remain intellectually vital. ARS has

a research agenda that on the one hand is intended to permit USDA to

occupy a lead role in agricultural science, but that also involves

applied research that assists other federal agencies in establishing

regulatory standards.

(Footnote Continued)
L. Rogers, E. Bartlett, and A. Dyer, "The State and Federal System of
Research and Extension for Private Forestland Management, Wood Utiliza-
tion, and Rangeland Management" (Colorado State University, forthcoming

Cooperative extension, even within its agricultural programs, has

goals that extend beyond facilitating the dissemination of new technolo-

gies to the improvement of agricultural productivity and soil conserva-

tion, and, in addition, has programs in home economics, community

development, and 4-H. Moreover, in seeking to contribute to the well-

being of agricultural producers, the services provided by cooperative

extension that do not directly relate to technology transfer may be as

important, if not more so, than those considered in this study.15

Economic advice on participation in government farm programs--at times

an activity of cooperative extension--may be important to farmers in

determining the profitability of their enterprises, indeed may be more

so than any single change in production practice--but this activity

extends beyond the domain of technology transfer as operationalized in

this study. As D. Gale Johnson noted in his 1981 Seaman Knapp Memorial

Lecture concerning the convergence over the past 20 years of average

family farm to nonfarm income:

The improvements in the average level of income and the reduction
in inequality have not been due to the efforts of the agricultural
research institutions or to the billions spent on U.S. farm pro-
grams. The improvement has occurred as a result of the greater
integration of rural and urban families. .

What role has extension's activities had in all this? The greater
integration of rural and urban societies has been the result of
improved communication, greater and lower cost flow of information,
and reductions in the cost of transportation in terms of time and
money. Extension service may well have had an important and
indirect role in improving the capacities of rural people to both

5Charles Beer (1983), "Extension Programs Technology Transfer
and More," paper presented to the American Society of Agronomy
Symposium, "Soil and Water Conservation in the 80's, Increasing
Challenges with Diminishing Resources."

acquire information about nonfarm opportunities and to effectively
utilize that information in making appropriate decisions.

The presence of multiple missions permeates any examination of

organizational roles and relationships in research and technology trans-

fer. It is not possible to consider organizations solely as components

in a technology delivery system if only because the statutory language

that authorizes the programs that these organizations operate or admin-

ister generally sets forth multiple missions. A common theme to this

and other overviews of public sector organizations is the multiple and

at times competing pressures upon them to meet different aspects of

their mandates. This is not a situation unique to agriculture; rather,

it is a general characteristic of public programs. A basic difference

exists between a study in which the unit of analysis is the global mis-

sions and roles of an organization, and one in which the unit of analy-

sis is a particular function or activity. This study is of the latter


Central to comprehending the scope of the study is the definition

of technology transfer employed. The prospectus defines technology

transfer as "the diffusion (spread) of technology from its developers to

and among populations of potential users of the technology. This

includes technology's spread from researchers and technology developers

to: (a) individuals or groups who serve primarily to diffuse technology

and (b) individual or groups who are its ultimate users." The essence

16D. Gale Johnson, "Agricultural Productivity in the United States.
Some Sources of Remarkable Achievement," 1981 Seaman Knapp Lecture,
National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges
Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C.

of this definition is used in the study, but in a somewhat broader con-


In the extensive literature on technology transfer, the term is

used in various ways, but generally to denote processes or activities

more narrow than our conceptualization.7 This study employs the

concept and terms of an (integrated) technology delivery system to

encompass the set of activities--the introduction, diffusion, and dis-

semination of a technology--undertaken by public and private sector

organizations relevant to this study.18

The study conceives of a technology delivery system that includes

the following stages: (1) the delineation of research priorities,

(2) the performance of various types of research, (3) the conversion of

research findings into economically useful production practices and

The term "technology transfer" has a range of definitions and
uses. At the federal level, technology transfer frequently refers to
the utilization of research sponsored by mission agencies, or at times
has been synonymous with the concept of spin-offs, e.g., the transfer of
research findings from an initial application to a subsequent one.
". .. technology transfer programs can have at least four different
types of objectives--i.e., to improve research utilization, to develop
organizational capabilities, to serve spinoff functions from other R&D
activities, and to provide technical assistance. Depending upon the
nature of the objectives, different criteria should be applied in
assessing these programs, including impact, utilization, output and in-
put criteria" (U.S. House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Science,
Research and Technology of the Committee on Science and Technology
(1978), Domestic Technology Transfer: Issues and Options, 95th
Congress, Second Session, Serial CCC, Volume I (November), p. 2).

8We speak of "encompassing" rather than extending, because we con-
sider the process of technological change to be an iterative, nonlinear
one, starting possibly at the point at which the end user defines his
needs or experiments with new production forms as well as with basic,
laboratory-based research, and because we consider the possibilities of
specific "stages" being omitted or merged to the point of indistinguish-
ability with other stages.

technologies, (4) the development of ancillary information on the use of

the practices and technologies to accord with site-specific production

settings, (5) the demonstration of new research findings and new tech-

nologies to an initial set of users, (6) the subsequent spread of the

new practices to a larger set of users, and (7) the iterative feedback

of changes in research activities, adaptive modifications, and conse-

quent changes in use patterns that follow from use of the technology.

Stages 1 and 2 are considered research activities; stages 3 through 6

constitute technology transfer as defined in this study; stage 7 is the

integration of research and technology transfer.

This system of activities corresponds to several stages that have

been variously identified in different accounts of the processes) of

technological change. "Stage" theories abound. To cite a few:

"Invention, innovation, diffusion" (Schumpeter); "recognition, idea

formulation, problem solving, solution, utilization and diffusion, pre-
commercial, commercial" (Myers and Marquis);9 "basic research, applied

research, development, testing evaluation, manufacturing/packaging,

marketing/dissemination" (National Science Foundation);20 "basic labora-

tory research; the identification of potential commercial applications;

the assessment of technical feasibility, applied research, the prepara-

tion of product specifications; construction of a prototype or pilot

S. Myers and D. G. Marquis (1969), Successful Industrial Innova-
tions: A Study of Factors Underlying Innovation in Selected Firms
(Washington, D.C.: National Science Foundation).

20National Science Foundation, Productivity Improvement Research
Section (1983), The Process of Technological Innovation: Reviewing the
Literature (Washington, D.C.: National Science Foundation), p. 20.

plant; tooling and construction of manufacturing facilities; initial

manufacturing and marketing; reassessment of commercial potential;

licensing and so forth, leading to widespread imitation" (Congressional

Budget Office).21

These stages do not constitute a linear, unidirectional set of

sequences. Recent studies and literature reviews are quite clear in

treating the basic research/applied research/development/diffusion or

alternatively phrased sequences as only one of a possible set of rela-

tionships leading to the introduction and use of new techniques. As

Kelly and Kranzberg note in their review of theories of innovation:

As we reviewed the various theories and models, we began to realize
that in almost every major innovation of recent times, each func-
tional phase is linked in some way to the other. Every phase in
our block diagram has lines connecting it to and from every other
block in the diagram. Instead of a linear-sequential picture of a
neat flow chart with single lines going from one block to another22
we had a graphic portrayal of a plate of spaghetti and meatballs.

The relationship between science and technology also is complex.

Advances in science may both precede and be a necessary condition for

advances in technology. This relationship, however, is not automatic.

Technology can proceed without changes in science since technology

derives from a different knowledge base than does science. Improvements

in design, rules of operation, adjustment to changing conditions through

trial and error and through exploitation of a current knowledge base can

lead to sustained increases in productivity for considerable periods of

21Congress of the United States, Congressional Budget Office
(1981), Federal Support for R&D and Innovation (April), p. 7.

22Patrick Kelly and Melvin Kranzberg, eds. (1978), Technological
Innovation: A Critical Review of Current Knowledge (San Francisco: San
Francisco University Press), p. 13.

time. Furthermore, advances in technology may themselves push against

the limits of scientific knowledge and thus set the scientific agenda.

As Rosenberg has noted,

thus the normal situation in the past and to a considerable
degree also in the present is that technological knowledge has
preceded scientific knowledge technology has served as an
enormous repository of empirical knowledge to be scrutinized and
evaluated by the scientists. It is still far from unusual for
engineers in many industries to solve problems for which there is
no scientific explanation and for the engineering solution to
generate the subsequent scientific research that eventually pro-
vides the explanation. The sequence, of course, has been less
common in industries founded on scientific research, for example,
those based on electricity. The sequence by which technologi-
cal knowledge preceded scientific knowledge has by no means been
eliminated in the 20th century. Much of the work of the scientist
today involves systematizing and restructuring the knowledge and
the workable practical solutions and methods previously accumulated
by the technologies. Technology has shaped science in important
ways because it required some forms of knowledge first, and pro-
vided data that, in turn, became the explicanda of scientists, who
attempted to explain or codify them at a deeper level.

Just as engineering has led scientific knowledge in many areas of

technology, farmers qua inventors and adaptors of farm technology have

led both engineers and scientists in some areas. Prime examples are

found in the case studies of conservation tillage and the large round

hay baler (volume 4).

Central to the performance of the American agricultural research

and technology transfer system, as noted earlier, is the existence of

systematic linkages among these activities, reflected first in organiza-

tional and role specialization (e.g., researcher, extension specialist,

county agent), and then in intra- and interorganizational coordination

23Nathan Rosenberg (1981), "How Exogenous is Science?" in Inside
the Black Box (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 141-162;
p. 144.

(e.g., experiment station researchers and extension specialists within

colleges of agriculture; CSRS as a link between ARS and the state agri-

cultural experiment stations). This perspective is a restatement of the

historic uniqueness of research and technology transfer in American

agriculture, namely, that it has constituted an integrated technology

delivery system.

Open Systems

Although this report is couched in terms of a technology delivery

framework and is redolent with the concepts and phrases of economics,

its approach is analogous to the open systems planning approach pre-

sented in the Lipman-Blumen and Schram study. As noted by these


A fundamental tenet of systems theory is interdependency. That is,
each component of the wider system affects and is influenced by
every other component. A "problem" or a dysfunction in one part is
a "message" to the whole system. A systems perspective suggests
that difficulty in any one component is a problem for the whole
system. As in biological ecostructures, no unit is an "island" but
rather a reflection of the whole. Sub-units within any one organi-
zation, such as Extension, CSRS, or ARS (within USDA), may inter-
act, communicate, negotiate and establish territory. Adaptation is
the evolutionary response to environmental shifts, and likewise, in
systems 4a redefinition may occur to meet new environmental

This systems approach is central to our findings and recommenda-

tions. We adopt this perspective because our study leads us to the con-

clusion that the concurrent revitalization of the ARS-SAES-CES segments

of the public agricultural research and technology transfer system

2Lipman-Blumen and Schram (1983), The Paradox of Success
(USDA-Science and Education), p. v.

central policy decisions relate to the optimal degree of competition

from other public and private organizations to the traditional roles of

the USDA-SAES-CES system in research and technology transfer. The con-

tent of these decisions, in turn, relates to issues concerning: (a) the

"uniqueness" of what the traditional system could do if its performance

were improved; and (b) conversely, the potential loss of overall

national effectiveness if agricultural R&D is significantly diminished

or allowed to atrophy.25 Such a deterioration--in terms of both the

return on the public investment in research and the rapid dissemination

of socially relevant knowledge--could occur if either the traditional

public sector system fails to adjust, or, in response to perceptions of

new scientific opportunities going unexploited because of ossification

in the traditional sector, the federal government substantially reduces

or rechannels its support for agricultural research and technology

transfer to other organizations, which while performing "better"

disciplinary-based agricultural research fail either to undertake the

problem-solving research needed in agriculture or to link research and

technology transfer activities.26

This perspective is not unique to our study; it appears with
increasing frequency in many current assessments of agricultural
research and extension. Cf. Emery Castle (1981), "How to Change
Agricultural Research and Extension To Make It A Better Investment," in
Increasing Understanding of Public Problems and Policies (Oak Brook,
Illinois: The Farm Foundation), pp. 49-54.

26See Johnson and Wittwer, op. cit., for a fuller discussion of
these categories of agricultural research. See also, Robert Evenson
(1984), "Scientific Credibility and Applied Agricultural Research,"
paper presented at the 1984 AAAS Symposium Agricultural Research Policy.

For example, several studies have pointed to the "aging" of the

scientific personnel within ARS and have called for policies that

encourage the recruitment of new scientists, especially those with

training in basic as compared to applied (agricultural) scientific

disciplines. Intellectual replenishment and rejuvenation of its pool of

scientists is a generic need of scientific organizations--witness the

lamentations about the tenuring in of and aging of university faculties.

Thus, personnel policies that permit ARS to recruit scientists in order

to remain current with new scientific developments have merit from this

perspective alone. The issue of the scientific currency of personnel,

however, takes on more importance when viewed in terms of the interrela-

tionships among organizations in an open systems environment. For

example, based on interview responses, perceptions of the declining

"scientific quality" of ARS appear to be affecting the allocation of

federal dollars for agricultural research between ARS and other federal

agencies and the employment decisions that graduate students from

research-oriented, land-grant universities are making (or being encour-

aged to make). These decisions, in turn, impact on the type and quality

of research that the ARS is capable of performing.

Similarly, an "open systems technology perspective" raises the

question of the mission of cooperative extension in a different context

than is often presented. For many purposes, questions of whether

cooperative extension is defined as an "educational system" or a "tech-

nology transfer" system are, in the case of agricultural production at

least, largely moot. The same set of activities--demonstrations, field

tours, brochures on recommended practices--readily fits into either or

both classifications. In the larger context of a technology delivery

system, however, the two conceptualizations may lead to different

emphases on the skills and activities of extension specialists and agri-

cultural county agents and serve either to strengthen or to attenuate

the bonds between the "research" and the "transfer/extension" links in

the technology delivery system.

The study emphasizes the interdependency of units, first, within

the traditional, public sector in the context of competition (for

resources, prestige) with a newer set of public and private organiza-

tions that have advanced claims to perform many (but not all) of the

functions that they historically performed, and second, the "problems"

caused by apparent differences in the rate at which different components

within the traditional system adapt to the new environment. As each

part responds to the dominant set of external and internal influences

upon its activities, it may move towards or away from complementing the

activities of the organizations to which it is linked, formally or

informally, in constituting a technology delivery system. The overall

systems goal as each organization or set of organizations seeks to

respond to changing environments is to have these changes occur in a way

that at least maintains the performance capabilities of the system, and

more positively, serves to improve overall performance.

Improved articulation between stages, however, is not inherent in

all reforms, regardless of whether they are couched in the framework or

phraseology of "coordination," "planning," or "priority setting."

Alternatively, changes that occur in program emphases, recruitment, and

promotion criteria, organizational and physical arrangements, and opera-

tional emphases, in fact, may yield such articulation even in the

absence of formal pronouncements.

The links between the formal systems framework and those embedded

in the technology delivery framework offered here are best seen in

Ruttan's statement of agricultural research policy issues.

Although the evidence is not yet conclusive, it is hard for me to
escape the conclusion that the institutional changes introduced to
implement national science policy after World War II have contrib-
uted to the disarticulation rather than to the strengthening of the
linkages between advances in knowledge and technology development.
There is a critical need for the architects of national science
policy to give attention to the problem of how to institutionalize
more effective articulation between advances in knowledge and
advances in technology. And we must be particularly careful, in
those areas where articulation is effectively institutionalized,
that the re frms that are introduced do not lead to further disar-

A concept common to several disciplinary perspectives of an organi-

zation's relations to its external environment is that the organization

exchanges a bundle of goods and services for resources (revenues, appro-

priations), "policy space," and social influence. The ability of the

organization to obtain a flow of resources from the outside depends upon

a configuration of factors. These factors, in the case of public

organizations, include (1) legislative or constitutional mandates that

establish it as the principal or sole provider of a service and thus

entitle it to public revenues; (2) assessments of its performance that

make continued provision of resources a socially productive investment;

(3) political relationships that permit members of the organization or

its clientele to influence key executive or legislative decision makers;

(4) tradition, which in the absence of any crisis in performance of

other systematic forms of evaluation, provides a continued flow of

2Vernon Ruttan (1983), "Agricultural Research Policy Issues," The
B.Y. Morrison Memorial Lecture, HortScience 18(6), pp. 809-818;
pp. 811-812.

resources independent of other factors; and (5) nostalgia, which means

continuing of symbolic gestures to historically important, albeit

currently marginal, arrangements. At any particular time these differ-

ent factors coalesce to shape the perceptions of the external environ-

ment towards the organization and affect the terms on which it is will-

ing to conduct the exchange. The relative weights of these factors

often change slowly and imperceptibly until a flurry of external criti-

cism surfaces. Different interested parties are very likely to hold

different perceptions of the current relative weights of these factors.

Clearly, the historic declines in the agricultural and rural popu-

lations have served to reduce the political base for agricultural

research and extension in terms of its traditional agricultural clien-

tele. Interviews with university, state, and federal representatives,

as well as formal studies, indicate their awareness of the reduced

numbers of legislators on agricultural committees or appropriations

committees who have historic ties to the agricultural sector or to the

land-grant university, notwithstanding the continuing influence of key

legislators, and of the eroding political base for agricultural

The theme garnered from the interviews is that relative weights

have shifted towards increased emphasis on a performance-based assess-

ment of the traditional sector. Performance, in terms of the current

policy milieu, is primarily defined, not in terms of historic

See also, Susan Rose-Ackerman and Robert Evenson (1983),
Federalism, Reappointment and Innovation: The Case of Agricultural
Research and Extension, Yale University, Economic Growth Center, Center
Discussion Paper No. 432 (January); Hadwiger, op. cit.

contributions to productivity but in the "quality" of science in ARS and

SAES, and, to a lesser degree, the "relevance" of cooperative extension.

IV. Relationship to Other Studies

This study covers many of the same issues treated in other studies.

The most important feature of the aggregate of several concurrent

studies is that although they reflect a diversity of disciplinary per-

spectives--sociology, organizational theory, political science,

economics--the studies are largely congruent and mutually reinforcing.

They either report the same findings, or they advance findings concern-

ing behavioral aspects of components of the agricultural research and

technology transfer system that either underlie or are consistent with

analytical themes or findings contained in other studies. For example,

Busch and Lacy's study of agricultural scientists reports a bifurcation

in "criteria for problem choice according to the percentage of time a

scientist allocates to basic research":

Scientists devoted to basic research are more likely to consider
criteria that represent a commitment to scientific ideals, includ-
ing scientific curiosity and potential contribution of the research
to scientific theory.

In contrast, those with a lower percentage of their research time
devoted to basic problems are more likely to view client needs and
the utility of the research as important for their research pro-

Busch and Lacy end their analysis as follows: "There is, then, a

clear and strong relationship between a scientist's research orientation

and the criteria considered in developing a research agenda. It is

29Busch and Lacy, op. cit., p. 71.

likely as well that this orientation in turn affects the process,

products, and dissemination of the research."30 In our study this

surmise concerning the relationship between the research orientation of

agricultural scientists and the "dissemination" process becomes a major


There are several important differences, however, between this

study and others.

(a) It includes a larger array of public sector organizations

beyond the traditional USDA/land-grant university set than is

typical in other studies. More important, given the dollar

volume of support for agricultural research that other federal

systems provide relative to USDA, the study treats them as

"principals" rather than as "walk-ons," whose activities must

be taken into account by the traditional organizations and in

the formation of agricultural research and technology transfer


(b) It is rooted in a conceptualization of a technology delivery

system that includes the complete set of stages or activities

that link research, development, and diffusion.31


31For example, Warner and Christenson's study of cooperative exten-
sion "focuses on the Extension organization as a whole, not on specific
components" (Warner and Christenson, 1984, op. cit., p. 40). In con-
trast, this study focuses on those components of extension in agricul-
ture and human nutrition that link research and technology transfer.
Extension is considered as a whole only to the extent that organization-
wide missions and roles shape the intra-organizational environment in
which this specific component is conducted. Similarly, in contrast to
Warner and Christenson's work, this study examines the "unique features"
(Footnote Continued)

(c) It focuses both on internal organizational processes for per-

forming specific activities (e.g., basic research, demonstra-

tion activities) and on how internal and external factors

affect the capability of the organization to link its activi-

ties with those of other organizations.

(d) It describes the activities of the private sector in both

research and technology transfer, and analyzes how these

activities affect traditional rationales for support of public

sector programs.

(e) It draws on quantitative and qualitative data to describe the

formal and informal roles, activities, and relationships among

organizations and historical case studies of the observed

roles performed by these organizations in the development and

transfer of a sample of agricultural technologies.

V. Methodology

This study employed a number of methodological approaches. (a) For

the review of previous case histories, a combination of snowballing and

computerized bibliographic searches was used to identify the relevant

literature, followed by use of the "case study method" developed by the

Case Study Institute, Cosmos Corporation, to systematically array the

findings from this literature about the themes of concern in this study.

(b) For preparation of the "maps" for the nine commodity and process

(Footnote Continued)
of a particular program, and seeks to provide "in-depth information of a
very specific nature" that they consider (correctly) not to be feasible
within more global examinations.

subsystems listed in the study prospectus, a combination of literature

reviews and snowballing techniques were employed to identify relevant

organizations and their linkages to other organizations. (c) For

the survey of organizational linkages, in-depth interviews were con-

ducted with representatives from various segments of public and private

sector organizations involved in research and technology transfer and

participant observations were made at several public meetings at which

representatives of these organizations discussed issues pertaining to

the scope of this study.32 (d) For the new case histories, library

research was combined with field research to document both the chrono-

logical history of the development of the sample technologies (center

pivot irrigation systems, the large round hay baler, the mechanical

tomato harvester, hybrid grain sorghum, artificial insemination, and

conservation tillage) and the roles of various organizations in this


The materials reported on in each study segment have undergone

extensive review. The commodity and process research subsystem chapters

were sent to knowledgeable individuals within each field, and the chap-

ters reporting on interviews in the survey states and in federal organi-

zations were sent to a number of interviewees from each site to check

the accuracy of the factual components of the chapters.

3This survey has included field interviews with administrators,
researchers, and extension personnel in land-grant universities in nine
states (Alabama, California, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, South Caro-
lina, Texas, Utah, and Vermont), and with representatives from ARS, CSRS
and ES, Food and Nutrition Service, and other units within USDA, other
federal agencies including NSF, NIH, and DOE, public interest groups,
non-land-grant universities, foundations, biotechnology firms, farm
(Footnote Continued)

The criteria employed to select the nine survey states and the six

technologies are described in volumes 2 and 4, respectively. For

present purposes, issues of sampling frames are more important regarding

the representativeness of the individuals interviewed within each state

and the private sector than are the selection of states. At the federal

level, interviews were conducted with the officials and program leaders

responsible for administering research and cooperative extension pro-

grams within USDA and with program officials in other federal agencies.

At the state level, interviews were conducted with "decision makers"

within the research and extension organizations of 1862 and 1890 land-

grant colleges of agriculture, and with a varying number of researchers,

extension specialists, and county agents. Researchers and extension

specialists were selected principally on the extent to which their

activities overlapped with the academic boundaries or functional areas

relevant to the technologies covered in the case study segment of the

project. County agents were identified by cooperative extension

officials, and were selected on the basis of three criteria: involve-

ment in activities related to the commodity subsystems covered by the

study; involvement with the technologies covered in the case study

segment of the project; and location in a major agricultural county in

the state. During the state site visits, interviews also were conducted

with ARS researchers located at or nearby the land-grant campus.

Other than being successful in covering the "universe" of officials

responsible for administering agricultural research and cooperative

(Footnote Continued)
equipment manufacturers, the agricultural press, and equipment

extension programs in each state, the site visits do not necessarily

constitute a representative sample of any of the other groups covered.

Such a sampling framework was not intended. Efforts to maintain strict

comparability among the site visits were further complicated by the

distance between land-grant and ARS locations in some states, and the

unavailability, because of schedule conflicts or distance, of individ-

uals who might have filled designated sampling slots.

Private sector organizations were selected for interviews on two

principal, overlapping criteria: involvement in the development of one

or more of the new case study technologies (e.g., the large round hay

baler--Deere, Sperry-New Holland, Vermeer; hybrid grain sorghum--DeKalb,

Pioneer Hi-Bred), or their combined visibility both in agricultural

research and in representing the views of the private sector concerning

the future course of agricultural research and technology policies

(e.g., Pioneer Hi-Bred, Monsanto, DuPont). This approach leads to a

concentration on those firms that are typically regarded as the "lead-

ers" in their respective product lines, and that have larger internal

R&D programs than other firms within their respective industries.

The objective of both the state site visit interviews and those

with the private sector was not to do representative sampling as pre-

ludes to testing hypotheses, but to discover the variety of interactions

that various individuals (and organizations) have with one another dur-

ing the technology delivery process. The interviews also help to iden-

tify those interactions the interviewees deemed most influential in the

future effectiveness of the combined public sector/private sector


As noted earlier, wherever possible, summative statements from

these interviews and the case studies have been checked against other

more empirically-based research.33 The result is a "triangulation" of

findings. Reichardt and Cook's assessment of the use of qualitative and

quantitative methodological procedures is appropriate in this context:

Using qualitative and quantitative methods in tandem, or, indeed,
using any methods together, helps to correct for the inevitable
biases that are present in each method. With only one method, it
is impossible to separate the bias of the method from the under-
lying quantity or quality that one is trying to measure. But
several methods can be used together to triangulate upon the under-
lying "truth" separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.
Whereas any two or more methods can be used for this purpose,
disparate methods which still converge on the same operations are
better than similar ones because the former are likely to share
fewer biases than the latter. Often qualitative and quantitative34
methods work well together because they are relatively disparate.

3A further methodological observation: At several key points in
the overall analysis, what are presented as perceptions or informed
judgments are statements that could in fact be transformed into
empirically-based propositions. Changes in the background of state
legislators and their "awareness" of the agricultural missions of land-
grant universities, number of agronomists or agricultural engineers
employed by seed or equipment firms or distributors, "attitudes" of the
non-USDA/nonagricultural scientific communities towards the "quality" of
both science and research administration within ARS, CSRS, ES, and the
land-grant counterparts are amenable to quantification and to hypothesis

Such quantification was beyond the scope of the study but is cer-
tainly desirable. This quantification, per se, however, would not
necessarily affect the context or outcome of pending decisions concern-
ing agricultural and food technology policies. As emphasized throughout
this report, an underlying concern to many specific questions is not how
well traditional organizations have performed over the past decade or
so, but how probable it is that these organizations can adapt themselves
to perform effectively under new external conditions. On this, the past
and present, however precisely measured, remain imperfect guides, inde-
terminately superior to judgment and venturesomeness.
3Charles Reichardt and Thomas Cook (1979), "Beyond Qualitative
Versus Quantitative Methods," in Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in
Evaluation Research, edited by Thomas Cook and Charles Reichardt
(Beverly Hills, California: Sage Publications), pp. 7-33; p. 21.

VI. Organization of the Report

Shifting policy agendas create special conditions for a multi-year

study. Approximately four years have elapsed between the original

conceptualization of the study prospectus and the submission of this

report. The process of policy formation involves a recomputation of the

criticality of issues over time. Issues that were very important at the

time the study prospectus was released, e.g., the quality of long-range

planning conducted by ARS and the SAES, have become less salient.

Whether or not those at whom the criticisms were directed have initiated

appropriate changes has become more important. Other issues, however,

are essentially structural: that is, they relate to the basic justifica-

tions for public sector involvement in agricultural research and tech-

nology transfer. In particular, the question of the relative roles of

the public sector and the private sector in agricultural research and

technology transfer is more important today than it was approximately

five years ago.

The volume is organized around five major policy themes. In high-

lighting five themes from among the many issues covered by the study, we

have sought to balance adherence to the study prospectus with an assess-

ment of the issues likely to shape the near-term debates concerning the

general roles of the public sector and the role of specific public

sector organizations. In the main, these themes capture the current

policy debate and the questions set forth in the study prospectus. The

themes are as follows: chapter 2--articulation, coordination, and over-

sight of research priorities and performance; chapter 3--articulation

and coordination of public sector linkages between research and tech-

nology transfer; chapter 4--articulation and coordination of human

nutrition research and technology transfer programs in an agricultural

production system; chapter 5--organizational arrangements and incentives

for assessing the environmental and social impacts of agricultural

research and technology transfer; and chapter 6--relationships between

the public and private sectors in agricultural research and technology

transfer. A summary of the study's principal findings is presented in

chapter 7. Recommendations for future strategies for USDA-S&E are

presented in chapter 8.



I. Problem Statement

The U.S. public agricultural research system has played a major

role in increasing this nation's agricultural productivity. Supporters

and critics alike acknowledge the system's historic record in yielding a

"handsome rate of return."' But herein lies an anomaly: this acknowl-

edged success is frequently attributed largely to the system's diversity

and decentralization; yet, it is this very decentralization that has

created an impression that the system is "uncoordinated, duplicative,

and lacking a good basis for establishing research priorities.2 Some

quotes will illustrate. On the positive side:

The State, Federal, and private performers of agricultural science
and education programs are made up of a loosely knit network of
organizations, that allows for quick responses to local, State, and
National clientele needs.

as a model for the administration of a government-supported
applied R&D program, the agricultural system is quite instructive.

Emery N. Castle (1982), Statement before the Subcommittee on
Natural Resources, Agriculture Research and Environment, House Committee
on Science and Technology, during hearings on "The Nation's Long-Term
Agriculture Research Needs," July 29.

2Ibid., p. 3.

Joint Council on Food and Agricultural Sciences (1983), FY 1985
Priorities for Research, Extension and Higher Education, A Report to the
Secretary of Agriculture.



I. Problem Statement

The U.S. public agricultural research system has played a major

role in increasing this nation's agricultural productivity. Supporters

and critics alike acknowledge the system's historic record in yielding a

"handsome rate of return."' But herein lies an anomaly: this acknowl-

edged success is frequently attributed largely to the system's diversity

and decentralization; yet, it is this very decentralization that has

created an impression that the system is "uncoordinated, duplicative,

and lacking a good basis for establishing research priorities.2 Some

quotes will illustrate. On the positive side:

The State, Federal, and private performers of agricultural science
and education programs are made up of a loosely knit network of
organizations, that allows for quick responses to local, State, and
National clientele needs.

as a model for the administration of a government-supported
applied R&D program, the agricultural system is quite instructive.

Emery N. Castle (1982), Statement before the Subcommittee on
Natural Resources, Agriculture Research and Environment, House Committee
on Science and Technology, during hearings on "The Nation's Long-Term
Agriculture Research Needs," July 29.

2Ibid., p. 3.

Joint Council on Food and Agricultural Sciences (1983), FY 1985
Priorities for Research, Extension and Higher Education, A Report to the
Secretary of Agriculture.

It is highly decentralized, and specific resource allocation
decisions are made at state and county levels.

the system traditionally has been decentralized, that is,
project leaders, department heads, and deans within the universi-
ties could exercise considerable autonomy, as could their counter-
parts within USDA. Decentralization also has enabled information
to flow into the system at many different levels.

And on the negative:

The complexity of the research situation led to the conclusion that
it [the system] was out of control, duplicating research, and
unaccountab e. Hearings tended to fortify rather than refute this

Critics have frequently called for more formal planning by the

principal public organizations, citing little evidence of planning in

the system as it currently operates. A 1981 GAO report entitled, "Long-

Range Planning Can Improve the Efficiency of Agricultural Research and

Development," noted that

The U.S. agricultural research and development system does not
perform national long-range planning which would7meet or satisfy
generally accepted definitions of such planning.

In congressional hearings in 1982 on "The Nation's Long-Term Agricul-

tural Research Needs," OTA's representative concurred:

No satisfactory long-term process exists for evaluating research
activities, research opportunities, and development of research
priorities within the food and agricultural system. Decisions are

Richard R. Nelson and Richard N. Langlois (1983), "Industrial
Innovation Policy: Lessons from American History," Science 219
(February 18), p. 817.

Castle, op. cit., p. 2.

OTA, op. cit., p. 140.

U.S. General Accounting Office (1981), "Long-Range Planning Can
Improve the Efficiency of Agricultural Research and Development"

made on an ad hoc basis with little coordination among USDA, SAES,
and other agencies conducting food and agricultural research.

The OTA's Assessment was especially critical vis-a-vis the lack of


With the present structure of USDA, there is some question as to
whether USDA has a national research program or merely a series of
local and regional activities. Consequently, USDA and SAES appear
to be working on seemingly indistinguishable problems. Many
people, including Congress, have voiced concern that little, if
any, overall planning and coordination of research exist, especi-
ally at top levels of administration. They question whether
national issues are receiving adequate attention.9 Further, there
seems to be much duplication and vying for funds.

OTA characterized the food and agricultural research system as being in

"disarray," and in need of "some degree of relatedness among the

research participants," specifically USDA and SAES.10

Other observers of the system acknowledge the appeal of coordina-

tion or planning for such a large decentralized system but are wary of

anything that suggests centralization or control. They question both

the wisdom and the sheer feasibility of long-range planning and central-

ization of national agricultural research priorities in particular and

of the agricultural research system in general.

if this [a central control group] were to happen the decen-
tralized system no longer would be decentralized. I believe this
would destroy a very large part of the creativity of the system--
the freedom of the individual researcher to pursue promising ideas
and the opportunity of the users of research to register their
thoughts and their needs at different points within the system.

8Michael J. Phillips (1982), Statement before the Subcommittee on
Natural Resources, Agriculture Research and Environment, House Committee
on Science and Technology, during hearings on "The Nation's Long-Term
Agriculture Research Needs," July 27, p. 3.

Phillips, ibid, p. 15.

OTA, op. cit., p. 4.

I have very little confidence in the effectiveness of centralized
research priorities, for I have engaged in such activities and know
the inevitable result is compromise that makes little scientific
sense. In my view, coordination and joint planning at the
national and regional levels should be modest in scale and the
expectati ns of what they can accomplish should be lowered appro-

Still others, often individuals within the system, argue that more

coordination and planning exist in the system than critics recognize:

Each institution/agency has specific roles interaction among
"performers" grows out of program linkages and coordination
developed through cooperative planning and shared institutional
processes. This informal set of linkages provides for articulation
among scientists and promotes developments that have helped estab-
lish a system-wide approachln research, extension, and higher
education (emphasis added).

The conflicting perceptions of the system are clear, and the

tensions obvious. The basic issue becomes one of reconciling these

varying perceptions into some consensus about what has made the system

work in the past and what is needed to maintain its productivity in the


The focus of this chapter is the articulation, coordination, and

oversight of public agricultural research priorities and performance.

The discussion centers primarily about the Agricultural Research Service

(ARS), the state agricultural experiment stations (SAES), and the

Cooperative State Research Service (CSRS), the primary organizational

units of the traditional public agricultural research system. The

material is presented under three major headings: (1) the structure of

the agricultural research system, (2) planning, setting priorities, and

Castle, op. cit., pp. 2-4.

12Joint Council, op. cit., p. 13.

coordinating research, and (3) the funding of agricultural research and

the research orientation of the research performers, viewed as inter-

locking issues.

The major features of the U.S. public agricultural research system

are (1) the openness of the system and the appearance of new research

organizations that both complement and compete with the traditional

ones; (2) the complexity of the research agenda-setting process at all

levels; (3) a general trend toward planning, particularly noticeable in

ARS but in several states as well; (4) the diversity of the system

across states, in organizational structure, research-setting procedures,

internal state support for agricultural research, and countervailing

pressures/influences on the system; (5) the decline in the federal

government's contribution to agricultural research, relative to that of

the states and the private sector; (6) the influences of university and

college priorities and standards of performance on the activities of

state agricultural experiment stations; (7) the mission orientation of

ARS and the SAES in general in contrast to that of other performers of

agricultural research; (8) the changing orientation of ARS and some uni-

versities toward more basic research, and the implications this orienta-

tion has for the technology transfer role of ARS and of extension spe-

cialists and agents; and finally, (9) the changing set of contractual

and programmatic activities of the SAES system in response to the

increased role of the private sector in agricultural research.

II. The Structure of the Agricultural Research System

Most recent studies of the agricultural research system have

focused on three principal organizations/components--two in the public

sector and one in the private sector: (1) the U.S. Department of Agri-

culture (USDA), (2) the state agricultural experiment stations (SAES),

and (3) industry--plus a fourth, catch-all "all-other" classification.

This study does not recount the structural details of these various

components of the system since they are described elsewhere. Rather,

this discussion is presented at a "middle level" of abstraction. Its

descriptions are more detailed in some respects than those presented in

several of the recent general surveys of agricultural research (the 1976

Congressional Oversight Hearings; the 1981 OTA Assessment; Hadwiger,

1982), and less formal in certain areas (e.g., delineation of the

research agenda-setting process) than similar discussions in other

recent works (Huston, 1980; Busch and Lacy, 1983). The study looks at

the internal organization of research performers (e.g., ARS) only to the

extent that changes in their organization indicate changes in research

direction or internal procedures for ordering priorities and for estab-

lishing quality control.

This study documents the extent of the agricultural technology

delivery system's complexity and diversity. The system is complex in

the sense that the patterns of organizational cooperation and involve-

ment are complicated, varying from one setting to another. One mani-

festation of the system's complexity is seen in the listing of organiza-

tions that fund and/or perform some aspect of research, development, or

technology transfer. Specifically, the following categories of

organizations were found to be involved in agricultural technology

delivery activities.

1. Public Sector

a. federal level--the Congress and various executive

agencies, most notably USDA, and most specifically the
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

b. state agencies and organizations--the land-grant univer-
sities (1862 and 1890) and Tuskegee Institute, state agri-
cultural experiment stations, the Cooperative Extension
Service (CES), non-land-grant public colleges and univer-
sities, state government, and state departments of agri-

c. local agencies and organizations

d. agency groups

2. Private Sector

a. commodity industries, e.g., cotton, dairy, beef, vegeta-
bles, grains, and poultry

b. support firms and cooperatives--firms that provide support
services or products to specific industries

c. trade, commodity, and industry organizations

3. Third Sector

a. scientific associations

b. nonprofit institutions

1. foundations--funders of agricultural research and
extension projects

2. private universities

c. coordinating, advisory, lobbying, and educational

Our primary interest in structure is, first, the system's complex-

ity and its decentralization, and second, how recognition of this

complexity affects the context within which public policies are con-

sidered. The structure of the system is one of the determinants of its

performance; one's perception of that structure shapes the policy ques-

tions and issues that are raised. In general, the more complex the

depiction of the system, the larger the number of possible organizations

and/or roles for specific organizations, the larger the number of

possible interrelationships, and the less the perceived likelihood of a

tightly linked, highly coordinated, centralized system. Similarly, the

fewer and simpler the conceptualization of the system, the fewer the

potential interrelationships and the greater the perceived likelihood of

implementing a centralized planning model.

This point is illustrated graphically by the different conceptuali-

zations of the U.S. agricultural research system provided in Figures 2-1

and 2-2. Figure 2-1, taken from Hadwiger's (1982) study of the

organization and politics of agricultural research, visually portrays

agricultural research as primarily a federal enterprise involving the

states via formula grants to land-grant universities.

Contrast this schematic with Figure 2-2 presented here as a general

statement that an agricultural research system exists. Several features

of Figure 2-2 warrant attention. Unlike Figure 2-1, which suggests a

hierarchical relationship between the federal and state components of

the public sector, this schematic visually suggests a horizontal rela-

tionship between these major components of the system. The connecting

lines show points of direct contact between the federal and state

sectors, as well as other common points of contact. Figure 2-2 also

depicts other research organizations (identified using a snowballing

technique in our surveys) not directly connected to the main public

sector research system (e.g., non-land-grant colleges), other organiza-

tions that may affect research priorities (e.g., scientific associations

and public interest groups), and the channels by which these groups may

have such an influence. Figure 2-2 also provides examples of organiza-

tions that speak on behalf of both agricultural research and the

research capabilities of their respective members and how they relate to


Organization of Agricultural Research Institutions


-Grant University
of Agriculture

(College of)
I Home Economics

Agricultural State
Experiment Extension
Station Service


Source: D. Hadwiger (1982), The Politics of Agricultural Research, p. 13.


Schematic of Agricultural Research System Including Key Constituent Organizations

Public Interest Scientific Commodity Groups Industry
Groups Associations National/State


SI I -


d a
I- -t -

s C eatch .1 .

_____ -pe-tive "

-~-- Sinith-Lever 4-




I ______

--I. -1-------- ----I

dI OSa I d03 D I lI

ajnI jn0Twy AMf

|39,nsvN- -


t- n

- J


the public agricultural research system. One example: NISARC (the

National Industry-State Agricultural Research Council), which has

members from both industry and state agricultural experiment stations,

serves as a bridge between public sector and private sector agricultural

research activities.

Figure 2-3 provides yet another conceptualization of the system,

this time using the perspective of a specific commodity--poultry. The

U.S. agricultural research system has traditionally been commodity-

directed, and despite a certain current trend toward interdisciplinary

thrusts like integrated pest management (IPM) and integrated reproduc-

tion management (IRM), the system remains largely commodity-related.

(Witness the continued reporting of agricultural funding by commodities

in the Current Research Information System (CRIS)). The organizations

in the poultry industry relevant to research (and by implication to

technology transfer as well) are divided in Figure 2-3 into nine groups

or subsectors, each a division of one of the three major sectors as


Public Private Third

1. federal 1. poultry industry 1. scientific societies
2. state 2. related/support 2. nonprofit organizations
3. agency groups firms 3. coordinating, advisory,
3. trade, farm lobbying, and educa-
commodity, and tional organizations
industry assns.

Not all of the organizations on the schematic conduct poultry-related

research. Some fund research relevant to poultry. Others lobby on

behalf of funding for poultry research. Still others provide support

services to the industry, such as animal health products or broiler/egg



Organizations Relevant to Research in the Poultry Commodity Subsystems




29SESAR&,"Au I
~ I~bl rlA

- C~oORINAARfATIRE. A&I NC -U116~o --- N' -, I wum~f~sasI F ..



54K I g I I S



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TATE IN au si s

cat 18r62 Mw I US" IICE
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Figure 2-3 is included here to illustrate that (1) the system can

be viewed from more than one perspective, and (2) an entirely different

perspective (in this case, a commodity orientation) produces a concep-

tualization equally as complex as Figure 2-2. Moreover, as described in

volume 1, the organizational linkages among and within these sectors

vary by commodity subsystem, such as dairy, cotton, vegetables. Also,

despite the different perspectives, both Figures 2-2 and 2-3 highlight

the interrelationship between the public and private sectors and among

different levels, i.e., national, state, and local. The important point

here is that each of the separate institutions shown on Figures 2-2 and

2-3 interacts in a myriad of formal and informal ways with organizations

of its type and with institutions belonging to other groups. Formal

ways include, for example, cooperative agreements between USDA and state

agricultural experiment stations, and regional research projects sup-

ported by Hatch funds. Informal ways include, for example, the common

membership of industry, USDA, and SAES researchers in professional

scientific associations, or their common appearances at scientific

symposiums. These relationships are conducted by single institutions

and by organizations representing categories of associated organiza-


The direct implications of the system's complexity for the focus of

this chapter relate to the number of different influences on the

research administrator and to the number of different channels for

transmitting these influences, as well as to the increasing difficulties

of coordination. Complex, however, does not mean "indescribable" and

therefore immune from analysis or accountability, nor- does it mean

"unplanned" or "uncoordinated," requiring (or susceptible to) detailed,

centralized control. Although many interests and influences may affect

the conduct and performance of agricultural research, not all interests

and influences are equally important. Moreover, central tendencies can

be identified in the structure of agricultural research, with respect to

both current characteristics and emerging trends. Most important,

beneath the organizational structure lies a decision-making calculus

that is invariably based on a "balanced" response to contending
pressures. In a stylized sense, these are marked at the polarities by

the need to satisfy individual and institutional goals concerning

scientific creativity and by the desire to meet the needs of the client

groups for solutions to specific problems.

13In significant ways, the structure of America's agricultural
research system corresponds more as an organizational counterpart to the
"market" economy than to any of the "static" schematics presented above.
The research system moves over time in response to changes in consumer
demands and to competition among different "firms" to supply specific
products. As in the market model, the system is not necessarily at any
time in equilibrium, producing the optimal quantities of the desired
bundle of outputs at the socially minimum feasible costs. Rather, at
any point in time, (changing) consumer demands combined with intra-
organizational incentives to maintain needed levels of support and/or to
grow, induce a producer to move towards (changing) socially desired out-
comes. The decentralized, iterative character of this approach will, in
general, provide a more socially adaptive and efficient allocation of
resources than that obtainable through a more centralized and/or planned
decision-making system.
To continue the analogy, the several characteristics of agricul-
tural research that have been subject to criticism can likewise be
viewed as an expression of the limitations of a market system. First,
it may be perceived to be oligopolistic (e.g., the Agricultural Research
Service, state agricultural experiment stations), and able to erect
barriers to entry from potentially more efficient performers. Second,
its responsiveness to "consumer demand" may reflect the initial distri-
bution of income (and political influence) among and within different
commodity groups so that the outcomes of research have differential
benefits (environmental or social impacts). Third, it may ignore
externalities, being concerned only with those benefits or costs that
are captured or borne by the direct producers or consumers of research.

III. Planning, Setting Priorities, and Coordinating Research

The public agricultural research system might plan for one of three

reasons: (1) to avoid duplication (e.g., between ARS and SAES, and/or

between USDA and other federal agencies conducting agricultural

research); (2) to cover long-term interdisciplinary research needs not

likely to be tackled otherwise; and (3) to set some absolute level of

public investment in agricultural research. OTA's rationale for

planning is phrased somewhat differently:

Planning must be done to determine the size of the budget to carry
out the research mission. Planning must be done to clarify where
specific areas of research responsibility lie, to-lommunicate what
is being done, and to determine what needs exist.

A. The ARS Planning Effort

ARS's research budget (total funds) in 1982 was $420.0 million, a

207 percent increase in total expenditures in absolute dollars over the

1966 figure. In real terms, however, ARS funds have barely kept pace

with inflation.15 Table 2-1 shows ARS expenditures for production

research, post-harvest technology and marketing economics research, and

total research for the period 1966-1980. Research emphases changed

somewhat during this period as the share of research expenditures for

OTA, op. cit., p. 139.

15Between 1967-1982, federal support for USDA research agencies,
primarily ARS, the Forest Service and the Economic Research Service,
increased by 0.5 percent per year in constant (1967) dollars (B. R.
Eddleman (1984), "Funding of Agricultural Research: Recent Trends,
Current and Prospective Issues," paper presented at the Governor's
Conference on Agricultural Innovation, Little Rock, Arkansas, p. 2).

III. Planning, Setting Priorities, and Coordinating Research

The public agricultural research system might plan for one of three

reasons: (1) to avoid duplication (e.g., between ARS and SAES, and/or

between USDA and other federal agencies conducting agricultural

research); (2) to cover long-term interdisciplinary research needs not

likely to be tackled otherwise; and (3) to set some absolute level of

public investment in agricultural research. OTA's rationale for

planning is phrased somewhat differently:

Planning must be done to determine the size of the budget to carry
out the research mission. Planning must be done to clarify where
specific areas of research responsibility lie, to-lommunicate what
is being done, and to determine what needs exist.

A. The ARS Planning Effort

ARS's research budget (total funds) in 1982 was $420.0 million, a

207 percent increase in total expenditures in absolute dollars over the

1966 figure. In real terms, however, ARS funds have barely kept pace

with inflation.15 Table 2-1 shows ARS expenditures for production

research, post-harvest technology and marketing economics research, and

total research for the period 1966-1980. Research emphases changed

somewhat during this period as the share of research expenditures for

OTA, op. cit., p. 139.

15Between 1967-1982, federal support for USDA research agencies,
primarily ARS, the Forest Service and the Economic Research Service,
increased by 0.5 percent per year in constant (1967) dollars (B. R.
Eddleman (1984), "Funding of Agricultural Research: Recent Trends,
Current and Prospective Issues," paper presented at the Governor's
Conference on Agricultural Innovation, Little Rock, Arkansas, p. 2).


Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Expenditures on
Production and PHTME, Total Agricultural Research, 1966-80
(in thousands of dollars)

Production PHTMEa Agricultural
Year Research Research Research

1966 $ 85,214 $ 46,211 $-136,761
1967 90,055 49,356 145,716
1968 88,642 46,331 142,405
1969 91,181 47,570 146,801
1970 98,828 53,560 161,113
1971 106,396 59,240 176,076
1972 117,850 63,315 192,617
1973 122,354 66,310 200,322
1974 124,831 69,010 206,995
1975 137,235 72,335 224,096
1976 159,503 76,734 252,514
1977 190,045 84,070 292,956
1978 212,373 90,685 323,147
1979 227,363 91,615 338,032
1980 243,291 95,225 360,347

Source: Compiled from the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Science and Education Administration, Inventory of
Agricultural Research FY 1966-81, Vol. II. Reproduced
in Agricultural Postharvest Technology & Marketing
Economics Research, Office of Technology Assessment,
April 1983, p. 102.

apostharvest technology and marketing economics research.

production research increased from 62 percent in 1966 to 68 percent in

1980, and the share for post-harvest research declined from 34 percent

in 1966 to 26 percent in 1980.

ARS released its Agricultural Research Service Program Plan in

January 1983. The debate that has arisen concerning the research

directions contained in this plan, and congressional restrictions upon

its implementation are of obvious importance to the behavior and perfor-

mance of the agricultural research system. The type of research that

ARS proposes to conduct and the type of research it is permitted to per-

form under varying degrees of congressional control have implications

not only for ARS, but also for the agendas of other research performers

in both the public and private sectors. This latter influence follows

from the interrelationships among the organizations involved in agricul-

tural research.

The Six-Year Program Plan released in 1983 was the product of a

strategic planning process initiated by ARS. The objective of the

process was to develop an integrated set of research activities built

about a more explicitly defined set of ARS research priorities. In a

formal sense, the process represents a shift to a more centralized

determination of research priorities and as such represents ARS's

response to earlier congressional and GAO criticisms of its internal

inability to formulate long-range research plans. The process also may

be seen as a means of establishing a clearer agency-wide determination

of research activities while maintaining the decentralized character of

these activities. The tendency in such an arrangement is to increase

the weight of agency-wide research priorities relative to those of

specific laboratories or individual scientists.

The new plan represents a major change in the role of ARS's

National Program Staff (NPS). In the past, NPS officials were scien-

tific leaders who (nominally, at least) gave direction to individual

scientists on methodology and scientific importance. NPS is now cast

more in the role of a science administrator, providing broad direction

on research objectives and occasional scientific review.1 Research

leaders at ARS facilities or area administrators provide more direct

project direction. It is believed that the new system still will permit

ARS scientists a high degree of research autonomy, particularly in terms

of their choice of specific projects, but that the research will be more

responsive overall to broad planning goals.

Formally, ARS's strategic planning system involves six stages:

problem identification, review, evaluation, planning, development, and

priorities. Each stage provides for the involvement of researchers and

users, although with varying degrees of collaboration. Individual ARS

researchers interact with the new system in two ways: (1) through the

annual progress and plans report submitted by each researcher, and

(2) via the individual CRIS research project proposals.

It is perceived that while ARS traditionally emphasized basic

research, it has tended over the years toward a more applied orien-

tation, in part to meet political expectations.17 With the release of

J6effrey Fox (1984), "USDA Struggles to Reform Its Research,"
Science 225 (September 21), pp. 1376-1378.

17National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council (1972),
Report of the Committee on Research Advisory to the U.S. Department of
Agriculture; also Science for Agriculture, Report of a Workshop on
Critical Issues in American Agricultural Research (1982), Jointly
(Footnote Continued)

its new plan, ARS is trying to reestablish its basic orientation.

Despite ARS's repeated recognition of the need to engage in both funda-

mental and applied research, the overall tone of the plan, certainly in

terms of incremental shifts in organizational activities, is toward

basic research. For crops, the plan notes: "The need for more emphasis

on basic research permeates all aspects of crop productivity."18 For

livestock, it states: "As described in crop production, we have reached

the limits in many instances, and further progress requires research

ranging from fundamental studies of intricate life processes to the

development of totally new ways to increase efficiency and produc-


B. Relationships Between ARS and Other Research Organizations

The changes in ARS's research priority planning are too new to

determine how they will affect relationships between ARS and the state

agricultural experiment stations, particularly those at which ARS

personnel are located. At the level of establishing program priorities,

under ARS's new Six-Year Plan, USDA, the various states, and industry no

longer "coordinate and cooperate," but simply maintain liaison. This is

a substantive change. NPS officials, however, do not expect dramatic

(Footnote Continued)
Sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Office of Science and
Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, United States of
America, held at the Winrock International Conference Center, Morrilton,

18Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of
Agriculture (1983), Agricultural Research Service Program Plan,
Miscellaneous Publication Number 1429, p. 27.

Ibid., p. 36.

changes to occur in current ARS-SAES relationships; rather they suggest

that any difficulties in attaining the Six-Year Plan will reflect the

surfacing of already existing interorganizational difficulties.

NPS does express a concern that too much apparent likeness exists

between ARS and state experiment station scientists. It is difficult to

determine whether this concern relates to "duplication" of research, a

drift to a state-specific research agenda on the part of ARS scientists,

or the attenuation of organizational allegiance on the part of ARS

scientists who, so it is suggested, begin to identify themselves

(particularly in their publications) more as members of the university

than of ARS.

In ARS's view, the strategic planning endeavor has produced a

coherent ARS research agenda in keeping with the agency's stated

mission. But the move by ARS to a more formalized internal research

planning system has raised anew questions of the character of

collaboration between ARS and the land-grant universities. The SAES

system has criticized its limited involvement in the determination of

ARS's research priorities. According to Lipman-Blumen and Schram

(1983), "Interviewees in CSRS and SAES insist that they were not

consulted during the design stage of ARS's Strategic Plan."20

Enmeshed in this endeavor during the 1981-82 period, ARS gave

little attention to how its newly defined research domain and research

management procedures relate to those of CSRS and the state agricultural

experiment stations. The need to address interorganizational

20Lipman-Blumen and Schram, op. cit.

relationships was recognized by ARS representatives who, in their

interactions with other organizations during 1983, frequently described

the Six-Year Plan as a document for discussion, not as a fixed set of

activities. This new view of itself as a coherently and efficiently

managed research organization at times has produced, as a side

consequence, a sense of frustration within ARS in attempting to achieve

coordination with its more loosely coordinated counterparts in the state

agricultural experiment stations.

ARS officials point to the difficulties of identifying "representa-

tive" land-grant scientists to participate with them and feel caught in

cross-fires between contending groups within the land-grant system as to

which one should be designated as the "official" representative, or

between manifest, if muted, cleavages among experiment stations in their

capability to engage in basic agricultural research. Moreover, ARS

personnel point to the asymmetrical nature of the land-grant university

complaint. State experiment stations seek input into the determination

of ARS research priorities, but seem unwilling (or organizationally

unable) to permit comparable involvement of ARS personnel in the deter-

mination of state or regional research priorities.21

To continue this debate, experiment station representatives impli-

citly respond that USDA, if not ARS, has a "voice" in shaping state

research priorities, both directly through CSRS's approval of state pro-

jects carried out under Hatch funds and indirectly through the findings

of CSRS reviews of state programs. This response serves figuratively to

21This discussion, of course, bears upon the role of CSRS as a
coordinating unit between ARS and SAES.

throw the ball back into USDA's court, and it highlights the question of

the character of the linkages between staff scientists in ARS and CSRS.

While this administrative exchange is going on, communications be-

tween ARS and land-grant scientists are seen as open and productive,

particularly at the laboratory level where ARS scientists are located on

land-grant campuses. The state site visits pointed repeatedly to mutual

assessment of beneficial relationships between ARS and land-grant uni-

versity researchers. University interviewees reported benefits in each

of the university's missions--graduate training, extension, and

research--by having scientists with a regional or national perspective

close at hand. ARS scientists reported their exposure to graduate stu-

dents, researchers, and extension specialists, as well as potential

users of their research as beneficial.

ARS's new strategic plan is not expected to change relationships

between ARS and the private sector. But ARS's mission statement and

strategic plan do help set the scope for ARS activities and as such

implicitly define a relationship to the private sector and to the

states. ARS's relationships with industry are in a state of transition,

reflecting both the expanded investments that segments of the agricul-

tural chemical and seeds industries are making towards research and the

Reagan Administration's strictures on the quantity of applied, post-

harvest technology R&D that ARS is permitted to conduct. ARS is simul-

taneously under pressure to take on a more basic research orientation by

both the Administration's guidelines and the preferences of firms that

have their own R&D capabilities, and to work more closely with industry,

but to draw back from R&D areas it formerly undertook after consultation

with industry.

C. Cooperative State Research Service

CSRS's formal mandate includes several functions--administering the

dollars appropriated by Congress for research in land-grant institu-

tions, representing within USDA the requests of state agricultural

experiment stations for these research dollars, conducting reviews of

research programs at land-grant universities, and representing USDA on

regional research projects supported by Hatch appropriations. The

duality of its functions often places CSRS in a difficult position. It

is both a monitor of federal funds, seeing that these are expended in

compliance with the Hatch Act, and an advocate within USDA for the

experiment stations. CSRS works with the experiment stations in helping

to develop a consensus about research priorities. It then conveys these

priorities to USDA officials who make final budget recommendations in

conjunction with budget requests from ARS and ES. CSRS conveys to the

experiment stations USDA decisions concerning research priorities, but

in keeping with its coordination and administrative function, CSRS does

not designate funding priorities by area. The individual stations

retain the autonomy to make their own final decisions concerning

internal station research priorities.

In addition, CSRS is expected to serve in a leadership role, both

to bring "national needs" to the attention of the experiment stations

and as an external evaluator of the scientific quality of the research

conducted at the experiment stations. The state interviews revealed a

fairly general perception that CSRS's role as a scientific leader had

waned in recent years, but general optimism existed that with new

leadership at CSRS might come a renewed leadership role for the agency.

CSRS' site reviews of experiment stations' programs continue to be

seen at the state level as the agency's most important contribution to

the states. These reviews are not only valuable to the stations as an

outside objective evaluation, but the results can be used internally by

the experiment stations in their dealings with their university adminis-

trators and at the state legislative level to support requests for

strengthening particular programs or reducing the emphasis on others as

well. Land-grant researchers and administrators expressed concern that

budget and personnel constraints within CSRS have severely limited the

number of these reviews in recent years.

CSRS also plays a coordinating role--both on regional research

committees and in coordinating ESCOP's budget request for the experiment

stations with ARS's budget request before these requests are presented

to Science and Education administrators in USDA.

IV. Funding of Public Agricultural Research by Other Federal Agencies

Although the major federal-level public sector performer of agri-

cultural research in the United States is the U. S. Department of Agri-

culture, at least 8 other federal departments and 16 individual agencies

support agriculture-related research, extension, and teaching programs.

The principal source of data on non-USDA funding of agricultural

research was found in a 1982 USDA report entitled, Inventory of

Research, Extension, and Higher Education Related to Food and Agricul-

ture Conducted by Federal Agencies Other Than USDA for Fiscal Year 1981.

According to these data, non-USDA federal departments and independent

agencies allocated $629 million to agriculture-related research in 1981.

When ACTION and AID funds are excluded, the figure drops to $521 million

(Table 2-2). This compares to $840 million provided for research by

agencies within USDA in FY 1981.

The major non-USDA funding sources in 1981 were Health and Human

Services, more specifically the National Institutes of Health ($173.4

million), the Department of the Interior ($93.9 million), the Department

of Commerce ($72.4 million), the Department of Energy ($36.5 million),

NASA ($25 million), and the National Science Foundation ($24.5 million).

A difficulty arises in comparing these figures with expenditures

for research by USDA agencies, however, because of the noncomparability

of the research activities subsumed within these figures for various

agencies.22 The $173.4 million spent by NIH was divided into $148.5

million for biomedical and behavioral nutrition research and research

training, and $30 million for biomedical research and development

(excluding the nutrition program). This latter program is classified as

being related to the USDA-S&E component of production and protection, an

area that accounted for almost 60 percent of USDA-S&E expenditures in

1981 ($370.3 million of $627.8 million).

About 64 percent of the non-USDA funded research in FY 1981 was

conducted via contracts and grants with universities and other institu-

tions. The other 36 percent was performed in federal facilities. Some

of the funding agencies, e.g., the National Science Foundation, sponsor

all extramural work; others, e.g., the Bureau of Veterinary Medicine

within Health and Human Services, conduct some of their own research and

22Debate exists concerning the relevance of the research
represented by these data. According to some, much of this research is
of secondary or tertiary value to agriculture, and is spread unevenly
across the agricultural spectrum.


Food and Agriculture-Related Research, Extension and
Higher Education Conducted by Federal Agencies
Other Than USDA, FY 81, Excluding ACTION and AID


Program Area (mil. $) (%)

I. Natural Resources 187.4 (36.0)
II. Production and
Protection 100.9 (19.4)
III. Processing, Marketing,
and Distribution 63.1 (12.1)
IV. People and Communities 168.0 (32.2)
V. Agricultural Policy 1.4 ( 0.3)
Total 520.8 100.0

Source: USDA, Inventory of Research, Extension, and
Higher Education Related to Food and Agricul-
ture Conducted by Federal Agencies Other Than
USDA, FY81, March 1982.

contract for the rest; still others, like the Fish and Wildlife Service

in the Department of the Interior, conduct more than 90 percent of their

own research.

The existence of multiple federal sources of support for research

related to agriculture has been variously interpreted. In one respect,

it reflects the inherent difficulties of administratively separating

into different agencies the responsibilities for funding the broad

categories of research--disciplinary, subject-matter, and problem-
solving--that comprise agricultural research.23 Multiple agency sources

of funding, say for biochemistry, reflect simply another example of the

pluralistic character of federal support for research in general. In

another respect, it serves to widen the flexibility that agricultural

researchers have in pursuing research agendas via competitively awarded

programs that extend beyond those in force within more centrally managed

research organizations. And, in yet one more positive respect, multiple

sources of funding may serve, albeit circuitously, to move researchers

from disciplinary-oriented research to subject matter and

problem-focused research relevant to agriculture.

The principal offset to all of the above, however, which underlies

the concern expressed by some but not all interviewees, is that research

programs administered outside of USDA inherently tend to emphasize

disciplinary orientations, and to either not develop or attenuate

concern for subject matter and problem-solving research, critical

elements in the mission orientation of an organization.

23ohnson and Wittwer, op. cit., p.6.
Johnson and Wittwer, op. cit., p.6.

V. State-Level Planning for Agricultural Research24

Figure 2-4 is a stylized depiction of the organization of a state

agricultural experiment station, realizing that these stations are a
heterogeneous group of institutions.25 More fundamentally, the

depiction is predicated on the placement of the SAES within the

university. Because of this, countervailing tugs between the outwardly

directed "state-wide service" perspective and the inwardly directed

"institutional-academic" perspective are endemic to the behavior of an

experiment station. The research agendas of state agricultural experi-

ment stations are the outcomes of several state-specific influences,

including the level of state funding (section V), the importance of

agriculture to the state, the scientific norms of the station's

researchers, and the ethic or creed of the university where the station

is located. All land-grant institutions voice the same formal three-

part mission--teaching, extension, and research--but differences are

found in the emphasis given to each of these activities at various

2The technology transfer activities of experiment stations are
considered in chapter 3.
2Reviewers of this report have noted that although Figure 2-4
represents the most common "college-based" organizational model for
agricultural research and cooperative extension at land-grant
universities, it does not capture newer organizational forms, such as
those appearing in Colorado, Nebraska, and Florida, which are based on
"university-wide" institutes of food and/or agriculture and/or natural
resources. This latter development is seen as an organizationally more
effective means for facilitating interdisciplinary research, for linking
research and cooperative extension personnel and programs, and perhaps
of increasing importance in the near future for decoupling a
university's commitment to agriculturally-related activities to
undergraduate enrollments from agriculture.



Schematic of State Agricultural
Experiment Station

USD Other State Government

CSRS Competitive I
Grants I
i President 1

University Promotion I

and Tenure Committee

College- College of Agriculture/ I
Research A Home Economics
Advisory Dean (Director SAES)

I Director Director (or Assoc.
E Extension Director) SAES

S---I- J-- Aponmn
----I Dept. Dept. Dept. Dept.

Commodity Users I modi Industry Scientific
Groups -- Check-off Associations

R: Faculty Research Appointment
ES: Extension Specialist
R/ES: Joint Appointment

institutions, and in the emphasis given to agriculture in general. As

noted in a recent speech by Russell Mawby:

The modern land-grant university is a complex, sophisticated,
multifaceted institution. In earlier days, agriculture was recog-
nized as the moving force behind its creation and was dominant in
its structure. That is no longer the case. As other units of the
university have grown, agriculture has been passed by in relative
scope and scale. In too few institutions today do people in
positions of key responsibility--members of boards of governors,
chancellors and presidents, provosts, vice-presidents--have an
understanding of agriculture, its significance and its problems.

Each institution defines for itself the "league" that it currently plays

in or to which it aspires. This ethic permeates (but does not monopo-

lize) the activities of the experiment station. These aspirations and

expectations in turn affect performance standards for individual

researchers, the commitment of the organization's resources, and the

general parameters within which individual administrators, faculty

members, department heads, extension specialists, and county agents

operate. Therefore, each state agricultural experiment station must be

examined in the context of the land-grant university of which it is a


The diversity across states is illustrated in volume 2 in the

accounts of the organization, priority-setting mechanisms, funding, and

research orientation for the nine states comprising the study sample.

The range of these differences can be seen here in a summary assessment

of the research priority-setting context for four of those land-grant


2Russell G. Mawby (1984), "Agriculture Colleges Must Take the Lead
in Ending Ignorance About Farming," The Chronicle of Higher Education,
May 9, p. 72.

The institution in one of the survey states sees itself as an

international university in which researchers are expected to function

at the frontiers of their fields. This ethic, frequently associated

only with basic research outside of agriculture, spills over into the

attitudes of the state's experiment station researchers. Extension

specialists, who have joint research-extension appointments, are at

times pulled along by this research ethic, which can affect their choice

of projects. The research orientation of experiment station researchers

and extension specialists at this institution has created a gap in the

applied/demonstration portion of the R&D continuum. County agents have

moved to fill this gap, taking on quasi-research responsibilities on a

scale well beyond those found for county agents elsewhere. Signifi-

cantly, however, the agricultural research and extension system at this

university may be said to be responding to the stated needs of producers

in the state, given the diversified character and R&D-intensiveness of

the state's agriculture.

The land-grant university in another of the nine states voices the

same general commitments to teaching; to research, both basic and

applied; and to public service; but the dominant ethic, as expressed in

interviews, is service to the state's agriculture. Although agricul-

tural research administrators there speak of the need for balanced

research programs involving both basic and applied dimensions, the

emphasis is on direct service. This attitude also is seen in the role

of extension specialists. Although they have joint appointments and

thus, as in the first state, are nominally integrated into the research

segment of the college of agriculture, they evidence far less commitment

to research and indeed at times come close to serving as de facto

consultants and troubleshooters to individual farms or food processing


In a third state, agriculture is judged preeminent within the

structure of the university, and commitment to the state's producers and

other clientele groups is strong. Instead of having a college of agri-

culture, the university's agricultural programs are administered through

an institute, which is higher in the administrative structure than a

college. The dean of the experiment station (and the director of exten-

sion) have positions parallel to those of deans of the various colleges.

This university depends heavily on joint appointments and on housing

research and extension personnel together at district centers throughout

the state. It is considered important in this university to have exten-

sion information built on a good "scientific base," a goal more easily

accomplished because of the high degree of resonance between research

and extension activities. The agricultural research program is insti-

tutionally flexible and adaptable, and the philosophy is one of openness

to change. Ad hoc interdisciplinary research/extension teams or task

forces are used to approach problems.

In a fourth state, agriculture also is a high priority item within

the university. The administration of this land-grant university

remains supportive of agriculture because of its continued importance to

the state's economy. Key administrators in this college of agriculture

point out that the college's ability to attract state support is proba-

bly related to the university's internal commitment to the college and

to the agricultural community in the state in general. The service

commitment is strong in this state as well; it is balanced, however,

with a pride in the "world class" reputation of some of its faculty

members and in their ability to publish regularly in peer-refereed

journals. The college has sponsored several international interdisci-

plinary seminars in recent years. A particularly distinctive character-

istic at this university (in all colleges) is the low barriers to inter-

disciplinary, interdepartmental, and intercollege cooperation. Joint

appointments are considered a key structural vehicle in creating and

maintaining this environment.

The following individuals or units within the land-grant university

were identified during the site visits as influencing research priori-

ties at the state agricultural experiment stations in the survey states:

the university president (or chief administrative officer), the dean of

the college of agriculture, the director of the state agricultural

experiment station (this may be the dean; in cases where the dean is the

station's director, an associate director usually is responsible for

daily administration of the station); department heads, researchers,

extension specialists or agents, and commodity advisory committees

organized at the departmental and/or college level.

The various mechanisms for shaping research priorities at state

agricultural experiment stations, e.g., departmental advisory commit-

tees, informal contact with commodity committees, association by faculty

with their scientific and professional associations, contacts with users

and county agents via the extension system, do not identify specific

decision rules or selection criteria. Instead, the number of influences

points more to the "balancing" act that occurs between and among com-

peting objectives, such as between (a) commodities, (b) faculty and

experiment station objectives, (c) disciplines, and (d) research orien-

The complexity of a state's agriculture will necessarily influence

the complexity of the station's mission and priorities. Some tradeoffs

will be necessary, as for example, who shall be served? The research

done for the commodity mappings (in volume 1) suggests a correlation

between the stations allocating the largest number of scientist years to

a particular commodity and those states' national rankings in production

and value of that commodity. This fits with information from the

experiment station director in one of the nine survey states who indi-

cated that the selection of research priorities areas at that experiment

station are based on the following: (1) perceived need for research in

that area, (2) magnitude of the state's production acreage in that crop

or animal, and (3) the dollar value of the production of that commodity
or animal.2

In a stylized formulation, initiation of a research program begins

with the interests of individual researchers operating within the frame-

work of experiment station guidelines concerning the permissible use of

Hatch funds. Individual researchers initiate projects that integrate

A more detailed discussion of the organization and
priority-setting processes in the experiment stations can be found in
Keith Huston (1980), "Priority Setting Processes in the State
Agricultural Experiment Stations," OTA, An Assessment of the United
States Food and Agricultural Research System, op. cit., Volume II,
Commissioned Papers, Part B.
2Ruttan and others, however, have found that the parity or
congruence between the economic importance of a commodity and public R&D
expenditures by commodity are only moderately correlated on a national
basis (Ruttan, op. cit., pp. 812-817).

their own professional research curiosity with the suggestions of

department heads, experiment station directors, and deans, who presuma-

bly are aware of state-level needs for research. Commodity advisory

committees may interact directly with researchers or may be consulted at

the departmental or college level.

The interplay this permits between these different individuals

comes in many different forms. Given the strong research credentials of

individual faculty, their demonstrated ties to state commodity groups,

and a university tradition of "grassroots" or faculty autonomy, indi-

vidual researchers may exercise dominant influences on research agendas,

with higher level administrators serving largely to monitor compliance

with administrative requirements, and serving possibly as intermediaries

to foster interdisciplinary or regional projects. The questions

addressed by the researchers may reflect the organic extension of an

ongoing line of research or a new venture.

Research problems also are identified by peer groups of scientists

organized into scientific associations. By bestowing recognition in

terms of publication of papers, invitations to deliver papers at profes-

sional meetings, and general reputations, scientific associations serve

to acknowledge, and to rank, the professional attainments of research-


The influences of department heads, experiment station directors,

and deans on the research agendas of faculty in decentralized academic

settings occur largely through annual promotion and/or salary increases,

rewarding those researchers whose work meets the university's norms.

These norms themselves are a mix of scientific quality and relevance to

the state's agricultural needs.29 The mix clearly varies across land-

grant universities. Thus a department head, dean, or experiment station

director disenchanted with the applied, commodity-specific orientation

of a tenured member of a department of entomology has limited control,

other than salary increments, over the agenda of such an individual. A

dean, aware, for example, that the seed industry has newly developed

research capabilities to generate seed varieties, may have limited

powers to redirect the activities of tenured members of a department of

plant genetics, but may seek in future appointments to recruit faculty

with strong research commitments to plant genetics.

Alternatively, research agendas may be more centrally determined.

Deans, but more usually experiment station directors and department

heads, may meet with members of the station to review individual plans

of work. This review might be based upon considerations of the scien-

tific and/or economic merits of the proposed research. The basis of

these judgments may be the advice that these administrators have

received from advisory committees; from reactions by key state legisla-

tors to the research program of the department, experiment station or

college; from the scientific associations to which they belong; or from

contacts with USDA and/or Congress. The reviews may be informal or

highly structured, involving in some states formal scoring models on the

relative emphasis to be given to research problem areas.3

2Charles Hess (1981), "Politics and Agriculture--How The
University Sees It." Presented to the 1981 California Plant and Soil
Conference, January 28-30, Sacramento, California.
3C. Richard Shumway (1977), "Models and Methods Used to Allocate
(Footnote Continued)

Experiment station administrators speak constantly of the need to

maintain a balance between basic and applied work, although in general,

the basic/applied dichotomy is viewed as an intrinsically invidious one

by experiment station personnel. Research administrators prefer to

speak of mission-oriented research, which involves dimensions of both

basic and applied research. Indeed, in their view, it is the intrinsic

linkages of these phases of research (and technology transfer) within

the state experiment stations that has contributed to the research-based

productivity of American agriculture and to the unique contribution of

the agricultural experiment station model in particular. (It is for

this reason, too, that they reject as unrealistic proposals to have

USDA-ARS serve as the "national" performer of basic research, leaving

the state stations to address "applied problems.") Research administra-

tors at the state level claim that the two goals of (1) finding solu-

tions to state problems and (2) commitment to basic research are rou-

tinely balanced within experiment stations, and that the necessity of

finding solutions to state problems is as inherent in the concept of a

university-based agricultural experiment station as is a commitment to

basic research.

The term "balance" relates to having a portfolio of research

projects at agricultural experiment stations, i.e., some basic and some

applied. It is not always clear, however, what the unit of account is

or who is responsible for achieving this balance--the individual

(Footnote Continued)
Resources in Agricultural Research: A Critical Review," in Resource
Allocation and Productivity in National and International Agricultural
Research, edited by Thomas Arndt, Dana Dalrymple, and Vernon Ruttan
(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press), pp. 436-460.

researcher, the department, or the experiment station. Although

uniformity exists in the general way in which experiment stations define

their complex research missions, it is evident from the Busch and Lacy

study (1983) that the locus of research activity--in terms of scientific

or economic orientation--differs markedly among scientists and among

institutions. In addition, although the concept of balance remains, the

shift towards basic research is now predominant in planning at many
experiment stations (as well as in ARS as previously discussed).3

Central administrators have various levers to influence the

research agendas of individual researchers; the extent to which they use

them, and whether these levers are denoted in terms of positive or nega-

tive inducements, depend greatly on institution-specific assessments as

to how far individual researchers and/or departments are deviating from

desired college or experiment station performance standards, and on the

traditions of the university concerning the locus of power. An example

of a positive inducement would be control of a new pool of funds by

A recent ESCOP publication entitled, Research 1984, also
expresses this new outlook. "Substantial opportunity exists in
agricultural research to develop both new knowledge and new technology
as well as to exploit advances made in other sectors. The state
agricultural experiment stations offer a favorable institutional system
to develop and link fundamental knowledge to ongoing applied research
programs, to technology development, and to knowledge transfer avenues.
Clientele input and feedback as well as continuing scientist evaluation,
assure program balance and aid prioritization of opportunities" (ESCOP,
The Cooperative State Research Service (1984), p. 13).

With regard to biotechnology in particular, ESCOP argues that the
SAES have an advantage in that they have an existing infrastructure "to
guide and exploit research in biotechnology. This system supplies
scientific expertise in the requisite antecedent areas of science as
well as interrelated programs of applied research, site specificity, and
technology transfer capabilities" ibidd., p. 14).

central administrators to encourage research in a specific area. Thus,

for example, a state appropriation of $1.5 million for research on inte-

grated pest management provided the University of California's central

research administration with a means for encouraging interdisciplinary


Another illustration of changes in the means by which research

priorities are established in state experiment stations is the move in

some states towards more formalized multi-year research plans. At Texas

A&M, for example, a research plan has been developed based upon experi-

ment station researchers' identification of key scientific issues

related to the sustainability of Texas agriculture. This plan then was

reviewed by representatives of principal commodity groups in the state.

After revision, the plan serves as a stationwide master agenda against

which the work plans of individual researchers are reviewed for scien-

tific and economic merit.

The functioning of the five-year research planning process in Texas

has many facets. For example, it is seen as a means of helping a uni-

versity scientist bridge gaps between the need for applied research or

research questions of an immediate nature, and the need for a more basic

or long-range research thrust. It is the contention of our respondents

that by having scientists systematically develop a long-range program of

research needs and then present it to industry for its reaction, indus-

try will be educated about long-run research needs and the need to plan

for such programs. Industry representatives also can be informed as to

how these long-run thrusts can enhance day-to-day capability for answer-

ing their short-run, "fire-fighting" type questions. The overall thrust

is towards long-range targeted research that permits the researcher to

plunge as deeply as necessary into basic research questions. At the

same time, this research is seen as "targeted" at the practical problems

of the state's agriculture. The five-year plan functions as a modified

management-by-objectives arrangement. Each year every scientist sets

forth within the context of the five-year planning priorities a yearly

plan of work including planned "deliverables." This way the scientists

know where they fit within the system, and their supervisors can more

effectively evaluate individual performance.

A drawback to the planning approach, in the view of some respon-

dents, is its potential limitation of research flexibility. Although it

does provide a general framework within which external funding can be

sought, research interests of potential external sponsors beyond the

five-year plan cannot always be accommodated. Some of the researchers

interviewed in Texas felt that, in fact, the plan did reduce somewhat

their latitude to undertake projects in response to ad hoc offers of

support by industry. From the point of view of researchers, their own

flexibility too may be limited; however, from the point of view of a

long-range plan of research, the five-year planning process helps con-

strain the desire of some faculty to do research on subjects for which

external funds are available.32

It should be noted that multi-year research plans are not necessar-

ily perceived as constraining. Michigan, for example, also is operating

32In some respects, this trend toward planning also constitutes a
response to those criticisms of the land-grant system that stress its
"facile accommodation" to short-term industry research needs. As the
example above suggests, planning is a means of openly integrating
scientific and economic factors in a long-term perspective.

under a five-year plan, but no indications of constraint were forthcom-

ing during the site visit. The purported purpose of Michigan's

multi-year research plan is to help direct the research program in

long-range directions (read, basic) rather than short-range responses to

a series of temporary industry needs (read, immediate/applied).

Another source of influence on the research agendas of individual

researchers or departments is feedback from users. This information on

user needs comes variously from users themselves, who may communicate

directly to researchers; from extension specialists via the direct

interaction that specialists have with producers; or from extension

agents via the traditional chain of communication from county extension

agents to extension specialists to researchers. Examples of all these

patterns can be found; they vary in frequency within given institutions

and, consequently, can be expected to show considerable variation across
the states.

Another trend in planning is across state lines within regions.

Vermont provided a good example of this. In order to avoid duplication

or at least minimize same, and to more efficiently allocate the region's

limited resources, the deans of the colleges of agriculture in the

New England land-grant universities are trying to rationalize their

resources across the region. For example, the deans of the other New

England land-grant universities have expressed reluctance to start any

33The importance of this "user-driven" or "grassroots" model of
research priority setting is itself a matter of debate. Examples can
readily be garnered of the efficacy of the conventionally described
agent-specialist-researcher model. More systematic studies of
influences on researchers' agendas, e.g., Busch and Lacy (1983),
however, have found the traditional model of limited importance.

new dairy research programs in their institutions since a strong program

is already in place at the University of Vermont.

It was noted above that one reason for planning is to generate

research on interdisciplinary issues that otherwise might not be

addressed. Officials at the University of Vermont suggested that

interdisciplinary projects are gaining more favor, not only as a result

of planning initiatives but also indirectly as a function of decreased

budgets and a cut in travel allowances. The rationale was that when

researchers are less able to meet with disciplinary colleagues at

scientific association meetings, they are more likely to communicate

with colleagues at their own institutions, colleagues not necessarily in

their own disciplines, and that this opening of communications across

discipline lines tends to foster an environment for initiating

interdisciplinary projects.

Another issue that surfaced in several states with regard to plan-

ning agricultural research is the difficulty of changing institutions

overnight to adapt to a state's changing economy amid the constraints of

the disciplinary training of scientists, tenure systems, and limited

budgets. A combination of administrative persuasion, both subtle and

direct, as well as college committees to identify new research initia-

tives, were seen as means to induce change. In reviewing proposals for

funding by the experiment station, several of the stations use commit-

tees that include representatives from other departments. This approach

is followed both to insure that other departments know what is being

proposed and to identify to researchers the potential gains of involving

scientists from other departments. One experiment station administrator

acknowledged, however, that the best any administrator can do in a uni-

versity setting is to "stir the basket."

Overall, increased use of planning and the formulation of station-

wide research objectives were evident in the nine survey states. The

variations among experiment stations in the locus of decision making are

too wide to permit strong statements. Still it appears, as with the

determination of research priorities within ARS, that the direction is

toward increased centralization.

VI. State-Level Funding and Issues

The diversity across states in the organizational structure of

their agricultural research, research-setting procedures, and counter-

vailing pressures/influences on the agricultural research system were

highlighted in an earlier section. In this section, two of the other

major features of the state public agricultural research system are

examined: (1) the diversity across states in internal state support for

agricultural research, and (2) the increasing importance of state

appropriations in the budgets of state agricultural experiment stations.

Table 2-3 indicates the principal sources of funds for agricultural

research at SAES in 1978-1982. State appropriations constitute the

largest single source of funds for state agricultural experiment

stations in each year--56.7 percent in 1978 and 54.8 percent in 1982--

and collectively, state governments represent a major source of

financial support for agricultural research. State appropriations are

followed in importance by Hatch formula and Hatch regional funds, other

federal funds (from agencies other than USDA), product sales, and



Percentage of Total State Agricultural Experiment
Funds by Source, FY 78 and FY 82

Station Research

1978 1982
(mil. $) (%) (mil. $) (%)

Total CSRS1 119,107 18.3 166,828 17.5

[Hatch Formula and
Hatch Regional] [105,057] [16.2] [134,635] [14.1]

USDA Grants, Contracts3 14,772 2.3 30,979 3.3

Other Federal4 53,028 8.2 77,763 8.2

State Appropriations5 367,851 56.7 522,213 54.8

Product Sales6 39,542 6.1 58,467 6.1

Industry7 33,589 5.2 57,007 6.0

Other8 21,004 3.2 39,040 4.1

Total Funds9 648,893 100.0 952,297 100.0

Source: Inventory of Agricultural Research FY 1982, Volume II, Coopera-
tive State Research Service, Science and Education, USDA,
Washington, D.C., forthcoming, Table IV-E, Summary by Station.

1Federal appropriations to CSRS including Hatch formula, Hatch regional,
McIntire-Stennis, special grants, and other.
2Formula grant funds received by SAES made under provisions of the Hatch
Act as percentage of total funds in support of research.
3Obligations of funds received by SAES from contracts, grants, and
cooperative agreements with research-performing agencies of USDA.
4Contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements with federal agencies other
than USDA (Column 14/Column 19).
5Obligations of funds received from state appropriations.
6Obligations of funds received from sales of products.
7Obligations of funds received from industry expended in support of
8Obligations from any other non-federal sources.
Includes all obligations in support of research projects.

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