Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Executive summary
 Projections and the organization...
 Part I: Basic classifications
 Part II: Critics of the agricultural...
 Part III: Research priorities
 Part IV: What is required?

Title: Agricultural technology until 2030
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087045/00001
 Material Information
Title: Agricultural technology until 2030
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Johnson, Glenn L.
Wittwer, Sylvan H.
Publisher: Agricultural Experiment Station, Michigan State University
Place of Publication: East Lansing, Mich.
Publication Date: July, 1984
General Note: Agricultural Experiment Station, Michigan State University, special report 12
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087045
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.

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page i-a
    Table of Contents
        Page ii
        Page ii-a
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Executive summary
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
    Projections and the organization of this report
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Part I: Basic classifications
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Part II: Critics of the agricultural research establishment
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Part III: Research priorities
        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
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
    Part IV: What is required?
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
Full Text
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Actual Output



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of agricultural
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Projected Capacity
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Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ................... iv
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .................... v
OF THIS REPORT ....................... 1
The Four Cutting Edges for Growth in
Agriculture's Capacity to Produce........... 5
Categories of Agricultural Research ......... 6
Disciplinary Research .............. .. 6
Subject-Matter Research . . . . . . . 6
Problem-Solving Research .......... ... 6
The Comparative Advantage of the
USDA/Colleges of Agriculture in
Doing Problem-Solving and
Subject-Matter Research................. 7
The Private Sector-Its Role in
Problem-Solving and Subject-Matter
Research and Extension .............. . 7
Relationships Among the
Three Kinds of Research................. 7
The Biological and Physical Scientists
Outside the USDA/Land-Grant
System ............................... 8
Humanists, Social Scientists,
Religious Leaders and Others ............ 9
A activists ............. ..... ............. 9
Power, Knowledge and Ethical Dilemmas of
ARE Administrators and Researchers ...... 10
Power Distributions . . ............ . 10
Knowledge Bases for Administrators
and Researchers of the ARE.......... 11
Dilemmas Faced ................... 12
Examples of Problem-Solving Research
for Agriculture ........... .............. 13
Additional Considerations and
a Sum m ary ........................ 15
Subject-Matter and Disciplinary Research
for Agriculture ............. .......... 16
Research on Technology ................. 16
Plant and Soil Science Subject-
M atter Research ............... . ... 16
Field Crops ........................ 16
Genetic Improvement ............... 16
Resistance to Environmental Stress .... 18
Farming Systems Research ........... 18
Integrated Pest Management ......... 19
Horticulture ................. . . 19
F orestry ......... ................ 20
Disciplinary Research Relevant for
Plant Productivity .................. 21

Photosynthesis ........... ....... 21
Rising Levels of Atmospheric
Carbon Dioxide .................. 21
Atmospheric Pollutants and
Trace Elements .............. . ... 22
Biological Nitrogen Fixation .......... 22
Mycorrhizal-Root Interactions ........ 24
Root-Colonizing Bacteria ............ 24
Nitrification and Denitrification ...... 24
Somatic Cell Fusion and Tissue Culture 24
Plant Growth Regulants ............. 25
Greater Resistance to Competing
Biological Systems ............ ... 25
Increasing Plant Resistance to
Environmental Stress .......... ... 25
Needed Relevant Disciplinary Research
for Forestry ...................... 25
Subject-Matter Research in the
Animal Sciences ............... . ... 26
Genetic Improvement and Diversity... 26
Improved Feeding ............. . ... 27
Anim al Health ..................... 28
Land-Conserving Animal Husbandry.. 28
Labor-Conserving Animal Husbandry 28
Environmental Control .............. 29
Anim al W welfare .................... 29
Aquaculture........................ 29
Disciplinary Research in the Biological
and Physical Sciences Relevant for
Livestock ................... . . 29
Reproductive Efficiency ............. .29
Resistance to Environmental Stress .... 30
Disease Control, Health, and
Animal W welfare ............. . ... 30
Subject-Matter Research in
Food Science. ...................... 30
Disciplinary Research Relevant for
Food Science ................ . . 31
Subject-Matter Research in
Agricultural Engineering............. 31
Mechanization and Automation ....... 31
Natural Resources .............. . ... 32
Structures and Environments for
Plants and Animals ............... 33
Food Engineering .............. . ... 33
Disciplinary Research Relevant for
Agricultural Engineering ............. 33
General Discussion of Technical
Subject-Matter and Disciplinary
Research ............. ...... . ... 33
Research (Both Subject-Matter and
Disciplinary) on Institutional and Related
Changes of Importance for the Use and
Generation of Technology ............ 34
Subject-Matter Research on Institutional
and Related Changes................ 35

Agricultural Economics .......... ... 35
Regulation of the use and adoption
of "high technology" inputs ...... 35
Overuse of durables and
expendables ................ ... 35
Farming systems research (FSR) .... 35
Research on firms that market,
process and distribute farm
products ....................... 36
Equity and equality issues.......... 36
Technological advances and
public infrastructures ........ ... 36
International trade ............ ... 37
Redesign of capital and fiscal
institutions for farms and range
and forest resources ............. 37
The public data system ............ 37
Agricultural sector studies .......... 37
Rural Sociology ................ . 37
The kinds of technology
developed ........... ...... . 38
Studies of changes in the
lifestyles and objectives of
rural people.................... 38
Computerized contracts and
controls ................... . 38
Demographic changes ............. 38
Disciplinary Research in Social and
Institutional Sciences ................ 38
The Theory of Public and/or
Private Risk Bearing .............. 38
The Theory of Producing Joint
Products from Resources Sometimes
Under Joint Public and
Private Ownership ................ 38
Economic Aspects of Conservation and
Investments in Natural Resources ... 38
Economic Aspects of Controlling
Institutions ........................ 39
Institutional Decision Making and
Adm inistration ................... 39

Measurement of Values ..............
Subject-Matter and Disciplinary
Research on Human Development of
Importance for Technological Advance
in A agriculture ..................... ..
Subject-Matter Research on
Human Development ............. .
Home Economics/Human
E cology ...................... . .
Vocational Agriculture, Cooperative
Extension Services, FFA, FHA,
4-H Clubs, Academic Programs
in Agricultural Technology,
Personnel Development Programs
and Resident Instruction Programs
of Colleges of Agriculture ........ .
Disciplinary or Basic Research
in Sciences Relevant for Human
D evelopm ent.......................
Human Capital and the Family ......

Human Capital and Society .......... 41
Stress Management.................. 41
The Productivity of Human
C capital .......................... 41
Learning and the Management
of New Technologies .............. 41
Subject-Matter and Disciplinary Research
Involving the Accumulation of Physical
and Biological Capital................. 41
Subject-Matter Research on
Biophysical Capital ............. ... 42
Basic Disciplinary Research on
Biological and Physical Capital
Accum ulation ...................... 42
Measuring Changes in the
Quality of Capital ................ 42
The Theory of Producer-
Generated Capital ................ 42
The Theory and Measurement of
Capital Complementary to and
Substitutable for Land and
L abor ........................... 43
Control of Overinvestments in the
Private Sector .................... 43
General Conclusions Concerning
Priorities for Problem-Solving, Subject-
Matter and Disciplinary Research with
Respect to Food and Agriculture........ 43
Balances and Imbalances Among
Research on Technology,
Institutions, Human Development
and Capital Growth ............ ... 43
The Essential Role of the USDA
and Land-Grant Colleges ............ 43
The Private Sector Role in Agricultural
and Food Research ............. ... 43
Research Priorities for DISC
Research ...................... ... 44
Achieving a Balance Between Problem-
Solving and Subject-Matter Research
and Disciplinary Research ........... 44
Disciplinary Research Both Within
and Outside the Agricultural
Research Establishment .......... ... 44

Research Objectives .......................
Increases in Yields ....................
Labor-saving Technology ..............
Fossil Energy .........................
Conservation and Soil-Enhancing
Technology ........................
W ater Resources ......................
Institutional Change ..................
Human Development ..................
Required Funding, Personnel and
40 Administrative Restructuring .............
Budgetary Requirements ...............
Personnel Requirements ...............
41 Administrative Requirements ...........
41 REFERENCES .............................


Much of the substance of this report was first
assembled in response to a request from Resources for
the Future (RFF) for a document on "Perspectives on
the Role of Technology in Determining Future Sup-
plies of Food, Fiber and Forest Products in the U.S. "
That request originated from a contract of the Needs
Assessment Staff Group of the USDA with the RFF.
The Needs Assessment Staff Group, in turn, assisted
the Joint Council of Food and Agricultural Sciences
(1984a) in preparation of a report to the U.S. Con-
gress submitted by the Secretary of Agriculture en-
titled "Summary-Needs Assessment for the Food and
Agricultural Sciences, A Report to the Congress from
the Secretary of Agriculture." The first version of this
report also provided input via RFF and the Needs
Assessment Staff Group into the "Reference Docu-
ment: Needs Assessment for the Food and Agricultural
Sciences" (Joint Council on Food and Agricultural
Sciences, 1984b, pp. 85-90). The authors, according
to their experience and judgment and with the
reference material available, projected the conse-
quences of present and higher levels of funding on
agricultural research and technology and the capacity
of the U.S. agricultural sector to produce.
The manuscript was reviewed by Kenneth Farrell
and Michael Brewer, RFF; by Orville G. Bentley and
James H. Anderson, cochairmen of the Joint Coun-
cil on Food and Agricultural Sciences; Bobby
Eddleman, Director of National Agricultural
Research Planning and Analysis; R. James Hildreth,
Director of Farm Foundation; and Burt Sundquist,
Professor of Agricultural Economics, University of
Minnesota. The reviewers, in addition to providing
useful comments, criticisms and suggestions, expressed
the opinion that the manuscript should be published
separately from the documents resulting from the
RFF/USDA/Joint Council exercise. The reason for

separate publication is that the report touches on sen-
sitive issues involving relationships between the
Agricultural Research Establishment (ARE), on one
hand, and the National Academy of Sciences and the
National Science Foundation, on the other. Relation-
ships within the ARE and between the ARE and
various activist groups are also addressed, along with
suggestions for internal reorganization of units within
Funds for publishing the manuscript were provided
by the National Center for Food and Agricultural
Policy at RFF, the Michigan Agricultural Experiment
Station and the Department of Agricultural
Economics at Michigan State University.
The Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station,
through Project 442, "Economics of Agricultural
Development and Economic Change," provided
additional resources. The Economic Research Service
also provided funds for using its World Model to make
the projections from 1980 to 2030.
The authors extend their thanks and appreciation
to Julia McKay, who provided thoughtful editorial
and word processing assistance, to Michael Lipsey for
preparing the figures, and to Leslie McConkey for
editorial assistance. Susan Battenfield and Chris Wolf
resolved problems in the electronic transmission of the
manuscript to the printer, and Shelly LaGuire pro-
vided secretarial assistance.
The views, findings, conclusions and recommen-
dations herein are those of the authors. They should
not be interpreted as representing those of Michigan
State University, the Michigan Agricultural Experi-
ment Station, Resources for the Future, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture or the Joint Council on
Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Executive Summary

Projections for American agriculture indicate that in-
ternational competition in commodity markets, possi-
ble energy shortages and foreign exchange needs to buy
energy, demands for improved world and U.S. diets, and
population growth make it advantageous for the United
States to develop capacity to double agricultural pro-
duction in the next half-century or so. Capacity to pro-
duce is not the same as actual production. Increases in
capacity resulting from research to improve technology
increase production only when knowledge of the
technology is distributed to producers and the inputs for
production (seeds, plants, machines, chemicals, etc.) in
which technology is imbedded are produced,
distributed, purchased and used by producers.
We believe it to be nationally advantageous to strive
for a 60 percent increase in capacity by 2010 and a 100
percent increase by 2030. We can always decide to make
or not make the investments to convert capacity into ac-
tual ability to produce. To have such capacity requires
an average annual growth rate of 2 percent per year.
To do this by 2030, we would need to crop an additional
50 to 60 million acres. We would also need to be able
to crop more intensely, to produce much higher crop
yields and to use more productive livestock. Constraints
on land, water and energy use would require an ability
to shift agricultural production systems to more reliance
on science and technology, human skills, improved in-
stitutions and policies, and a much expanded and im-
proved capital base. As in recent decades, these will con-
tinue to be the four prime movers for agricultural
The agricultural research required to secure these ad-
vances in capacity may be classified in three categories:
problem-solving (PS), subject-matter (SM) and basic or
disciplinary (DISC).
PS research is designed to solve problems on farms,
for industries, for governments and in homes. Of necessi-
ty, it is multidisciplinary across the social as well as the
biological and physical sciences. PS research will con-
tinue to be essential and of increasing importance,
though specific problems are difficult to foresee.
SM research produces information on subjects impor-

tant to farmers, consumers and others facing important
sets of problems. It is.also multidisciplinary. SM research
in agriculture is done mainly in agricultural college
departments and in USDA agencies and laboratories.
DISC (basic) research is becoming increasingly im-
portant for food and agriculture. DISC research is that
designed to improve the theories, techniques and basic
measurements of a particular academic discipline such
as chemistry or economics.
Overriding objectives for agricultural research will be
greater efficiency and stability of production, increased
profitability, greater food safety, improved nutritional
values, a more competitive position for trade on inter-
national markets, and more resource-sparing
Our report gives examples of PS research needed in
the decades ahead. It also contains much detail on feasi-
ble, promising SM and relevant DISC research for the
years ahead to attain the desired levels of production
The targets we accept as reasonable, feasible and in
the national interest include creating capacity to: in-
crease yields an average of 40 to 50 percent by 2010 and
65 to 80 percent by 2030; use an additional 35 to 40
million acres by 2010 and 50 to 60 million more fragile
soils in stressed environments for crops and improved
forages by 2030; and use the same or less fossil energy
while increasing the use of skilled labor, capital and ex-
pendable inputs to virtually eliminate unskilled "stoop"
labor. In addition to better technologies, we will need
improved institutions and more skilled people. We
would also have to ensure an agricultural social and
economic structure that adds to rather than detracts
from the quality of life of both rural and urban people.

Attaining such capacities will require new and im-
proved crop varieties developed through traditional
plant breeding and especially from genetic engineering.
Scientists should work to develop stress-resistant
varieties, as well as cultural and biochemical means of
overcoming environmental stresses, diseases and pests.
We will also need cultural and biochemical as well as

genetic improvements in livestock to overcome en-
vironmental stresses, diseases and insect pests. Crops,
livestock and poultry producers will all benefit from new
technologies to conserve water, energy and unskilled
labor. Agribusinesses and related industries-food pro-
cessing, fertilizer, petroleum, farm machinery and food
marketing businesses-will also require new improved
Critical institutional, personnel and financial re-
quirements must also be met if technological advances
are to be used in socially desirable ways. Not all the new
agricultural technologies likely to be developed in the
decades ahead will be such that creators and distributors
in the private sector will be able to appropriate enough
of their benefits to cover costs of research, development,
production and distribution. Hybrid corn was a special
case in which it was feasible for such companies to ap-
propriate a reasonable proportion of benefits. In addi-
tion to more cases like hybrid corn, the future is likely
to involve socially beneficial but privately unprofitable
cases. These will need to be handled in the public sector
by agricultural experiment stations and extension ser-
vices. In instances where appropriation of benefits
and/or ability to shift costs to others will be easy, the
private sector will need to be regulated to prevent
environmental pollution, contamination of the food
chain and the development of undesirable rural, social
and economic structures. Social science research must
be conducted in advance if we are to have capacity to
deal with such cases. Some such research is now getting
underway in agricultural colleges, other colleges and
universities. In addition, social science research (DISC
and as parts of SM and PS) will be needed to help devise
institutional controls over the general level of
agricultural output to keep capacity from being
prematurely used and overused.
Much emphasis is now being wisely directed to DISC
research in support of crop production technology.
However, important neglected DISC research is needed
for livestock production and tgri', .., .....
More DISC research is also needed in the social, institu-
tional and human development sciences if we are to have
the institutions and human skills required to create, use
and neither over- nor underregulate the new tech-
nologies targeted above.
To accomplish our targets, agricultural research (PS,
SM and DISC) requires: expanded budgets, more highly
skilled personnel, and improvements in administration
and coordination.


U.S. publicly supported agricultural research has in-
creased little in recent years, and support is not keeping

pace with either inflation or needs and opportunities.
Less than 2 percent of the total federal research and
development (R&D) budget is allocated for support of
agricultural research and educational programs. Within
the USDA, less than 2 percent of the current budget goes
for research and education. The USDA should have a
more substantial competitive research grant program to
support high priority DISC, PS and SM research related
to food production, forestry and human nutrition. The
social sciences should be included. The addition of PS
and SM research in the competitive grants research pro-
gram would make it necessary to increase the average
grant size and recognize the multidisciplinary nature of
PS and SM research. Rather than the present $15 million
to $17 million program, a $75 million to $100 million
annual program (in real 1983 dollars) in grants open to
all the nation's scientific expertise is needed. This should
be increased through time as a constant proportion of
the value of agricultural output. The needs and oppor-
tunities examined in this report indicate that this increase
in competitive grant funding should be accompanied by
a 10 percent annual increase (in real 1983 dollars) in sus-
tained support of PS, SM and DISC research facilities,
properties and personnel of state Agricultural Experi-
ment Stations, and for the Agricultural Research Service
(ARS), Economic Research Service (ERS) and Statistical
Research Service (SRS) of the USDA. These increases
should continue for at least 10 years before being


Achieving the desired capacity for agricultural pro-
duction will require highly trained people to do
agricultural and food research. The public agricultural
research system is not attracting or holding enough
bright young biological, physical and social scientists to
meet this critical need. The private sector also needs
more skilled managers, consultants and scientists. Severe
shortages now exist in pest management, marketing,
animal health and veterinary toxicology, resource
management and the rural social sciences. The state
Agricultural Experiment Stations provide the bulk (90
percent) of support for advanced degrees in agriculture.
This must be supplemented with federal-level funds. If
we depend entirely on state funds, the training of agri-
cultural scientists will be haphazardly underfunded. We
recommend that the USDA initiate a vastly expanded
postdoctoral fellowship program to support outstanding
young scientists for advanced training in the biological,
physical and social dimensions of PS, SM and DISC
aspects of agricultural research. We applaud current
congressional action to initiate a $10 million post-
doctoral fellowship program within the USDA's
Agricultural Research Service. It should be extended to

the agricultural colleges and universities. Young in-
vestigator awards and investigator-initiated grants
should be started to recruit bright new scientists, women
as well as men, into the agricultural research system
(Keyworth, 1983). The ARS, ERS, SRS and Cooperative
State Research Service (CSRS) of the USDA especially
need the infusion of new blood.
Farms and agribusinesses will need many more skilled
entrepreneurs and workers with capacity to produce,
distribute and use the inputs that will carry the new,
complex and sometimes dangerous technologies. Non-
research public agencies that provide informational,
regulatory and other public services for agriculture will
need to improve the skills of their employees.

Administration and Coordination

The problems and issues in food and agriculture have
changed faster than the administrative structures of the
state Agricultural Experiment Stations and the USDA.
Success in meeting the research needs of the next 50 years
will require continued overcoming of mismatches
between problems and subjects, on one hand, and the
multidisciplinary administrative units of the colleges of
agriculture and the USDA, on the other. This must be
done in the agricultural research establishment (ARE)
itself, with its unique concern for and ability to do PS
and SM research and its substantial capacity for DISC
research relevant to farming and agribusinesses.
The objectives and values sought by the ARE have
been criticized by biological and physical scientists out-
side the ARE; food, resource and agricultural activists;
and social scientists and humanists. Though alternative
agricultural production, marketing and rural social
systems exist, they are inadequately considered in the
ARE. Choices among these alternatives require evalua-
tion. It is important that the ARE's research mission be
expanded administratively to deal with such choices and
with the values involved in them. This is required both
to respond constructively to the ARE's critics and to im-
prove the ARE's PS and SM research. The required
philosophic reorientation of the ARE will be difficult.
Many biological and physical agricultural scientists avoid
research on values as unscientific. More emphasis is
needed on orientations that permit objective research on
values, non-monetary as well as monetary, and intrinsic
as well as market exchange values (prices). Here the
social scientists, humanists and, incidentally, agri-
cultural extension workers, vocational agriculture
teachers and 4-H club leaders, have contributions to

offer to the ARE and to the broader biological, physical
and social science communities.
For the entire spectrum of research (PS, SM and
DISC), the ARE must more fully exploit its advantages
and resources while also taking advantage of public and
private research capability external to itself. No research
system outside the ARE has the record of agricultural
problem solving and subject matter research accom-
plishments, the endowments of facilities, and the built-
in delivery systems and feedback mechanisms. These
facilities and assets will be important for the PS and SM
research required in the next 50 years. The ARE is
further unique in its coverage of the entire research
spectrum-PS, SM and DISC; its coordination with the
private sector, whose contributions equal or exceed those
of the public sector; and the federal-state agricultural
research partnerships. It is crucial for the future that
administrative and intellectual linkages be strengthened
among the ARE, other federal and state agencies, and
the non-land-grant universities that also do agricultural
research; and that the USDA and state Agricultural
Experiment Stations be administratively updated to
handle current and future agricultural problems and
It is particularly important in developing the capac-
ity advocated herein that ARE administrators support
proposals from organizations outside 'itself to finance
basic disciplinary research relevant to agriculture. It is
even more important that agencies outside the ARE not
be successful in dismantling or preventing the full
development of the PS and SM capacity of the ARE.
Objective, realistic cooperation and coordination, not
destructive competition, are needed.
Though a great deal of planning and programing of
research goes on in the ARE itself, we need to recognize
another layer of powerful decision makers important for
agricultural and food research: the National Academy
of Science (NAS), the National Science Foundation
(NSF), Congress, the executive branch of the U.S.
government, and non-land-grant universities with which
farmers, agribusinessmen and ARE personnel have little
or no communication. ARE scientists, their ad-
ministrators and their clientele groups should reach out
beyond their usual professional linkages to bridge the
gaps that exist at all levels between themselves and these
scientists and administrators outside the ARE. This is
most important for agricultural research to fulfill its
crucial mission of increasing our capacity to produce
and, less importantly, for the ARE's long-term survival
as a productive institution serving society.

Projections and the Organization of this Report

The capacity of U.S. agriculture to produce in 2030
should be at least 60 percent above 1980 levels. To be
safe, however, we need up to a 100 percent increase in
capacity. The amount we should actually produce will
depend on export opportunities, population and income
growth, demands for biomass as an industrial feedstock,
foreign exchange needs and the military conflicts that
may occur.

U.S. agricultural output expanded between 1880
and 1980 by over six times 1880 levels (see Fig. 1,
below). A 60 percent increase in capacity (3V2 times
1880 levels) by 2030 is easily within range. Six times
1880 levels is possible, which would enable us to double
1980 output by 2030 if we then find it desirable to pro-
duce that much.

Our land resources were much more fully utilized in
1980-81 than in 1950, and we have already made many

of the easy technological advances and institutional
changes. The six- to sevenfold growth in agricultural
output during the past century was accomplished with
varying combinations of more land, then less land, im-
proved capital embodying better technology, less un-
skilled labor, more skilled labor, institutional im-
provements, incentives and a vastly improved infrastruc-
ture, which has helped us exploit the changing com-
parative advantage of various farming regions and
subsectors of both the farm and non-farm sectors of the
United States (Johnson and Quance, 1972; Johnson,
1955). In the early 1930s, the acreage of land in use
-reached a peak, then declined and increased again in
1981 and 1982 to near the earlier peak. Currently (1983),
we have again reduced our crop acreages to help solve
problems of overproduction, surpluses and low prices.
We will have to resume cultivation of these and even
larger acreages in the years ahead.

Figure 1. Agricultural Output, 1880-1982

300 T

Linked indices (con
1947-49 base) from
.... ...- Strauss and Louis Be
Farm Income and I
Farm Production and
the United States 1
USDA Technical Bu
703, December 1940
-. ---.. 1909, Ralph Loomis
Barton, Productivity o
ture. USDA Technica
No. 1238, April 1961
55: Agricultural Statis
p. 546 for 1956-64: Ag
Statistics 1980, p. 440
77; and Agricultural
ERS, USDA. Decemt
p. 26 for 1978-82.

verted to
an, Gross
ndices of
Prices in
lletin No.
for 1880-
and Glen
'f Agricul-
I Bulletin
for 1910-
tics 1967,
for 1965-
ber 1982.

*1 I I I I I I
1880 1900 1920 1940 1980









S 1940


The quality of the physical and biological capital used
in agriculture has improved greatly as a result of
technological advances in seeds, plants, animals,
machinery, buildings and agro-chemicals. Much of
today's capital substitutes for the horses and unskilled
labor used earlier. Other modern capital complements
the highly skilled farm labor generated by our general
and agricultural educational systems. Much of the
technology that has improved the capital used in
agriculture was produced by the agricultural research
institutions of the land-grant colleges and USDA.
However, in the early years, especially, innovative
farmers and artisans improved equipment, livestock,
crops and machines. At the same time, improved
policies, processing, storage and transportation
technology, and infrastructure have permitted increased
specialization in production and marketing among
agricultural regions, between the farm and non-farm
sectors, and among individual farms. There have also
been institutional improvements, private as well as
public, to provide marketing services, credit, transpor-
tation services and insurance. Again, the USDA/land-
grant institutions have done much of the research on
which these institutional improvements have been based.

Not only must U.S. agriculture increase capacity to
produce at a substantially higher rate, but it will also
be required to maintain a fine balance between the
supply of products produced and widely fluctuating
demands for those products. If supply exceeds demand
at what would be equilibrium prices by, say, 5 percent
per year for four years, the results are disastrous: reduced
prices in the absence of price supports or accumulating
government-held stocks when prices are supported. In
about 80 percent of the years since 1918, U.S. agriculture
has suffered low prices, been subjected to production
controls and/or has had burdensome government-held
stocks. It is a dilemma: though U.S. agriculture is re-
quired to expand production steadily, it often suffers
from severe overproduction problems. Our problem is
clearly one of creating the capacity to increase
agricultural output while converting only as much of
that capacity into actual production as we need.
Nonetheless, it is much better to have an agricultural
economy that tends to over- rather than underproduce.
Though some have argued that the food shortages of the
'70s ushered in a perpetual era of unlimited demand for
and restricted supplies of food products, the events of
1981 and 1982 indicate clearly that 1974 to 1979 were
exceptions, not the rule (Johnson and Quance, 1972).
Since the early '70s, U.S. agriculture has gone from
surpluses to shortages and back to surpluses. Currently,
some are declaring that U.S. agriculture, because of
resource limitations, now faces more instability and
uncertainty than formerly. That conclusion seems ques-
tionable in view of the instabilities of the 1920s, the

economic collapse in the '30s, World War II and the
Korean and Vietnam wars, the activities of the
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, fluc-
tuations in income levels and technology, and other
The U.S. agricultural research establishment (ARE)
exceeds that in any other country in size, capacity and
accomplishments. In numbers of agricultural scientists
and comparative priority of governments for food, fiber
and forest products research, however, the Soviet Union
and the People's Republic of China may soon outpace
the United States (Wittwer, 1981a). Leadership in
research on technology for food production and
renewable agricultural resources will continue to reside
with the United States, however. The United States now
produces, consumes and exports more food than any
nation in all history. Sixty-one percent of the grain that
crossed international borders in 1979 was grown in the
United States (Batie and Healy, 1980). Agricultural ex-
ports for 1980 and 1981 exceeded $40 billion and offset
more than three-fifths of the cost of imported oil. We
have an important stake in keeping our agricultural
technology superior to that of our competitors.

Our projections for the next half-century indicate
needs for yield-increasing technology and technology
that permits, first, additional and perhaps more fragile
soils to be farmed, and second, more crops and more
intensive mixtures of crops to be grown on the land
farmed. We will require more labor-saving technologies
and human development and institutional changes to get
the new technologies used (Martin, 1983). Despite our
current surpluses, we will have to continue to work hard
and to invest more money, time and the services of
highly skilled people in agricultural productivity.

The USDA's National Inter-Regional Agricultural
Production (NIRAP) model (NRED, undated) projects
land-use requirements between 1980 and 2030. Current,
unpublished baseline projections of land use from that
model show that cropland and improved pasture will
decrease from 543 million acres in 1982 to 523 million
in 2030, with cropland increasing from 396 million acres
to 424 million. This implies that pasture would decrease
from 144 million to 96 million acres. Irrigated cropland
will about double. Baseline projections show a change
in the productivity index from 100 in 1977 to 193 in
2030; thus, the NIRAP model presumes substantial ad-
vances in yield-increasing technology and in technologies
to permit existing land to be farmed more intensively.
The NIRAP model does not allow the farming of
substantially more land and, hence, indicates little about
the need for technologies to farm additional less produc-
tive, more fragile soil. In effect, the nature of the NIRAP
model requires it to secure additional output per unit
of land while leaving overall land use essentially un-

changed. It is also interesting that the model accom-
plishes this while the real price of farm products falls
In the NIRAP model, U.S. agriculture does not inter-
act with either the U.S. non-farm economy or with other
economies in the world. However, it provides by 2030
for crop and livestock exports more than 50 percent
above current levels.
Further insights into the next half-century are
derivable from the projections produced by the relatively
new USDA/IIASA/MSU model, hereafter referred to as
the USDA world model.' In that model, U.S. agriculture
does interact with the U.S. non-farm economy and with
other countries via an international trade linkage com-
ponent. This permits the model to project exports and
non-farm uses of farm products rather than estimating
the consequences of assumed exports and non-farm uses.
The model also provides more flexibility than NIRAP
in projecting the development and use of currently less
productive, more fragile soils; and the intensity of crop-
ping mixes. This flexibility permits the model to tell us
more than NIRAP does about technological advances
needed to permit the cropping of soils not now cropped
and to produce more crops per year and more intensive
mixtures of crops.
When the USDA world model is operated using
scenarios similar to those used in the NIRAP projections
discussed above, the results with respect to land use are
essentially the same for 2030. Both models show similar
increases in yields per acre and in land utilization. In-
creased intensity of cropping mixes is explicit in the
USDA world model and implied by the NIRAP model.
However, in the USDA world model, U.S. grain exports
run into competition in both domestic and world
markets. Together, exports and domestic use increase
rapidly in both models. Though exports are assumed in
the NIRAP model, the U.S. non-farm sector competes
in the USDA world model, probably unrealistically,
with other countries for the use of coarse grains as in-
dustrial feedstocks for producing gasohol and organic in-
dustrial products. Domestic livestock producers also
compete with foreign grain and livestock producers to
expand production and exports. This increases U.S.
exports of livestock products in the world model and cur-
tails U.S. grain exports to such an extent that coarse
grains are no longer exported in 2030. Though it is
doubtful that U.S. trading partners would permit such
an expansion of livestock production and exports, the
USDA world and NIRAP models agree on the need for
capacity to produce much more to meet substantial in-

These helpful projections were made by Douglas Maxwell
of the Economic Research Service (ERS) with the approval
of John Lee, ERS administrator.

creases in demand. Clearly a doubling of our capacity
to produce agricultural output in the next 50 years is a
reasonable target, even if we do not actually produce
such levels of output.
The world model was also used to project the conse-
quences of a high level of world prosperity to see how
exports and pressure on U.S. agricultural resources
would be affected. In another attempt to see the conse-
quences of stressing U.S. agriculture, the model was run
using a scenario that reduced the yield-increasing effects
of technological and other research by half. The results
of these two analyses indicate that higher prosperity in
the world would not expand the use of land in the United
States in 2025 beyond the baseline projection of 436
million acres to meet export demands. The model's 2025
constraint of 450 million acres is not encountered. On
the other hand, halving anticipated yield increases
reduces acreage used because higher U.S. and world
prices decrease U.S. exports and domestic use. Produc-
tion abroad expands in response to the higher prices. (We
should note that the halving of expected yield increases
still generates yields in 2030 that are 32 to 40 percent
above present levels.)
To project events, accomplishments and progress in
agricultural research and technology beyond a decade
is fraught with many uncertainties. More important still
is that the variables that determined the results are
handled in scenarios because they are difficult to model
and predict. In the above scenarios, levels of world pros-
perity and yield increases were treated as unpredictable.
Though yield increases may not be highly predictable,
they can be influenced by such controllable factors as
research appropriations; educational programs for en-
trepreneurs, scientists and educators; and institutions
and policies that make yield-increasing technology
profitable or unprofitable.
It is our conviction that the United States can manage
the development of its agricultural technology, institu-
tions, human and natural resources, and capital
accumulations to make .it possible to attain the yields
used in the NIRAP I and world model scenario. Some
per acre yields for this scenario follow:


Wheat, bu.
Soybeans, bu.
Grain Sorghum, bu.
Barley, bu.
Oats, bu.
Corn, bu.
Rough Rice, cwt.
Seed Cotton, lbs.

1980 2030



World Model
1980 2030



Neither the NIRAP nor the world model projections

indicate a drop in U.S. per capital real income by 2030;
instead, they presume substantial increases in real per
capital GNP. NIRAP I shows a drop in prices of farm
products relative to prices paid by farmers-in other
words, the real price of farm products at the farm level
is projected to fall despite possible resource constraints.
With per capital incomes increasing and the real prices
of farm products falling, the real cost of labor in farm-
ing and food marketing is projected to rise. Such an in-
crease would be expected to increase the demand for
labor-saving technology in agriculture. It should also be
expected to increase the size of farm required for a full-
time farmer to make a net income comparable to those
earned by non-farmers with comparable investments.
Small farms operated by part-time farmers, however,
will likely continue to increase in numbers in areas pro-
viding off-farm employment opportunities. Both types
of farms will require labor-saving technologies.

That which follows is in four parts. Part I presents
two classifications: first, the cutting edges of agricultural
advance, and second, the kinds of research done in the
agricultural research establishment (ARE). Part II deals
with the criticisms of the ARE that are made by three
activist and influential groups in our society, and various
philosophies that guide evaluations of the ARE. Part III
presents detailed research priorities following the
classifications presented in Part I. These priorities are
influenced by the projections considered above. They
also reflect the knowledge that the authors have of the
ARE, other research agencies and the different capabil-
ities of these agencies to do the three kinds of agricultural
research considered in Part I. Part IV indicates what will
be required to do what needs to be done in the next 50

Part I

Basic Classifications

Two basic classifications structure this report. First, we classify the
cutting edges for growth in agriculture's capacity to produce into four
categories: science and technological advance, improved institutions,
human skills, and an expanded and improved capital base. Secondly, we
classify agricultural research into three categories long a continuum
running from problem-solving to basic or disciplinary research. The three
categories are problem-solving (PS), subject-matter (SM) and disciplinary
(DISC) or basic research. These two classifications provide a perspective
on the substance of research done in the agricultural research establish-
ment (ARE), and the role and responsibilities of the ARE and associated
public and private agencies in doing PS, SM and DISC research. These
perspectives, in turn, help us to understand what is needed to get the
necessary research done for the next 50 years.

The Four Cutting Edges for Growth
in Agriculture's Capacity to Produce
Growth in agriculture's productive capacity results
from progress made on four fronts or cutting edges:
technological advance, improved institutions, human
skills, and an improved and expanded capital (physical
and biological) base. All are essential-none is in-
dividually sufficient. The challenge is to obtain an
appropriate combination of them.
Technological advance is crucial and necessary, but
alone it is not sufficient for agricultural progress. One
agricultural system after another around the world has
failed to take advantage of modern technology because
of adverse policies and institutions that hampered use
of available technologies. Further, as agricultural
systems advance technologically, they become increas-
ingly dependent upon highly trained people and effec-
tively operating public research and control facilities.
It is the highly trained people of an agricultural system
who generate both technological advances and the in-
stitutional innovations conducive to the proper ex-
ploitation of technological advances. Also, complex

technologies, institutional controls and forms and, in
recent years, the computerization of agricultural pro-
duction, marketing, processing and food distribution
all require skilled managers. Improvements in human
beings have become more fundamental and primary as
our agricultural systems have developed.
Further, we must not forget the importance of
accumulating biological/physical capital. The lands of
Holland, for instance, are now productive because
much capital was invested in soils that were originally
poor or inaccessible. The Dutch added drainage
systems, dikes, canals, plant nutrients, organic matter,
buildings, service roads, fences and a vast amount of
social infrastructure to convert poor inaccessible soil in-
to an excellent land base for one of the most productive
agricultural systems of the world. Capital is being in-
vested in soil to create more productive land in the
United States, also, and the saturation point for such
investments is far in the future. Agricultural systems
increase in productivity because of investments of
capital in orchards, vineyards, breeding herds,
research stations, input supply industries, processing
plants and marketing facilities. Capital accumulation,

like technological advance, institutional progress and
improvements in the human agent, is a necessary com-
ponent of agricultural progress.
We concentrate in this report on technological ad-
vance and on related advances necessary to get new
technologies created and used. Suggestions are offered
for research on institutions, human development and
capital accumulation to take advantage of the techno-
logical research. This report, however, is not balanced.
It deals only with the institutional, human develop-
ment and capital accumulation research necessary to
take advantage of technological advances. It does not
adequately treat the need for research on institutions,
human resources and additional capital. Research on
these subjects is required to attain objectives other than
the creation of new technology. Agricultural research
has more to contribute to the well-being of society than
just the creation of new technologies.

Categories of Agricultural Research

Three broad categories of agricultural research can
be distinguished and are discussed here: disciplinary
(DISC), subject-matter (SM) and problem-solving

Disciplinary Research
This is research designed to improve a discipline,
such as biochemistry, economics, genetics, sociology,
cell microbiology or physics. DISC research improves
the basic theory of a discipline, contributes knowledge
and measurements of the phenomena of interest to it
and improves the techniques available to it. DISC
research can be of either known or unknown relevance.
Agriculture is dependent on relevant advances in the
biological, physical and social science disciplines and in
the humanistic disciplines, as well.

Subject-Matter Research
This is multidisciplinary research on a subject of im-
portance to a relatively well defined set of decision
makers facing a relatively well defined set of practical
problems in the real world. If research on such a sub-
ject is not multidisciplinary, it becomes relevant DISC
research. By decision makers we refer to the farmers,
homemakers, experiment station directors, govern-
mental officials and others who decide on solutions for
the everyday practical private and public problems of
agriculture and food. SM research is done to produce
and organize multidisciplinary bodies of knowledge for
the use of sets of such decision makers.
It is important to distinguish this type of research
from disciplinary and problem-solving research

because their objectives, financing and administrative
requirements are substantially different. Failure to
realize these differences is at the heart of many of the
ARE's difficulties with its public image, funding and
internal administration. Most departments in colleges
of agriculture are multidisciplinary SM departments.
In a sense, such departments are more like institutes
than the disciplines of traditional universities.
Agronomy, for instance, provides information about
soils and crops useful to rather well defined sets of
farmers tackling problems involving production of cer-
tain crops. Agronomy departments are not specialized
in a single discipline. Instead, they are
multidisciplinary and typically include scientists with
disciplinary skills in chemistry, physics, genetics,
statistics, plant physiology, bacteriology and
economics, to list only a few of the disciplines that con-
tribute to the SM research and teaching of an
agronomy department. Similar conclusions can be
reached about animal science, agricultural economics
and horticulture departments. One of the earmarks of
SM departments is that they are multidisciplinary.

Another distinction is that SM research seldom
generates information sufficient in and of itself to solve
a specific problem faced by any of the decision makers
being served. The typical decision maker ordinarily
supplements information generated by SM research
with other information to solve a specific problem. A
farmer, for instance, using the results of agronomic
research to solve a crop rotation problem, typically has
to supplement such research results with knowledge
about prices, markets, his machinery and equipment,
his livestock program and the availability of his labor,
as well as that of his family and hired persons.

Problem-Solving Research
The USDA/agricultural college establishment has
responsibility for conducting much problem-solving
(PS) research and extension work. Such work typically
focuses on a specific problem faced by a specific deci-
sion maker or set of decision makers. For example,
dairy farmers in Michigan a few years ago needed to
find a more labor-efficient way of handling milk. The
problem was solved by a combination of agricultural
engineers, dairy husbandry specialists, economists and
bacteriologists. Their combined work produced dairy
production systems involving combinations of bulk
milk tanks, greatly improved "herringbone" milking
parlors, facilities for handling feeds and animal wastes,
and buildings for housing dairy animals, all adapted to
help solve the problem of using labor more efficiently
on Michigan farms. Problem-solving research, like SM
research, is multidisciplinary.

The Comparative Advantage of the
USDA/Colleges of Agriculture
in Doing Problem-Solving
and Subject-Matter Research
The SM departments of state Agricultural Experi-
ment Stations and extension agencies are in an advan-
tageous position for doing SM and PS research because
of their facilities, multidisciplinary orientation to
agriculture and their direct contact with farmers. Per-
sonnel at state Agricultural Experiment Stations and
local field research substations are in close contact with
farmers and can identify and define specific problems
in a wide range of geographical, physical, social and
economic settings.

The Private Sector-Its Role
in Problem-Solving and Subject-Matter
Research and Extension
The United States is blessed with an agribusiness sec-
tor that plays major constructive roles in converting
advances in the basic biological/physical sciences into
new technology, which it, in turn, produces, advertises
(private extension) and distributes. The private sector
also markets, processes and distributes in processed
form the primary products produced by farmers.
Agribusinesses and consumers, as well as farmers and
rural residents, benefit from public agricultural
research in colleges of agriculture and the USDA. This
symbiotic relationship (existing and potential) is im-
portant in the technological advance of agriculture. It
has also been a point for severe criticism of the system.
The critics declare that agricultural scientists and their
research programs are overdirected by agribusiness
profit-making establishments to the detriment of "the
public good" and basic science. (Critics of the system
will be discussed later.)
In addition to the mutual reinforcement between
publicly supported research and the private
agribusiness sector, the public has an interest in
regulating the production and utilization of chemicals
and biologicals, and the structural changes that new
technology brings about in society as a whole, as well
as in agriculture. Agricultural research generates much
knowledge about farm production processes, natural
resources and people to be used in setting public

agribusiness policies and establishing regulations for
agribusiness to -ensure safe and effective use of new

Relationships Among
the Three Kinds of Research
The SM or institute-like departments of colleges of
agriculture and their experiment stations contrast with
the traditional DISC departments found in other
colleges and non-land-grant universities. These depart-
ments give the agricultural colleges and experiment
stations a comparative advantage in working on sub-
jects important for solving problems of farmers. The
DISC departments outside of colleges of agriculture in
land-grant and non-land-grant universities cannot
pursue PS and SM research effectively without such
institute-like departments. No other institution has
such departments, facilities, land resources, and the
direct legal responsibility or the willingness to do this
kind of research for agricultural decision makers. Some
competing institutions criticize the ARE for doing
"brush-fire research" when it carries out practical
research as part of the legislatively mandated respon-
sibilities the clientele of the ARE expect it to bear
(Johnson, forthcoming-c).
Sometimes unwise and unproductive competition
occurs between the USDA and the land-grant colleges
of agriculture, on one hand, and the more DISC
departments in universities, on the other. What is
really needed are coordinated efforts among them.
From the very beginning, the colleges of agriculture,
which were established to do PS and SM research, had
to draw on DISC knowledge produced by the basic
disciplines. There is an important complementarity
between those who know agricultural problems, are
organized to mount multidisciplinary research groups
to tackle practical agricultural and food problems, and
have the necessary field and laboratory facilities to do
PS and SM research, and those who do relevant
specialized research in the basic disciplines. U.S.
agriculture, today and in the next 50 years, cannot get
along without both basic advances in DISC knowledge
and the capacity to integrate knowledge from a
number of disciplines into multidisciplinary bodies of
SM knowledge and solutions for the practical problems
of farmers. We must do a better, more constructive job
of exploiting this complementarity.

Part II

Critics of the

Agricultural Research Establishment

Various groups have criticized the agricultural research establishment
(ARE) in recent years. Consideration of these criticisms is essential in
reaching objective recommendations on agricultural science policies, the
introduction of new technologies, and decisions on priorities and research
projects for the next 50 years, as we are attempting here. These criticisms
are widely known by legislators, government officials and research ad-
ministrators and must be given serious consideration in this report.

Agricultural research ranges from efforts to solve
problems for individual farmers and public decision
makers, at one extreme, to agriculturally relevant DISC
research in the biological, physical and social sciences,
at the other. This wide range of research leaves the ARE
open to rather sharply contrasting opinions from prac-
tical persons interested in the relevance of research done
to those interested in advancing the disciplines of
academia. The critics include: the biological/physical
scientists outside of the USDA/land-grant system;
humanists and social scientists (some but not all of whom
are outside the USDA/land-grant system) who are con-
cerned about societal as well as private impacts of ARE
research; and various anti-ARE activists concerned, in
general, with private and societal impacts of ARE
research and, more specifically, about the environment;
sustainable, regenerative, organic or closed agricultural
production systems; equity; hunger; poverty; con-
tamination of food chains; and "quality of life."
The criticisms advanced by these groups combine
with the power they exercise to create ethical dilemmas
for agricultural administrators and researchers. These
dilemmas are considered in the last two sections of this

The Biological and Physical Scientists
Outside the USDA/Land-Grant System
These critics argue that the resources used by the ARE

on PS and SM research would be much more produc-
tive if used for basic research in the biological/physical
science disciplines (National Academy of Sciences, 1972;
The Rockefeller Foundation, 1982; Marshall, 1982; The
New York Times, 1982; Science, 1982; Lepkowski,

This group of critics correctly points out that agri-
cultural technology is increasingly complex and is more
and more dependent on advances in the biological/
physical science disciplines. They argue further that the
institute-like multidisciplinary departments in colleges
of agriculture are "frittering away" resources on trivial
research that could be better used by biological/physical
scientists. Not everyone agrees. On the other hand, farm
leaders, farmers and farm-oriented legislators fear that
transfers to more DISC research would lead to neglect
of PS and SM research for food and agriculture and to
the proliferation of irrelevant "ivory tower"
bureaucracies. Consequently, line items appear in
budgets to ensure that certain kinds of PS and SM
research will be done.

Along with the conviction that PS and SM research
of the ARE are less important than DISC research, there
is often a presupposition that the agribusiness sector can
convert advances from the basic biological/physical
sciences into technology so effectively that college of
agriculture researchers and extension workers are no

longer needed to do PS and SM research to generate and
distribute new technologies.
Biological and physical science critics seem no more
sensitive than their ARE colleagues to still other critics
who are dissatisfied with the way technological advance
sometimes restructures agriculture and society. These in-
sensitivities probably result from the philosophic com-
mitment of biological/physical scientists to logical
positivism. Logical positivism undergirds much of the
methods used by the biological/physical sciences
(Pearson, 1937; Achinstein and Barker, 1969). This
philosophy (and those adhering to it) excludes from
science much research on values and on "what ought to
be done." More specifically, it excludes research on
values as characteristics of the real objective world.
Biological and physical scientists outside the USDA/land-
grant system appear no more aware than their colleagues
inside the system of needs for social science research on
values and on the rightness or wrongness of alternative
governmental actions to channel the structural changes
in agriculture along more desirable lines. (In this con-
nection, we note that the agribusiness sector should not
be expected to implement social science research on
restructuring society unless such restructuring is in the
interests of agribusiness.)
The positivism of biological/physical science dis-
ciplinarians both within and outside the ARE often
causes them to regard their roles of scientists and citizens
as dichotomous. As citizens, they tend to deal with
values, but, as scientists, they regard questions about
goodness and badness as characteristics of the real ob-
jective world and about what ought or ought not to be
done as beyond scientific research. In short, they often
refrain from research on values (goodness and badness)
essential for SM and PS research. This leads to a
technological determinism in the criticisms of the
biological/physical scientists outside the ARE, which
treats technological change as the singular cutting edge
or frontier of agricultural development while neglecting
institutional change, human development and capital
accumulation. As a result, biological/physical science
disciplinarians make cases for transferring research
resources from the ARE to the biological/physical science
disciplines outside the USDA/land-grant system.
Power plays also occur among biological/physical
scientists inside and outside the ARE for control of the
system's resources. If some of the disciplinary
biological/physical scientists were to have their way, PS
and SM research within the ARE would be greatly
reduced. Disciplinarians from the biological/physical
sciences have advocated a competitive grants agricul-
tural research program in the basic biological/ physical
science disciplines and opposed the so-called Hatch
formula funding of state Agricultural Experiment Sta-
tions. They fail to recognize that balanced funding of

PS, SM and relevant DISC research in the total system
is essential for agricultural progress.

Humanists, Social Scientists,
Religious Leaders and Others
This group is critical of some of the values pursued
by the ARE. Their objective criticisms were expressed
along with less objective criticisms of anti- and pro-ARE
activists at conferences at the University of Delaware,
July 14-17, 1981; Texas A&M University, March 11-12,
1981; the Yahara U.S. Council of Churches Conference
on World Hunger in Madison, Wis., April 23-26, 1981
(Knowles, 1983), and at the University of Florida, March
8-9, 1982, and Oct. 18-21, 1982 (Haynes and Lanier,
1982). The late Rachel Carson (1962), though not a
social scientist or humanist, objectively criticized the
ARE on humanistic grounds as part of what she probably
regarded as her extra-scientific activity (Hadwiger,
1982). This group of critics is concerned that the ARE
pays inadequate attention to the values involved in rural
poverty, human nutrition, malnutrition, justice, en-
dangered species, environmental pollution, energy,
water and the structure of rural society. Some of these
critics have not distinguished carefully between the
biological/physical scientists within and outside the
USDA/land-grant system. Instead, they have tended to
lump them together as logically positivistic scientists who
neglect values.
The above-mentioned conferences have also revealed
substantial gaps in the knowledge of humanists and
social scientists about the nature of agricultural
technology, institutions and people. Ironically, the
humanists have often lacked knowledge about values im-
portant for agriculture and the positivistic characteristics
of agriculture and farm people. The two University of
Florida conferences are noteworthy because the first
(which partially planned the second) revealed a grave
lack of both positive (other than about goodness and
badness) and normative (about goodness and badness)
knowledge about agriculture. The second conference at
least partially corrected this deficiency by including
more people from the ARE. Despite some unobjective
activist participation at these conferences, much of the
effort was devoted to objective investigation of ethical
questions. Both logic and experience were sometimes
used in addressing questions of value. Further, both
positive and normative knowledge were often used to
reach prescriptive knowledge about "what ought to be
done." Obviously the humanists and social scientists have
important contributions to make to the guidance of the
ARE's work over the next 50 years.

As advocates, activists often sacrifice objectivity to
promote prescriptions that they put beyond investiga-

tion and research. In doing this, they distinguish
themselves from objective social, biological and physical
scientists and the humanists.
Two major groups of activists concerned with ARE
research are the anti-ARE and the pro-ARE activists.
The anti-ARE activists include some religious, hunger
and poverty workers, environmentalists, some concerned
with the preservation of non-farm rural values, people
worried about mistreatment of migrant laborers and
small farmers, some concerned with the so-called demise
of the "family farm," some with fears about the exhaus-
tion of non-renewable resources, some who promote
their own political futures, and some nutritionists and
some academicians promoting their disciplines or fields
and, for that matter, themselves (Knowles, 1983; Lappe
and Collins, 1977; Nelson, 1980; Perelman, 1978).

Despite lapses in objectivity, the anti-ARE activists
have often placed important problems and issues on the
agenda. Some of the anti-ARE activists have proven
poorly informed about the technology and institutions
of agriculture; others have lacked knowledge about the
nature of farm people. Some see almost innumerable
"conspiracies" among the agricultural research establish-
ment, agribusinesses and large farmers to exploit small
farmers, farm laborers and consumers. Some seem no
more objective than reactionary conservatives who see
communist conspiracies among all concerned about the
poor and disadvantaged.
Pro-ARE activists who unobjectively defend the ARE
come from the establishment itself, from agricultural
businesses and from various groups of agricultural fun-
damentalists, both inside and outside of government.
Not all defenders of the ARE are unobjective. The
defenders also include those who try objectively to listen
to the anti-ARE activists and to provide them with ob-
jective knowledge about agricultural institutions,
technologies, people and capital accumulation. Others,
of course, react emotionally, in uninformed, unobjec-
tive ways, in defending the ARE against the anti-ARE
activists. The more objective defenders of the ARE
believe the anti-ARE activists should have an opportu-
nity to have their say and, in turn, to remedy their lack
of positive and normative knowledge about agricultural
institutions, technology, people and capital structures.

Among important issues placed on the ARE's research
agenda in part by activists is the need for agricultural
technologies that are less exploitive of our resources and
more sustainable during the decades ahead. A variety
of alternatives are promoted under such descriptive and
attractive names as regenerative agriculture, sustainable
agriculture, closed-system agriculture and organic farm-
ing (Edens and Haynes, 1982; Rodale, 1982). Activists
often view pesticides and fertilizers as threats to the en-
vironment and human health. This concern has pro-

moted research on possible adverse impacts. Activists
have called important issues to the attention of the ARE
by decrying the losses from soil erosion and claiming that
we are exporting our soils; that current agricultural
systems are unduly exploitive of land, water, energy, fer-
tilizers and pesticides; and that current agricultural pro-
duction levels cannot be significantly increased or even
maintained. Alternatives advocated are more energy-
sparing, soft technologies involving reduced use of
chemical fertilizers and pesticides, biological nitrogen
fixation, the use of more organic matter and perennial
grains (Busch and Lacy, 1983). Activists have called
attention to research needs of small-scale, resource-
sparing agricultural production enterprises that need to
be addressed by the ARE (Wittwer, 1982a). These same
subjects are objectively researched by the social scien-
tists, humanists and critics discussed earlier.

Power, Knowledge and Ethical Dilemmas
of ARE Administrators and Researchers

Though the complaints of all three critical groups are
sometimes in conflict, they are all primarily ethical in
the sense that they assert that the ARE has made and
is making wrong decisions, often on the basis of incor-
rect values, on agricultural science policies and research
priorities, goals and objectives. ARE administrators, sup-
porters and researchers are facing ethical dilemmas
related to the appropriateness of existing distributions
of power influencing decisions, and the inadequacy of
the normative and, in fewer instances, positive knowl-
edge used by the ARE to reach prescriptive decisions on
agricultural science policies, priorities, goals and objec-
tives. The following subsections deal with power distri-
butions, knowledge bases, and dilemmas in administer-
ing and running the ARE.

Power Distributions
Changes are taking place in the distribution of power
among groups that support and oppose the ARE. Such
changes create uncertainty for ARE administrators and
researchers who are trying to improve the ARE as it
evolves. Those who possess power with respect to the
ARE include members of the U.S. Congress and state
legislatures, and their farmer, agribusiness and consumer
constituencies; the ARE and its constituent government
and academic agencies; and various non-agricultural
science and academic constituencies. These groups exer-
cise political and budgetary power in the federal and
state governments. At the national level, power centers
are located in the USDA and associated federal agen-
cies, and in the National Science Foundation (NSF) and
the National Research Council of the National Academy
of Science (NAS/NRC). Each power center has its
academic constituencies. The USDA's include the

colleges of agriculture, state Agricultural Experiment
Stations and state Cooperative Extension Services, while
those of the NSF/NAS/NRC are largely outside colleges
of agriculture in both land-grant and non-land-grant
The critical activists have no clearly identifiable power
center. Members of Congress respond in different ways
to the various activists. Several government agencies-
including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environ-
mental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Admini-
stration, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department
of Interior, National Science Foundation, National In-
stitutes of Health, National Aeronautics and Space
Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce-have
been given additional authority to deal with activist con-
cerns. These agencies, in turn, have developed power
to influence decisions about agricultural research on
nutrition, environmental quality, energy, the use of non-
renewable resources, product safety, the use and hous-
ing of farm labor, food stamps, food prices, world
hunger and international research assistance for agri-
The humanists and social scientists probably have the
weakest power base of the three groups. They sometimes
derive power from the activist critics and, in turn,
sometimes support them. Such alliances, however, are
uneasy because the humanists and social scientists are
too academic and objective to be reliable allies or to work
as hard as the activists in exercising political power.
Within the ARE, social scientists often defect from
defense of the ARE because they resent what they regard
as undue domination of the agricultural research agenda
by biological/physical science departments (National
Academy of Sciences, 1977; Johnson, forthcoming-a).
These defections sometimes support the arguments of the
activist critics and of the academic humanists.

Knowledge Bases for Administrators
and Researchers of the ARE
Decisions about agricultural science policy, priorities,
goals and objectives are properly based on descriptive
knowledge, both normative (about goodness and bad-
ness) and positive (not about goodness and badness),
processed through various decision rules to select optimal
actions. Differences between the ARE and its critics over
agricultural science prescriptions can originate in either
conflicting information bases, both positive and norma-
tive, or the use of different decision rules that reflect
different power bases.
The knowledge base of the ARE tends to be more
positivistic than normative. The ARE's positive
agricultural knowledge is obviously excellent. On the
other hand, the positivism of the ARE's biological/
physical scientists mitigates against the development of

objective normative information about values, either
overall or in exchange, and either monetary or non-
monetary. Knowledge of market prices is often
mistrusted and misused by both the ARE and its critics.
Both often fail to understand that prices are measures
of monetary exchange values instead of measures of
overall value, and that exchange values are always par-
tially determined by distributions of market power.
Prices reflect basic values but are not basic values ex-
cept in the sense of being derived from them. Agricul-
tural economists and other rural social scientists in the
ARE sometimes are also so positivistic that they do lit-
tle better on normative information than their
biological/physical science counterparts, either inside or
outside the ARE.
The knowledge about goodness and badness used by
the biological/physical scientists of the ARE and by its
biological/physical science critics is often rather intuitive,
simplistic and arbitrary. Examples include the use of
energy accounts and the universal soil loss equations as
measures of the badness of energy consumption and soil
movement (Johnson, 1981, 1974). Use of such simplistic
measures of value may be attributed to the logical
positivism of the biological/physical scientists, which
tends to preclude the use of experience in developing
normative knowledge.

On the other hand, the knowledge that humanists and
urbanized social scientists have about agricultural values
is often appallingly weak. Many lack experience with
farms and farmers, rural and farm environments, farm
production processes, farm problems, agribusinesses and
the agricultural sciences from which they could derive
descriptive knowledge of values. And some philosophies
emphasize metaphysical speculation as a source of
knowledge about values. Despite these shortcomings, the
humanists and social scientists are sometimes aware of
neglected values that permit them to put important
neglected problems and subjects on the agricultural
research agenda.
The activists often trap themselves into advocating
questionable prescriptions because they lack crucial
positive and/or normative information. When they err
in their positive knowledge, ARE personnel can easily
provide the correct knowledge. However, when they err
in their normative knowledge, the biological/physical
scientists in the ARE are not well equipped philo-
sophically to provide correct knowledge about values.
As normatively uninformed pro-ARE activists are not
effective in defending the ARE against prescriptions
from normatively uninformed anti-ARE activists, such
exchanges are often unfruitful.
Unfortunately, knowledge bases are sometimes dis-
torted by self-seeking "interpretations," especially when
available knowledge is so poor that such interpretations

go unchallenged. This applies to both anti-ARE and pro-
ARE activists and to the ARE, as well as to its critics
from the biological/physical sciences, the humanities and
the social sciences. It is tempting to groups with vested
interests to warp both positive and normative informa-
tion in favor of prescriptions that yield budgetary and
power advantages to themselves. It is therefore necessary
to apply the standards of honesty generally endorsed by
scholarly communities to advocacy and lobbying ac-
tivities, either pro or con, with respect to agricultural
research. This need also applies to the present effort of
the authors of this report.

Dilemmas Faced

The authors of this report are faced with primary
ethical dilemmas in developing research priorities for the
next 50 years. The humanists, social scientists and acti-
vists have demonstrated that the ARE lacks adequate
normative knowledge and has left much knowledge in-
adequately researched and unattended. Logical posi-
tivism is partly responsible for the shortage of objective
knowledge about values-particularly knowledge of
non-monetary values (both total and in exchange), but
also of prices, which are monetary exchange values. The
particular dilemma involved here is that the dominance
of logical positivism makes it appear unscientific to ad-
vocate use of ARE resources to do research on values.
This is particularly frustrating, both when the authors
of this paper try to develop prescriptions about the ARE's
research policies and priorities, and when they consider
priorities for PS research that requires generation of
knowledge about values.
The criticisms of the non-ARE biological/physical
scientists also present a dilemma for the authors of this
paper. These critics assert that DISC research yields
more per dollar spent than PS and SM research. This
descriptive assertion about values is hardly consistent
with the underlying logical positivism of the critics. Few
in the ARE would disagree about the value of the pro-
ducts of DISC research in the biological/physical
sciences. Many in the ARE, however, feel that the PS
and SM research of the ARE also produce results of great
value. The dilemma is one of obtaining objective agree-
ment from two groups who believe descriptive knowl-
edge about values is unobjective on the relative values
of the three types of research done in the ARE.
The authors of this paper also face two further dilem-
mas, the first more ethical than the second. The first

dilemma involves the question of using power bases to
put prescriptions about agricultural research into effect.
Power legitimately substitutes for knowledge when the
cost of more knowledge exceeds its value (Johnson, et
al., 1961; Johnson, 1977, 1981, forthcoming-b). Logical
positivists regard knowledge that purports to be about
characteristics of a real world as illusionary and
The second less ethical dilemma has to do with exist-
ing public support for PS and SM agricultural research.
Can the authors ignore the existing political and
budgetary support of members of Congress, state
legislators, farmer organizations, commodity groups,
and agribusiness people who expect PS and SM research
results from the ARE? Can the authors risk letting
biological/physical scientists make the case for DISC
research in the biological/physical sciences at the expense
of publicly supported PS and SM research? Might there
not be a serious backlash among the clientele who need
practical results against all scientific agricultural
research, including basic or DISC research? The authors
seriously question the political transferability of support
from PS and SM to DISC research. The way around this
dilemma seems to be one of presenting a united front
for all three kinds of research in the proportions and se-
quences judged optimal on the basis of more knowledge
of values than both the ARE and its critics commonly
use. This is the course we have tried to follow in this
The "Pound Report" (National Academy of Sciences,
1972) of the ARE initiated the recent increase in pressure
from biological/physical science critics of the ARE for
more basic research in the biological/physical science
disciplines. Actually, such pressures are at least one hun-
dred years old (Science, 1883). Clearly, DISC research
was, is and will continue to be needed. This expansion,
however, should not be at the expense of multidis-
ciplinary PS and SM research and relevant DISC
research in the social sciences and humanities. To date,
the ARE appears to have heard its biological/physical
science critics much more clearly than either its social
science or humanistic critics, or for that matter, its
activist critics. The dilemma is that social science and
humanistic research are also needed, and many of the
anti-ARE activists have valid points. The authors of this
report attempt to solve this dilemma by balancing the
need for DISC social science and humanistic research
against the need for DISC biological/physical science
research in developing priorities for PS and SM research
on technological advance for agriculture.

Part III

Research Priorities

A vision of priorities for PS, SM and DISC research needs to focus on
the four cutting edges essential for agricultural progress-science and
technological advance, improved institutions, human skills, and an ex-
panded and improved capital (physical and biological) base. This iden-
tifies the roles of the various components in the system; lays the ground-
work for clarifying important budgetary, administrative and coordination
problems; and permits an examination of priorities within each of the three
kinds of research without becoming engaged in sterile debate concerning
the merits of the three.
Herein are presented examples of PS research emphasizing technology
but with no attempt to develop separate statements for needed PS research
in the areas of technology, institutions, human development and capital
accumulation. The discussion of SM and DISC research follows an outline
that relates research in the subject matter departments of colleges of
agriculture and in the typical disciplinary departments of traditional univer-
sities to our classification of the prime movers in agricultural development.

Examples of Problem-Solving
Research for Agriculture
Problems faced by agriculture's decision makers-
farmers, agribusiness persons, government officials,
scientists and research administrators-are typically
multidisciplinary; consequently, research on such
problems is also multidisciplinary. Practical problems
do not respect the disciplinary departments and bound-
aries found in universities and institutes. The domains
of current practical problems often cross the boundaries
of such multidisciplinary departments in colleges of
agriculture as agronomy, agricultural engineering, rural
sociology and agricultural economics. Still further, they
often cross college boundaries in universities and the
boundaries within the USDA as set by the Agricultural
Research Service, the Economic Research Service, the
Soil Conservation Service, the Forestry Service and the
Foreign Agricultural Service of the USDA. They even
go beyond the boundaries of the USDA or any particular

university. Some are international-hence, the creation
of international agricultural research centers, of which
there are now 13.
Because agricultural problems are time- and place-
specific, research administrators and research structures
have to be flexible and adaptable. The lines of demar-
cation among research, extension and action agencies
blur at the problem-solving end of the research spec-
trum. In some states, extension "investigations" and
demonstration projects are scarcely distinguishable from
PS research. Investigations in support of USDA opera-
tions likewise are often indistinguishable from PS
research in the Economic and the Agricultural Research
The problems of agricultural decision makers are not
amenable to stable classification, including assignment
to either traditional academic disciplines or to the less
traditional subject matter departments found in colleges
of agriculture and experiment stations. Individual prob-

lems often involve mixes of disciplines and multi-
disciplinary subjects and so defy stable classification.
There are really no long-run priorities for PS research.
The real priority is to maintain the ability to research
an ever-changing, continuing stream of short-term
problems. The following are examples of sets of prob-
lems faced by farmers, consumers, government officials
and agribusiness persons.
In Michigan, many dairy farmers, Farm Bureau
administrators, agribusiness managers, state government
administrators and legislators, and consumers have had
to make decisions on a whole series of problems stem-
ming from an accidental contamination of the food
chain with polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs). This toxic
fire-retardant chemical was inadvertently mixed with
dairy feed, and widespread contamination of the food
chain occurred before the error was discovered. Solv-
ing the many practical problems which have arisen has
required widely differing mixes of chemical, biological,
medical, economic, legal, political and other kinds of
knowledge and expertise.
Soil erosion poses problems specific in time and
location and to decision makers. The disciplinary dimen-
sions involve soil physics, economics, political science,
law, soil chemistry and hydrology. In addition, the
multidisciplinary subjects of agronomy, animal science,
agricultural economics, agricultural engineering and
rural sociology are involved.

Increased wage rates and reduced supplies of labor
pose problems that are time-, place- and commodity-
specific. They occur across the agribusiness spectrum
from farmers to input suppliers and to consumers via
marketing and processing firms. Some problems can be
solved privately but others require government action.
Labor-saving equipment and supplies have been de-
signed, produced and used. Engineers, economists, plant
breeders and animal scientists have been involved. New
institutional arrangements include work environments,
worker safety, housing, collective bargaining rights and
education of the children of laborers. Agricultural Ex-
periment Station scientists working with USDA adjunct
professors have played important roles in solving such
problems (Stuckman, 1959). Institutional aspects of the
regulation of labor and the creation of labor-saving
technologies in producing and harvesting fruits and vege-
tables are important. Some problems grow out of
counterproductive institutional regulations, while others
exist because there are no regulations. Institutional
research could make a contribution to multidisciplinary
efforts to solve labor problems in the fruit and vegetable
We anticipate that the benefit of many prospective
biological/physical technologies will be difficult for their
creators to appropriate in the market place. Unlike

hybrid seed corn, not all of these technologies will be
privately remunerative even if socially advantageous.
Some of them will be difficult to identify for legal action
under the 1978 Plant Variety Protection Act (Schmid,
forthcoming). Numerous specific problems will continue
to arise. These will involve the design of public sector
(Agricultural Experiment Stations and Extension Ser-
vices) programs to introduce certain technologies because
private creators and propagators will not be able to re-
tain enough benefits to cover costs. Other regulatory
problems will arise for still other technologies because
it will prove so easy to appropriate benefits from these
technologies that public regulation will be necessary to
protect farmers and/or consumers from exploitation.

Practical problems associated with the introduction
of new pesticides, herbicides and biologicals include
problems of food safety and pesticide resistance. Some
of these are private; others are public. Some require
research to generate new and assemble old information.
Entomologists, agronomists (weed scientists), veterinar-
ians, economists, nutritionists, toxicologists and
biochemists are involved in mixes that change as prob-
lems change through time. The solution to some prob-
lers requires the use of Extension Services, advertising
and the communication media to distribute knowledge
to farmers and others. New institutional arrangements
are often needed to reduce pesticide pollution, especially
in mixed farming and in semi-urbanized communities.
Pesticide resistance is also a high priority problem for
growers. Such a problem is often location-, community-
and time-specific and must be researched by local
multidisciplinary teams whose members can interact
repeatedly with local leaders and targeted groups. Many
institutional arrangements exist for regulating the use
of fertilizers and pesticides, tillage practices and runoffs
from cultivated fields. The problems associated with
these alternatives need to be researched carefully by
multidisciplinary groups before laws are enacted and
regulations established. The primary effects treated as
desirable when creating laws and regulations should not
be cancelled out by secondary and tertiary effects. We
need to determine if the secondary and tertiary effects
of such laws and regulations make it advantageous for
private actions to be consistent with social objectives.

The wasteful cycling of pork, beef and dairy pro-
duction creates problems associated with alternate
surpluses and shortages. These and other subsectors of
agriculture-including corn, wheat, soybeans, and
many fruits and vegetables--periodically overinvest in
land, buildings and machinery. Both individual farmers
and society lose as the value of the overinvestments on
the up side of these cycles is never fully recovered by
either individual farmers or society (Johnson and
Quance, 1972). Forward contracting procedures using
computerized systems could eliminate this waste. The

institutional arrangements required for such computer-
ized contracting systems need to be carefully researched
by multidisciplinary teams working closely with poten-
tial clients and others who would be affected.
The computer revolution is generating problems for
decision makers. Problem solving here requires the ex-
pertise of mathematicians, operations research special-
ists, agronomists, animal scientists, horticulturists,
economists, and farm and agribusiness management
The recent volatility in commodity and financial
markets (including interest rates) has created many prob-
lems for farmers. Their solutions require expertise from
political scientists and business administrators, as well
as agricultural economists. Ways must be sought to
increase and stabilize incomes and/or decrease and
stabilize expenses. Research on institutional arrange-
ments to solve such problems generally must be done in
the public sector-USDA, colleges of agriculture and
non-land-grant universities.
Input and product markets have changed rapidly
as a result of more large, fewer middle-sized and mpre
small, part-time farms. These changes have created
many problems. Technical and organizational changes
have also become problems for marketing firms. Still
further, government controls on transportation and
other parts of the marketing system have changed
rapidly. Computerization of marketing processes and ad-
vances in food technology have created changes and,
hence, problems for agriculture. This vast set of specific,
practical problems-partially induced and partially
solved by technological change-involves disciplines and
departments concerned with institutional change,
human development and performance, and capital ac-
cumulation, as well as technological advance (Wittwer,
1982a). Again, much of the PS research, especially for
small farms, has to be done in the public sector because
the changes may not be privately profitable, however
socially desirable. Undesirable side effects-
environmental degradation, food chain contamination
and unwanted changes in society-must be controlled.
There has been a significant transition in the U.S.
Corn Belt from mixed crop-livestock systems to cash
cropping. If we are, in fact, unwisely "exporting our soil
and water"-seriously depleting our land base-as a
result of our expanding foreign markets for our agri-
cultural products, then multidisciplinary PS research
should proceed on the numerous private and public
actions required to control such depletion.
Problems arise as technological advances change the
utilization of publicly owned resources. Much of our
range, forest and water resources are owned by the state
and federal governments. Governments also maintain
a substantial public interest in privately owned forest

and water resources. Both social and biological/physical
sciences need to be involved in research on problems in-
volving the utilization of our publicly and privately
owned forest resources.
International markets for our agricultural exports,
as well as such imports as fossil fuels, potash and even
tractors, are increasingly volatile. Problems range from
high fuel prices for fixing nitrogen and pumping water
out of the receding Ogalalla aquifer to the loss of inter-
national markets for food and feed grains. Solutions are
multidisciplinary. They involve engineering and the
biological and physical sciences, agricultural economics
and other social sciences.
Crop improvement problems are time- and place-
specific. Growers desire pest-resistant varieties that pro-
duce more or higher quality products. The design,
generation, distribution and adoption of a new crop
variety involves plant breeders, geneticists, plant pro-
tection specialists, plant physiologists, food scientists,
plant pathologists and economists. The international
agriculture research centers have provided an excellent
example of PS research by developing high-yielding
varieties of rice, wheat, corn, sorghum, millet, edible
legumes, potatoes and root crops that are adapted to
specific adverse environments. The state Agricultural
Experiment Stations are slowly moving in this desired
direction. If the projections discussed at the beginning
of this paper are to be realized, a continuous series of
such problems must be solved to increase U.S. yields of
individual crops by 50 to 100 percent before the year

Additional Considerations
and a Summary
The number of practical agricultural problems
awaiting solution approaches infinity and their variety
and vol .' i fictiontio. The above examples
are sufficient to justify the following summary
Because the agricultural and food system of the
United States is beset by a continuing stream of prob-
lems, the long-term research priority is to maintain the
ability to solve these short-run problems.
The ARE is legislatively mandated to do PS
research. Producers, consumers and government officials
all expect such research to be done.
Public facilities, personnel, contact with problems,
feedback mechanisms and orientation required for PS
research are found mainly in the ARE.
The U.S. public agricultural research systems exist
alongside an even larger private research and develop-
ment system.

The mandate for PS research resides with the USDA
in its Agricultural Research Service, Economic Research
Service, Statistical Reporting Service, Soil Conservation
Service, Forest Service, the Farm Credit Administration,
and the Science and Education Administration, and with
the state Agricultural Experiment Stations and state
Cooperative Extension Services.
The problems of agricultural production, handling,
marketing and regulating fit neither the disciplinary
structure of universities nor the subject-matter structure
of departments in colleges of agriculture.

Subject-Matter and Disciplinary
Research for Agriculture

In the section to follow, both SM and DISC research
needs are considered using an outline that considers
research in technological, institutional and human
development areas and on the accumulation of capital.
Because relevant DISC research is discussed immediately
after SM research for each of the above categories, it is
easy for the reader to see the important complemen-
tarities between the two kinds of research.

Research on Technology

This section considers research priorities for the plant
and soil sciences (including forestry), animal science,
food science and agricultural engineering.

Plant and Soil Science
Subject-Matter Research
SM research for the plant and soil sciences is discussed
here under the headings of: field crops, genetic im-
provements, resistance to environmental stress, farming
systems, integrated pest management, horticulture and
forestry. These five subsections are followed by an
equivalent subsection on DISC research relevant for crop
Field Crops SM research for field crops in the
United States is focused on the breeding, protection and
overall cultural practices for cereal grains (including
corn, wheat, rice, sorghum, millet, oats and barley),
legumes, oil and fiber crops (including soybeans, field
beans, southern peas, peanuts, cotton, flax and sun-
flowers), forage crops (primarily alfalfa), the tuber,
sugar and root crops (including potatoes, sweet potatoes,
sugar beets and sugarcane), and tobacco. Practical
genetics and plant-breeding efforts are directed to higher
yields, disease resistance, predictive modeling, efficiency
of nutrient uptake and genetic differences, rates of dry-
down for forages and grain, greater resistance to en-
vironmental stress, and the filling periods of grain.

At the beginning of this report, we saw a need to in-
crease attainable crop yields between 50 and 100 per-
cent in the next 50 years. To do this, crops will need to
be grown in more intensive rotations on additional
poorer soils. Plant breeders and field crop agronomists
will have to practice traditional skills as well as take ad-
vantage of breakthroughs in biology. As yields reach
higher levels, more research will be needed to maintain
yields against diseases, weeds, pests and environmental
constraints, and each increment of increase will become
more difficult. Subject-matter research on field crops is
multidisciplinary, involving genetics, soil chemistry and
physics, plant physiology, bacteriology, entomology,
botany, biology and the social sciences. The economics
of labor and energy conservation will be important in
determining the sets of problems that need to be solved
in part with agronomic knowledge.
In the next 50 years, the advances that can be made
in the biological/physical disciplines can greatly increase
opportunities for field crop agronomists to improve plant
SM areas addressed in a soil science department or
subdepartment include: soil classification, soil conser-
vation, soil management-including tillage-erosion
control, waste management and disposal, soil chemistry,
soil physics, soil microbiology, resistance to environmen-
tal stress, and soil fertility, coupled with soil and plant
tissue testing and economic analyses to determine profit-
able fertilizer requirements for specific crops.
In the area of cultural practices, weed science and
plant protection are important subjects, along with
tillage and irrigation. Such subjects as agricultural
engineering, crop protection-entomology, plant
pathology-and soil science overlap in important ways.
Genetic Improvement Conventional plant-
breeding techniques of selection based on the appearance
of the plant, controlled hybridization and selection for
better nutrition have given high-yielding, pest-resistant
and superior quality strains of rice, wheat, maize,
sorghum, millet, some legumes, and many new fruits
and vegetables. Almost half of the yield increases in crops
realized in the past four decades has come from tradi-
tional techniques for genetic improvement. Much can
yet be done with such techniques to increase the
magnitude and stability of food, fiber and forest tree pro-
duction. Among the major crops, commercial hybrid
varieties of corn, sorghum, millet, sugar beets, coconut
and sunflowers now exist. The potential is there for rice,
wheat and barley. Hybridization of forage crops is just
beginning. Many hybrid selections of vegetable crops
have been created and others will come (Wittwer,
1983c). Further improvements will be sought in the
development of F1 hybrids to achieve more dependable
and higher yields, earliness, disease resistance and
greater uniformity.

Predictive modeling for plant design will soon come
of age. The plant breeder will first identify the ideal
plant type, which may not yet exist, and then breed to
achieve it. Increased nutrient uptake and greater
resilience to environment and biological stresses should
be sought, as well as extended filling periods for grains
and quicker rates of dry-down for forages, feed grains,
cereals and seed legumes. Other possible desirable
characteristics could be lower levels of protein and
higher levels of calories in legumes, and higher levels of
oil and less starch accumulation in oil seeds.
Multiline selections of cereal grains are gaining in
prominence. Well established networks exist for their
testing and evaluation. A multiline composite is a
mechanical mixture of lines that resemble each other in
height, maturity, grain type, quality and yield but dif-
fer genetically in disease resistance. This is particularly
important for rust resistance in wheat. Much of the early
work in genetic improvement was focused on pest resist-
ance and the stabilization of yield by reducing crop losses
from insects, diseases and viruses. The effort in the two
decades ahead and for the years 2000 to 2030 should in-
crease the genetic yield potential of future varieties and
resistance to environmental stresses, including those from
problem soils. Corn yields have not reached a plateau
and will continue to improve. With wheat and rice, the
severity of periodic catastrophic losses caused by diseases"
and insects has been dramatically reduced.
An exciting area for the future is genetic alteration
of crops for climatic adaptability and higher yields from
soils that are infertile, too acid, toxic or saline for
varieties now in use. A concerted effort is needed from
plant physiologists, agronomists, geneticists, plant
breeders and agricultural engineers to create new strains
of food crops capable of performing well in hostile en-
vironments, such as a wheat variety suitable for produc-
tion in the lowland tropics.
Improvement of the nutritional value of crops should
be a research priority. Each of the genetic improvements
for .practical human nutrition-including high-lysine
corn, triticale (a wheat/rye cross), and high-protein
sorghum and barley-has thus far, however, been large-
ly in vain, in spite of early and continuing publicity
Issues of food acceptability are still important. Food
commodities that differ appreciably in color, taste, tex-
ture, general appearance or storage quality, or that yield
less, are not likely to be accepted. Nevertheless, one of
the promising ways to help solve the future protein needs
of people and to improve the dietary values of cereals
and legumes is to genetically improve nutritional values.
Plants provide directly or indirectly up to 95 percent
of the world's total food supply. Worldwide, of the
350,000 species of plants, only about 0.1 percent (less

than 300) are important current sources of food. Glob-
ally, 24 plants essentially stand between human life and
starvation (Wittwer, 1983a): wheat, rice, corn; potatoes,
barley, sweet potatoes, cassava, soybeans, oats,
sorghum, millet, sugarcane, sugar beets, rye, peanuts,
field beans, chickpeas, pigeon peas, winged beans,
cowpeas, broad beans, yams, bananas and coconuts.
The cereal grains alone provide 60 percent of the calories
and 50 percent of the protein consumed by people. Inter-
national agricultural research centers have assembled
large numbers of accessions of genetic stocks for major
food crops, including over 65,000 for rice, 26,000 for
wheat, 13,000 for maize, over 14,000 for sorghum,
10,500 for soybeans, 5,000 for pearl millet and mung
beans, 12,000 for potatoes, 2,000 for cassava, 11,500 for
cowpeas, 11,000 for chickpeas, 5,500 for pigeon peas,
and 3,000 each for field beans and peanuts. Added to
these are some 3,000 genetic stocks for barley, 5,000 for
peas, 5,400 for tomatoes, 1,025 for sweet potato, more
than 1,000 for coconuts, and 800 for Chinese cabbage.
Similarly, 12 forest trees are the primary forest species
in the United States. These include loblolly pine, short
leaf pine, Douglas fir, western hemlock, red oak, white
oak, ponderosa pine, sweet gum, aspen, black walnut,
yellow poplar and spruce.
The establishment in the United States of the National
Plant and Germplasm System (NPGS) was a landmark
in American agriculture for the survival of genetic
resources for future production of food, feed, fiber and
forest products. The NPGS now maintains over 400,000
seed and vegetatively propagated accessions of germ
plasm. These are distributed in various storage
laboratories throughout the United States. Much can be
done to increase food, feed, fiber and forest production
with this vast resource of genetic plant material. The
extensive use of commercial hybrid varieties, however,
now exists only for corn, sorghum, pearl millet, sugar
beets and coconuts.
Major efforts are now in progress to seek out food and
forage crops and varieties resistant to or tolerant of salin-
ity. There are 3.8 million square miles of soils too salty
to grow crops in the world. Some are important in the
United States. Likely candidates for improved tolerance
to salinity are the wild relatives of barley, wheat,
sorghum, rice, millet, sugar beets, tomato and date
palm. Also included are certain forage crops that do or
can serve the needs of livestock, notably alfalfa, Ladino
clover, creeping bentgrass and Bermuda grass, and
various reeds and rushes. Genetic selections of barley
have already been identified that can be grown with
ocean water once the seeds are germinated (Epstein and
Norlyn, 1977).
Genetic vulnerability to pests and environmental
limitations increases with genetic uniformity. Some
major food crops in the United States are highly

vulnerable. For instance, the southern corn leaf blight
of 1970 reduced corn yields by 15 percent nationwide.
Small numbers of varieties (1 to 6) dominate the acreage
of the major food crops of the United States. The answer
lies partly in greater genetic diversity as insurance against
vulnerability to climate and pests. Diversity of genes does
two things-it overcomes current vulnerability to pests
and it extends the boundaries of production into less
favorable environments. Basic research is needed now
on interspecific hybridization to help reverse, in part,
the specialization that has occurred during evolutionary
descent. Wider gene pools that simulate early popula-
tions need to be created. The continued productivity of
American agriculture, forestry and range will be in-
fluenced by the size and composition of the genetic pools
we maintain. The magnitude of this pool of genetic
resources will depend upon our ability to preserve what
we now have and to collect what exists in nature, and
on our success in making additions.

Resistance to Environmental Stress A particularly
significant, yet neglected, basic biological research area
is that of greater resilience to climatic and environmen-
tal stresses. The report of the steering committee for the
National Academy of Sciences World Food and Nutri-
tion Study issued in 1977 deemed this as important as
improved photosynthesis, biological nitrogen fixation,
genetic manipulation and protection from pests. Sup-
port for DISC research in this important area, however,
is not yet a part of the USDA's competitive grants
Climate and weather remain significant determinants
in food and agricultural production and account for
more instability than any biophysical factor. Stability
is as important as the magnitude of production itself.
Climate is a more significant determinant of food
production than pests, though the two are often closely
interrelated. The droughts of 1974, 1980 and 1983, for
example, caused greater losses of U.S. agricultural pro-
duction than the highly publicized southern corn leaf
blight, which destroyed 15 percent (or about 700 million
bushels) of the total U.S. corn crop in 1970. In 1974,
production plummeted 20 percent for corn, wheat and
soybeans as a result of drought. In 1980, corn produc-
tion fell 17 percent from 1979, or 1.3 billion bushels,
grain sorghum 32 percent, feed grains 18 percent,
sorghum 22 percent, cotton 23 percent and peanuts 43
percent. Even greater losses occurred from the drought
and heat wave of 1983. Corn and grain sorghum reduc-
tions from the previous year were near 50 and 43 per-
cent, respectively, with soybean production off by 28
percent. Poor weather reduced world grain production
significantly in 1980 and U.S. production in 1983. In
1980, the composite index of crop yields in the United
States dropped 20 percent because of drought and high
temperature. Grain production fell off in the People's

Republic of China because of the floods in the south and
the droughts in the north. The Soviet Union experienced
its second disastrous year in a row because of marginal-
ly cold and marginally dry conditions and adverse
weather during harvest.
By contrast, agricultural output set new global records
in 1982. Never before had so much food been produced,
both in total and per capital. A record world grain crop
of 1,640 million tons exceeded that of the previous year's
record of 1,622 million tons. The increase came primari-
ly from record crops in the United States of 8.4 billion
bushels of corn, 2.8 billion bushels of wheat and 3.3
billion bushels of soybeans. These increases were main-
ly from yields that exceeded those of previous years.
Record production in the European community and
Canada and near records in Argentina more than offset
the drought-reduced crops in Australia.
Farmers and governments in the United States and
most other industrialized nations are plagued now with
unprecedented overproduction, surpluses and low prices.
Other nations, particularly the Soviet Union and the
Warsaw Pact countries, have not fared so well. The
Soviets estimated production at 180 million metric tons
of grain for 1982, the fourth year in a row that produc-
tion fell far below the planned level. The 1983 crop year
in the United States reflects reduced yields from poor
weather and reduced acreage, the latter in response to
the USDA acreage reduction program.
Dependable production is as important as the level
of output. More stable yields of the crops that provide
directly or indirectly over 95 percent of the food that
people consume should be a much sought-after objec-
tive. Production uncertainty is primarily a result of
climate variability. Climate is both a hazard to be dealt
with and a resource to be harnessed. During the decade
of the 1970s, world food went through one full cycle-
from surplus to shortage and back again to surplus-as
a result of weather, policies and the way in which
market economies function.
Farming Systems Research Historically, agron-
omists were first concerned with the production of in-
dividual crops and then developed interest in the
management of systems for producing such crops. Soon
this interest expanded to include all crops produced on
a farm. This interest was then extended to livestock
enterprises and the management of labor, machinery
and finances. Thus, farm management was born early
in the 20th century out of the biological and physical
agricultural sciences. Agricultural economics emerged
later when farm management led, in turn, to the con-
sideration of marketing, policy and international trade.
Unfortunately, as farm management and/or agricul-
tural economics developed separate administrative iden-
tities, agronomy and animal science lost the economic

dimension they had gained. The importance of this loss
has been recognized, and farming systems research is
now emerging from the biological and physical sciences
as a reincarnation of farm management and is retrac-
ing the path along which farm management developed
(Johnson, 1982).
Farming systems research involves animal science,
agronomy and the rural social sciences. Research on
farming systems is now being developed because of dif-
ficulties in crossing departmental lines and in maintain-
ing the economic ingredients essential for SM research
in agronomy and animal science.
Farming systems research in the next 50 years must
deal with the increased costs of land, labor and energy.
Land-, labor- and energy-sparing livestock systems must
be melded with similar cropping systems. Basically, the
driving force will be economic-higher costs will make
it necessary to economize on energy, labor, water and
land. Economizing will extend beyond money profits to
non-monetized environmental and rural values and
animal rights, and then into processing, marketing,
international trade and domestic policy. The home or
consumption end of farming must receive increased at-
tention, as well as the relationships between farming and
agricultural policy, marketing and trade.
Integrated Pest Management Integrated pest
management (IPM) will be part of farming systems crop
research for the future. However, in the broad sense and
even for individual crops, IPM is still only a concept.
Multidisciplinary integration of research efforts on pest
management has not occurred and is not now occurring.
Pest management systems thus far developed for cotton,
apple, corn, alfalfa, wheat, peanuts, strawberries and
sorghum have addressed only insects, diseases or weeds
instead of total systems. Soybeans are an exception,
because consideration has been given to four groups of
pests-insects, weeds, diseases and nematodes. A special
challenge is for sunflowers, which lack adequate disease
and insect controls.
Institutional arrangements, organizational structures
and funding strategies will have to change before pest
management in the broad sense becomes a reality. Truly
functional integrated pest management research and
education programs are multidisciplinary and, in col-
leges of agriculture, multidepartmental. Scientists
engaged in such efforts lose disciplinary and depart-
mental identity. They become one of multiple authors
of scientific reports and are frequently bypassed by cur-
rently existing awards systems. The difficulty en-
countered even by excellent SM and PS researchers in
colleges of agriculture occurs when their work is
evaluated against standards appropriate for DISC
Integrated pest management will not happen in this

generation. In the 21st century, however, integrated pest
management systems will become essential for increased
production, yield stability, improved habitability and
reduced costs of most agricultural systems. We must seek
more economical and environmentally acceptable non-
chemical control techniques. An ever increasing concern
will be to insure the health and safety of not only
pesticide applicators, but also the people in nearby com-
munities and all consumers of agricultural products.
Agriculture by the year 2030 will still use chemicals
for pest control, but in concert with computer program-
ing for both chemical and cost reductions based on
weather information, precise targeting of treatments,
and use of safer, more powerful and more selective
materials. Basic research will contribute to the develop-
ment of many novel approaches to pest control that will
be sparing of chemicals (Phatak, et al., 1983).

Horticulture Within horticulture, SM research may
be divided among fruits, vegetables, ornamentals and
flowers. Conventional breeding and genetic improve-
ment research cuts across these four commodity areas.
So do the new technologies for somatic fusion, tissue
culture, haploid culture, meristem culture and the
propagation of rootstocks for tree fruits. Greenhouse and
other forms of protected cultivation relate specifically
to high-value horticultural commodities-flowers, orna-
mentals, vegetables-and are closely linked with SM
research in agricultural engineering. This is true also for
irrigation, particularly drip irrigation, which predomi-
nates for high-value horticultural crops.
Special challenges exist for horticultural commodities
in postharvest handling, processing, packaging and
marketing, with linkages to SM research in horticulture,
food science, packaging, agricultural engineering and
agricultural economics.
A special SM research area peculiar to horticultural
commodities is seed and seedling viability and survival,
which is predicated on greater protection against and
resilience to environmental stresses. New planting and
transplanting technologies are evolving. One approach
is liquid and gel seeding, which results in earlier
establishment, more plant uniformity and improved
yields. Well advanced technologies include preger-
minating seed so that the radicals (roots) emerge several
millimeters before planting. The seed is then mixed in
a gel solution that suspends, cushions and protects the
seeds and their radicals as the gel is placed in the soil
furrow, either in continuous strips or in clumps.
Pesticides can be incorporated into the gel to produce
a disease- and weed-free microenvironment for grow-
ing the seedlings. Nutrients and growth regulators may
also be added. Though the technology relates specifically
to horticultural crops, it also has potential application
to field crops. Another related technology, cube or plug

transplanting for flowers and vegetables, is now widely
used in the commercial production of plants.
Integrated pest management is an SM research area
vital to horticulture. The weather and climate informa-
tion that is essential for integrated pest management is
also essential for protection of crops in critical stages
from frost and freezing temperatures.
Pruning, fruit thinning and training are SM research
areas peculiar to horticultural crops, particularly to the
fruits and to some vegetables. Research on such topics
is predominantly horticultural, with some emphasis in
Growth regulator research in agriculture to date has
been confined primarily to fruits, vegetables, flowers and
ornamentals. Additional growth regulator research has
promise not only for horticulture, but also for the major
cereal, legume, root and sugar crops (Nickell, 1983).
The challenge in horticultural SM research is particu-
larly striking because of the large numbers and diversi-
ty of commodities and crops with their specific cultural
requirements, genetic inheritance patterns, postharvest
handling limitations and marketing needs. In no other
common agricultural department is technical SM
research so diversified.
Horticultural production, like crop, livestock and
forest production, will be affected by land scarcity,
limited water resources, rising energy costs and higher
real wage rates. In the next 50 years, fruits and
vegetables as intensive crops will compete increasingly
with grains for high quality lands, soils and irrigation
water. There will be needs for additional labor-saving
but energy-sparing technologies (Martin, 1983), both in
production and in the agribusinesses that handle horti-
cultural crops. Systems research for the production and
marketing of horticultural crops and commodities will
draw on the expertise of agricultural engineers,
economists, food scientists, agronomists and nutrition-
ists, as well as horticulturists. Today, the USDA/land-
grant system is the only research system adequately
equipped to conduct SM research for the many dimen-
sions of horticultural production.

Forestry Forests occupy one-third (700 million
acres) of the land area of the United States. This includes
rangelands, as well as forests. For the future, forests can
be a self-renewing energy resource, a base for chemical
industries, and a source for better and cheaper building
materials. The need for wood, especially fiber products,
will substantially increase. Forests as a renewable
resource have great potential for increased productiv-
ity. It has been conservatively estimated that the
biological output (net realizable growth) of the commer-
cial forest lands of the United States can be more than
doubled within a half-century by immediate and wide-

spread investments and expenditures on proven
silvicultural practices-improved regeneration, tissue
culture, species composition, harvesting practices, fer-
tilization and weed control-provided social conditions
and incentives permit or exist. With the use of tech-
nologies yet to be developed and institutions not yet
researched, forest output can probably be tripled within
the same period. Further, it is widely accepted that with
intensive management, our forests and rangelands could
probably support three times the present level of grazing.
SM research peculiar to forestry includes exploitation
of biological science advances for tree improvement
through breeding and progeny testing. The opportunities
for rapid genetic improvement through tissue culture,
accelerated growth programs and container-grown
plants are greater than for other segments of agriculture.
New hybrids, coupled with the opportunities yet ahead
for genetic improvement, offer a continuing challenge
for SM research in forestry. Production management-
including soils, fertilizer and weed control-as well as
accelerated tree growth programs and new designs for
containers, is also important. Forest output will be in-
creased with improved timber stand management and
new technologies for harvesting (involving cutting and
removal from forests) and wood processing and use. New
product technologies to derive industrial feedstocks from
the degradation of lignin and cellulose through micro-
biological transformations will become an important
forest products research area.
Biomass production as an alternative renewable
energy source will receive increasing attention, as will
forest feedstocks for industrial purposes. Production of
forest products for these uses will compete with food pro-
duction for use of land and water.
Forest economists give attention to the management
of both private and public forests. Because forest
resources generate important non-monetized recrea-
tional, wildlife and scenic values, the economics of
forestry production is complex, and research will require
close integration between economists and forestry
The SM research needed for forestry in the next 50
years will be influenced by increasing pressure on land,
rising real wages and energy costs, environmental con-
cerns and greater scarcity of opportunities for recrea-
tion in "natural areas." Pastures, crops, and urban,
recreational and industrial uses will encroach on
forestlands. Rising real wages will make labor-saving
technology important for forestry, while rising energy
costs will place a premium on energy-sparing tech-
nologies. Greater support of public research and the
regulation and control of both publicly and privately
owned forest resources and the generation of new forest
technologies will be needed.

Disciplinary Research Relevant
for Plant Productivity
Research in the biological and physical sciences of
particular relevance for agriculture will include im-
proved photosynthesis, the effects of rising levels of at-
mospheric carbon dioxide, atmospheric pollutants and
trace elements, biological nitrogen fixation, mycor-
rhizal-root interactions, root-colonizing bacteria, nitri-
fication and denitrification, cell fusion and tissue
culture, plant growth regulants, greater resistance to
competing biological systems and more resistance to
environmental stress, and forestry.
Photosynthesis Photosynthesis is the most impor-
tant biochemical process on earth. It is primarily
through photosynthesis that green plants harvest the
renewable flow of solar energy. Each day plants store
17 times as much energy as is consumed worldwide.
Photosynthesis also provided the original plant
materials that formed our oil, natural gas and coal
resources. Improvements in the photosynthetic process
are the key to adequate future food supplies.
All practices that increase the productivity of crops
must ultimately be related to an increased appropria-
tion of solar energy by plants. Yet, our support of basic
research on photosynthetic processes is extremely
meager, in spite of the high priority assigned to it by
every major study of research priorities for agriculture
and forestry. The capture of solar energy by food crop
plants through photosynthesis averages less than 0.1
percent of all solar energy falling on them during the
entire year. For most crops, the proportion of solar
energy utilized during the growing season does not ex-
ceed 1 percent. Under the best of conditions, it can be
2 to 3 percent for such crops as sugarcane, maize,
hybrid napiergrass and water hyacinths. Many
environmental variables affect photosynthesis and
yields. There is a great diversity among plants.
Little progress has been made during the past decade
in support of DISC research on photosynthesis. In cur-
rent dollars, funding levels in the United States are
about 50 percent above those of seven to eight years
ago. This means that there has been no increase in real
dollar funding. As one projects output from present
support levels into the 21st century, it appears that we
will have a better understanding of photosynthesis but
not be able to regulate it in the year 2030. By the 21st
century, however, it may be possible to make bene-
ficial genetic modifications in photosynthetic cycles.
Though mutations with improved photosynthetic proc-
esses do occur, it is difficult to improve and speed up
this natural process.
The most photosynthetically productive crops on
earth in an appropriate environment (high tempera-
tures and adequate sunlight, water and mineral

nutrients) are C4 plants (the first product of photosyn-
thesis is a 4-carbon molecule). These include sugar-
cane, maize (corn), sorghum, millet, some tropical
grasses and many noxious weeds. Most food crops are
C3 plants, of which the first product is a 3-carbon
molecule. These include the small grains, legumes, root
and tuber crops, and most fruits, vegetables and forest
crops. Little is known about the photosynthetic proc-
esses of forest trees.
Research opportunities exist to enhance photosyn-
thesis and reduce photorespiration, which destroys
carbohydrates containing energy that were fixed
through photosynthesis. These opportunities include
identification and possible control of the mechanisms
that regulate the wasteful processes of both direct and
light-induced (photo) respiration. Photorespiration
(light-induced destruction of carbohydrates) occurs in
C3 plants. Its control would represent a major con-
tribution to increased crop productivity.
Other research imperatives to improve photosyn-
thesis include identification of the growth regulators
involved in the process, heritable components that con-
trol flowering and leaf senescence; improvements in
plant architecture, anatomy, cropping systems, plant-
ing designs and cultural practices for better light recep-
tion; and carbon dioxide enrichment of crop atmos-
pheres. Faster initial growth for quick ground cover
and higher leaf area would also help.
One of the most immediate improvements in photo-
synthesis for a large number of crop species is genetic
alteration of plant architecture. An example of a recent
technological achievement is the vertical positioning of
the flag leaves of the rice plant above the panicles of
grain, rather than letting them droop horizontally
below. The resultant improvement in light reception
increases yields.
Approximately $10 million is currently spent in
DISC research on photosynthesis to improve our
understanding of it. Much of this can be made more
relevant by redirecting it to economically important
crops grown under field or forest conditions, as well as
in the laboratory. As one moves in research from the
microscopic laboratory level to field experiments, the
advantages of the highly productive C4 photosynthetic
mechanism over the C3 are progressively diminished.
The more efficient C3 plant grows better at higher
temperatures than the C3 crop plants because photo-
respiration in the C3 plant rapidly increases at high
temperatures. Differences between SM agronomicc)
and DISC (plant physiology) research disappear as
informed scientists from each area seek the common
objective of improving photosynthesis.
Rising Levels of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide-
Great concern is being expressed about the rising level

of carbon dioxide, which is increasing by approximate-
ly 1.5 to 2.0 parts per million per year as a result of the
combustion of fossil fuel, deforestation and soil erosion.
Possible climate changes are projected to influence
energy resources, dislocate agriculture, melt the ant-
arctic ice caps, raise sea levels and sink coastal cities.
Such projections have captured the attention and
imagination of scientists and the public (Environmen-
tal Protection Agency, 1983; National Academy of
Sciences, 1983a). So far these projections have not been
verified in the real world by any detected climatic
Elevated levels of atmospheric COz also have
biological effects that should be studied. Though some
of these appear positive and may have already oc-
curred, ,:;u.. u ., indom mentioned. We know a great
deal about how crops in controlled environments re-
spond to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide up to
double or triple present levels. All major crops in short-
term experiments have yielded better and grown more
rapidly when given increased CO under otherwise
identical conditions of sunlight, soil fertility, water
supply and temperature, and in the absence of
devastating pests. This perspective is absent in almost
all writings on the CO2 issue. Obviously, more research
is needed. There may be some surprises in the ability
of C3 and C4 weed and crop plants to compete with
each other. Elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 may
also alleviate water, high temperature, light and air
pollutant stresses. Other important potential benefits
are better use of water by plants and the extension of
boundaries for crop production into arid lands, with
implications for reductions in desertification.
CO2-induced higher temperatures, as well as elevated
levels of atmospheric CO, themselves, may have great
effects on the relationships between crops and pests.
Some noxious weeds, such as Portulaca oleracea (a suc-
culent), would likely be favored by higher tempera-
tures. On balance, the many positive effects of in-
creases in atmospheric CO2 may be offset by unfavor-
able water and temperature changes (Wittwer,
The potentially important biological effects of a ris-
ing level of atmospheric CO2 on plants were the subject
of a major international conference May 23-30, 1982,
at the Russell Center in Athens, Ga. (Lemon, 1983).
Because of the potential for rising levels of atmospheric
CO (2 ppm/year) to have major effects on U.S. and
global biological production, including food, fiber and
forestry products, a NASA or Manhattan-type project
or program is needed to research photosynthetic proc-
esses and the consequences of rising levels of atmos-
pheric carbon dioxide.
Atmospheric Pollutants and Trace Elements-
Evidence is mounting that air pollutants can have both

positive and negative effects on crop production (Heck,
et al., 1982). These pollutants include sulfur and
nitrogen compounds, ozone and carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere, as well as acid deposition, all of which
have confirmed effects on the productivity of agricul-
tural crops, rangelands, lakes and forests (National
Academy of Sciences, 1982b). It will become increas-
ingly important for American agriculture to identify
accurately the sources of air pollutants, monitor
changes, assess their effects on resource productivity,
and seek means to reduce adverse sensitivities of
agricultural crops to them. Some progress is being
made in identifying chemicals to reduce the damage.
Four points are important with respect to needed
DISC research in this area:
First, the effects are regional and have profound
political and economic consequences. Various regions
of the United States and the world may respond dif-
ferently to pollutants.
Second, the effects are subtle. Acid rainfall is an
example where effects may not be observed for
decades. As yet, no evidence exists that it is harming
agricultural crop productivity in the United States.
Third is the issue of multiple pollutants, which is
often the situation under real world conditions. Seldom
can we address the effects of a single substance.
Fourth, air pollutants originating with human
activity can interact with environmental constraints,
such as the droughts and biological stresses of natural
One of the environmental issues of greatest concern
to the American and Canadian publics is acid rain. Its
effects, either short- or long-term, on productivity of
renewable resources (agricultural, lakes, fish, forests,
range) are not known. Understanding changes in
atmospheric constituents, atmospheric depositions and
their effects on plants, animals and fish is an important
challenge for disciplinary, biological and physical
science researchers. Such understanding is clearly rele-
vant for food production, agriculture and forestry.
Biological Nitrogen Fixation Chemical fertilizer is
the most important industrial input for agriculture.
Chemical nitrogen fixation uses more energy than is
needed for any other agricultural input. The energy
used-mostly natural gas in the fixation process-is
non-renewable. This energy is used to convert nitrogen
from the air into a form plants can use. A modern
nitrogen fertilizer factory consumes approximately one
cubic meter of natural gas for each kilogram of nitro-
gen that produces ammonia. Up to 35 percent of the
total output of all crops on earth is ascribed to this
single input. The global use of chemically fixed
nitrogen fertilizer for crop production has grown

dramatically and now exceeds 50 million tons annu-
ally. The return on this energy expenditure is thus
large, in terms of both energy and protein, because
nitrogen is the primary source of much of our food
Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) is an alternative
to chemical fixation. Currently, publicly supported
U.S. expenditures on BNF research scarcely exceed $8
million annually and support has hardly kept pace
with inflation during the past five years. Basic BNF
research is one of the most neglected of the biological
and physical sciences.
Four major BNF systems are relevant for agri-
culture, forestry and rangelands. They are Rhizobium-
legume; the Azolla-Anabaena, particularly valuable for
rice production in tropical and subtropical areas;
Actinomycetes-angiosperm for forest trees, and the
Spirillum-grass symbioses. The Rhizobium, Anabaena,
Actinomycetes and Spirillum are all microorganisms
that, in symbiotic relationships with higher plants,
may fix atmospheric nitrogen and make it available for
plant growth or crop production. The major nitrogen
fixers in Rhizobium-legumes and Azolla-Anabaena part-
nerships are known. In addition, there are about 160
species of non-leguminous angiosperms (forest trees)
that have in their root nodules Actinomycetes capable
of fixing nitrogen. Advances in BNF will be an increas-
ingly important factor in future crop productivity.
The first opportunity in BNF lies in the establish-
ment of Rhizobial technology centers where efforts
should continue to increase the output of Rhizobium-
legume symbioses. Basic biological research should also
be devoted to trees that fix nitrogen biologically,
because lack of nitrogen commonly limits forest tree
growth. Trees in temperate zones with promise for
biological fixation include mesquite, thornless honey
locust and red alder. In addition, many trees in the
tropics have such capability.
Secondly, basic BNF research is needed on the rela-
tions among crops and plants interplanted and grown
in rotations. Laboratory and field approaches to im-
prove BNF from legumes include advanced inoculation
technologies, improved strains of Rhizobia and host
plant cultivars, better matching of the Rhizobia strain
to the legume cultivar, energy use minimization,
development of nitrogen fertilizer systems to which
legumes respond, and decreasing photorespiration for
improvement of photosynthate production. Some of
these indirect approaches may be as important for in-
creasing BNF as the improvement of nitrogen fixation
per se.
The third system includes the Azotobacter and
Spirillum-rhizosphere associations in the grasses, cereal
grains and non-legumes. Promising plants are those

that excrete carbon compounds to supply energy for
nitrogen-fixing bacteria on their roots. Symbiotic
nitrogen fixation is dependent on large amounts of
photosynthetic energy. These requirements may be
reducible with basic research.
Fourth, it has been demonstrated that the blue-
green algae, Azolla complex or partnership, can pro-
vide up to 75 percent of the nitrogen requirements for
California rice. A total of 465 kilograms of nitrogen per
hectare were harvested from 22 crops of Azolla at the
International Rice Research Institute over a period of
335 days. Similar results have been achieved in Cali-
fornia when phosphorus is added. It has also been
reported that plantings of alfalfa and clover may yield
up to 500 kilograms of biologically fixed nitrogen per
hectare per year, depending on planting densities and
depths of rooting.
BNF research has produced much information of
disciplinary and academic interest during the past 20
years and has generated volumes of literature. Unfor-
tunately, there is still little of practical significance for
increasing crop productivity under field conditions.
Basic breakthroughs are still needed. Progress can be
hastened with better links between scientists engaged
in DISC research in the laboratory and those doing
mission-oriented SM and PS research in the USDA and
state Agricultural Experiment Stations. What is needed
is an interacting balance of both-not one or the other.
Collaborative efforts among scientists in the United
States and in the various less-developed nations should
also be encouraged. BNF offers a unique opportunity
to apply science to national problems of resource con-
servation and to reduce costs of essential inputs while
contributing to food production and alleviating
environmental pollution. The income, resource base,
food security, food quality and environmental stakes
are high.
Looking ahead at the role of biological nitrogen fixa-
tion in assuring further supplies of food, fiber and
forest products, we see a bright future. Much progress
has been made since the report of the World Food and
Nutrition Study (NAS, 1977). Top young as well as
older and more experienced scientists are now being
recruited and are forming critical masses of human
capital at national and international levels. They are
working across the range from basic research to field
applications, beginning with the enzyme nitrogenase,
and proceeding to the ecosystems for agriculture, range
and forestry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture,
through the competitive grants program of the
Cooperative State Research Service, supports this
research with $2.5 million to $3 million annually.
Similarly, a support program approximating $400,000
annually is available to U.S. scientists for research on

factors limiting symbiotic nitrogen fixation for crops in
developing countries. Though these expenditures are
still minimal compared with the importance of the
research they support, they are a beginning.
Mycorrhizal-Root Interactions Mycorhizae are
fungi that colonize roots of practically all food crops.
Some 80 species live in and around root surfaces.
Mycorrhizae do not add nutrients or soil moisture to
soils, but they may greatly influence their use and
availability to plants and crops. Their presence may
increase by tenfold water and nutrient uptake of root
absorbing surfaces. Mycorrhizae also make phosphorus
and many micronutrients more available to plants on
phosphorus and nutrient-poor soils by converting
nutrients to more soluble forms and transporting them
to the roots of the plants. Mycorrhizae also favor
nitrogen-fixing bacteria. They can help plants with-
stand drought by transporting to plants water that is
beyond the normal reach of the roots. Mycorrhizae
may account for only 1 percent of the total weight of
plants, but they can give a 150 percent increase in
growth. One of the most exciting DISC research fron-
tiers is further study of the physiology and bio-
chemistry of mycorrhizae and other microorganisms in
the root zones of crop plants, and how their presence
relates to crop yields and the use of resources.
Root-Colonizing Bacteria Bacteria of the genus
Pseudomonas constitute an additional frontier for
research in soil microbiology and crop productivity
(NAS, 1983). They suppress the growth of many plant
diseases caused by bacteria. Increased plant growth
and yields are closely associated with the capacity of
root-colonizing bacteria to produce iron-binding com-
pounds. It is suggested that the greatest possibility for
increasing crop yields and changes in agricultural prac-
tices for the future may involve the beneficial rhizo-
bacteria, which promote plant health by protecting
roots from the harmful microorganisms occurring in all
agricultural soils. The development of microbial pro-
ducts that are cost-efficient and adapted to fit the
technology of modern agriculture is a challenge for the
Nitrification and Denitrification Of importance
for the future is the more effective use of nitrogen ferti-
lizers applied to crops. Nitrogen losses now range from
50 to 75 percent. Two microbiologically powered
processes- nitrification and denitrification-cause
nitrogen to be lost from soils. Nitrogen stabilizers or
chemical nitrification and denitrification inhibitors
may reduce losses. Chemical inhibitors for both
nitrification and denitrification are now available.
Losses from denitrification can also be reduced by good
drainage and management, which require basic
research. Other approaches to better utilization in-
clude sulfur-coated urea, super granules of urea and

deep placement of these nitrogen fertilizers for certain
crops. The increased cost and limited effectiveness of
these materials and problems of handling and applica-
tion have thus far detracted from their widespread use.
Still another means of improving fertilizer uptake is
through trickle or drip irrigation systems. In some in-
stances, these may double the effectiveness of the
Somatic Cell Fusion and Tissue Culture- These
terms cover the techniques of growing isolated cells in
protoplast culture; anther, meristem and tissue
culture; haploid production; protoplast fusion; and
plasmid modification and transfer (National Academy
of Sciences, 1984). DISC research in genetics and cell
microbiology is producing significant advances in
techniques for isolating plant cells without walls and
providing cultures with appropriate growth regulants
for rapid regeneration into new plants. The majority of
these techniques have been developed during the past
12 years. So far the plants used have had little impor-
tance for farming or forestry. Some immediate oppor-
tunities in forestry could, however, be significant.
Protoplast (vegetative cell) fusion produces somatic
hybrids that offer hope for tapping and creating
genetic materials not currently available because of
sterility barriers that prevent sexually crossing genera
and species. A somatic hybrid of the tomato and potato
is an example. As transformations and regeneration of
hybrids from protoplasts could greatly increase crop
production, DISC research in this area should be en-
couraged. The ability to reproduce genetic material
that can be readily introduced into established plant
breeding programs remains a major challenge. Pro-
toplast isolation and regeneration to whole plants from
vegetative fusion has thus far been confined mostly to
the Solanaceae and Cruciferae. No such hybrids have
yet been produced for any of the cereal grains, legumes
or other basic food crops.
The most exciting developments thus far in genetic
engineering have not been with plants. In fact, bio-
technology for plants and crops is far behind that in
human and veterinary physiology and medicine
(Budiansky, 1984). The recent insertion of the gene for
the rat growth hormone into fertilized mouse eggs pro-
duced six extralarge mice, some twice normal size.
Matings of large male mice with normal females
resulted in both large and normal offspring, indicating
permanent incorporation of the rat gene in the mouse
DNA (Palmiter, et al., 1982). Ultimately, agricultural
applications will increase meat and milk production in
food animals.
Applications of genetic engineering for crops will
likely occur first as a result of microbiological produc-
tions and transformations, mostly from Escherichia

coli, and second, with tissue cultures of specific food
and forest crops. Cell, tissue, meristem and anther
cultures provide convenient and rapid methods of
plant propagation for production of experimental
crossing lines and super disease-free plant selections.
These are the gateways through which the disciplinary
developments in genetic engineering and biotech-
nology must pass to become useful for agriculture. Im-
mediate opportunities exist for such crops as rice,
asparagus, garlic, potatoes, bananas, oil palm and
sugarcane, in the propagation of rootstocks for
deciduous fruit trees, and for rapid clonal reproduction
of many ornamentals and forest trees.
Plant Growth Regulants A very promising area in
food research and for new technologies for the years
2000-2030 is the use of plant growth regulators. Most
that have been found occur in nature. The effects are
numerous. They range from increased yields and im-
proved quality to longer storage life for such crops as
potatoes and onions. For fruits and vegetables, matur-
ity may be hastened, fruit size increased, flower sex ex-
pression modified, senescence inhibited, and fruit and
seed production enhanced. Growth regulators are used
to aid mechanical harvesting of many fruits and
Current developments attest to the importance of
DISC research in this area (Nickell, 1983). A new
generation of chemicals is now emerging that produces
shorter plants and thicker stems, and results in better
filling for heads of cereal grains with less lodging.
Using chemical ripeners on sugarcane increases the
yield of sugar by 10 percent. The content and quality
of oil in the major oil seeds and in cereals may now be
enhanced with growth regulators. With corn, growth
regulators increase yield and cause earlier pollination
and longer grain filling periods, with better tip fill,
larger leaf areas and heavier kernels. Significant yield
increases in soybeans have also been achieved. Greater
resistance to such environmental stresses as heat, cold,
drought and air pollutants have followed the use of
specific growth regulators on major food crops. Cur-
rently there are at least 40 major chemical companies
in the United States engaged in the development of
chemical growth regulators for use on major crops and
forest trees. The Plant Growth Regulator Society of
America was organized in 1980 to focus attention on
the effects of plant growth regulants on the major food
crops of the United States.
The future role of plant growth regulators should
not be underestimated. Some compounds, such as
triacontanol, have a wide spectrum of responses on
many species of economically important plants (Ries
and Houtz, 1983). This chemical is now being pro-
duced in the People's Republic of China by over 25 in-
stitutions, which are extracting it from beeswax or

making it through direct synthesis. Sixty-seven thou-
sand hectares (165,000 acres) have thus far been
treated. Crops responding include rice, wheat, cotton,
tomato, pepper, watermelon, orange and cabbage.
Treatment consists of a concentration of 1 milligram/
liter as a spray application, repeated two or three
times. Increases in yield range from 10 to 40 percent,
with improvements in the protein content of rice and
in the sugar content of watermelon. Such results still
need to be verified, but they suggest that similar
responses for major food crops, as well as horticultural
crops, are possible.

Greater Resistance to Competing Biological Systems
- Research in entomology and plant pathology, com-
bined with results of biochemistry research, provide a
base for improvements in technologies to protect crops
from weeds, diseases and insects.
A matter of great concern is the mounting resistance
among pests to pesticides. There are now approxi-
mately 430 insects resistant to insecticides, 100 diseases
resistant to fungicides and bactericides, and 36 weeds
resistant to herbicides. More DISC research is needed
to determine the natures or sites of resistances, as
illustrated by Arntzen and associates (1984). The her-
bicide atrazine is used on 75 percent of the U.S. corn
acreage, but some of the most noxious weeds-lamb's-
quarters and redroot pigweed-have become resistant.
Arntzen has found that, in these instances, the site of
resistance is in the chloroplast and involves interference
with electron transport. The research that led to their
findings involved biochemists, plant physiologists,
agronomists and those in genetic engineering. DISC
research supported by public funds for pest control in
the future should likewise involve many disciplines.

Increasing Plant Resistance to Environmental Stress
- A substantial DISC research effort aimed at improv-
ing the resistance of crops to stress caused by year-to-
year climate variations is badly needed (National
Academy of Sciences, 1976). Though potential prob-
lems of long-term climatic change-for example, from
increasing levels of atmospheric CO2-have received
considerable attention in recent years, interannual
climate variations, which have always been present,
continue to be largely ignored. Genetic, biochemical
and entomological research directed toward greater
production stability should command high priority. A
research investment in these disciplines can have a
major impact on agriculture and forestry production
and resource management by the year 2030. Improved
resistance to environmental and climatic stresses-
drought, heat, cold, problem soils, salinity and air
pollutants-can be achieved through genetic improve-
ment, chemical treatments and better management.

Needed Relevant Disciplinary Research for Forestry

- DISC research relevant for forestry is an extension
of that relevant for agricultural crops. Forestry shares
with agriculture many basic disciplinary roots in bio-
chemistry, genetics, botany, soil science, plant
physiology, plant protection and microbiology.
Forestry has profited from discoveries for agriculture.
The flow of basic ideas between agriculture and
forestry has been predominantly from agriculture to
forestry because investments in DISC research relevant
for agriculture have been much larger than those for
forestry. Some DISC research in forestry has benefited
agriculture, however, especially in sampling theory,
ecology, hydrology, soil microbiology and the
economics of intangible values.
The same basic biological processes control crop and
forest tree growth. Overcoming genetic limitations to
growth constitutes the first biological frontier. Specific
genetic studies should include the following: analysis of
the genetic diversity of populations of forest trees and
range plants, in-depth studies of the genetics of forest
and range pathogens and insects, and determination of
the heritability of traits that affect photosynthetic effi-
ciency, rate of growth, and the distribution and
growth of individual trees.

Significant genetic improvement of several forest
tree species has occurred during the past 30 years utiliz-
ing conventional approaches. Besides progeny testing,
hybridization and tissue culture methods for mass
clonal propagation of forest and range plants-
including the adaptation of genetic engineering,
protoplast-fusion, and recombinant DNA methods-
have important potentials.
Special consideration should be given to the physical
and biological limitations to tree growth. These in-
clude the availability of nutrients from both atmos-
pheric and soil sources. Nutritional requirements of
various species in stands of forest and range plants
should be identified, along with the role of mycor-
rhizae and other symbiotic and pathogenic root rela-
tionships. Soil bacteria, fungi and algae and their con-
tributions to nutrient availability constitute a
remarkable microbiological frontier for forest plants
that has scarcely been explored. In forests and
rangelands, there is intense competition among plants,
animals and microorganisms. The growth-limiting
mechanisms of these multicomponent competitive
systems should be identified.
Forests also offer challenges to ecologists. Aquatic
and terrestrial systems and biogeochemical cycles are
often tightly linked in forestry systems through the
transfer of energy, nutrients and substances common to
all. One subsystem may produce while another con-
sumes. Disciplinary knowledge of these ecological rela-
tionships is important for forest resource management,

because such knowledge is required to understand
nutrient, energy and water transfer processes. Forests
also interact with the earth's chemical climate (acid
rainfall as an example), which is rapidly changing.
Significant changes in resources have also occurred.
The composition of the atmosphere and the quality of
water as a result of industrialization, urbanization and
deforestation should be inventoried. They will have an
increasing impact upon sustained yield of forests and

Subject-Matter Research
in the Animal Sciences
Animals produce high-quality protein to supplement
large quantities of moderate-quality protein and
economically produced staples in the human diet. In
some economies, they also provide traction for
agriculture and other needs, and manure for fertilizer,
solid fuel and biogas; and they serve as a means of
capital generation, insurance against risk and medium
of exchange. Worldwide, animal products contribute
over 56 million tons of edible protein and over one
billion megacalories of energy annually. With its high
biological value, animal protein is equivalent to more
than 50 percent of the protein produced from all
cereals. Yet the proportion of research funds currently
going into animal production in the United States is less
than 15 percent of the total for agriculture. (Aqua-
culture is treated in this report as part of animal
The products of animal agriculture are becoming
increasingly important in meeting world food require-
ments. Three-fourths of the protein, one-third of the
energy, and most of the calcium and phosphorus in the
American diet comes from animal products. People in
both agriculturally developed and developing nations
are seeking improved diets that include increased
quantities of high-quality protein from meat, milk and
eggs. Despite the food shortages of 10 years ago, it is
clear that the world can produce grain for livestock as
well as humans.
In the animal sciences, there are at least seven major
areas for SM research: genetic improvement and
diversity, improved feeding, animal health, land-
conserving animal husbandry, labor-conserving
animal husbandry, environmental control, animal
welfare (Pond, Markel, McGilliard and Rhodes, 1980)
and aquaculture. One cannot effectively pursue subject
matter research in any one of these seven areas without
involving the others. A systems approach is required.
Genetic Improvement and Diversity- This involves
crossbreeding, embryo transfer and improved repro-
ductive efficiency. The Best Linear Unbiased Pro-
cedure (BLUP) for computerization of performance of

individual dairy cows is now widely used, nationally
and internationally. Crossbreeding of beef cattle brings
together desirable characteristics from more than one
breed. The public will resist and a crisis is likely to
occur soon in the use of feed additives, antibiotics,
pesticides and herbicides for livestock and poultry. A
permanent solution must be sought through genetic
resistance to disease.
With greater reproductive efficiency, high-quality
breeding animals will be better used. Marvelous oppor-
tunities exist for rapid genetic improvement through
chemical induction of super-ovulation and control of
the reproductive cycle, non-surgical embryo removal
and implantation, coupled with embryo storage,
embryo sexing and eventually, sexing of sperm and
cloning of embryos. Other possibilities for future
livestock improvement involve selecting and culti-
vating supermicroorganisms (bacteria) and inoculating
the rumen. Young animals will be screened or
monitored for hormone levels as predictors of future
Livestock are genetically vulnerable to harsh
environments. In developing countries, where many
production factors are limiting, conditions for ex-
ploiting high genetic capabilities are lacking. Feed
shortages, diseases or adverse environments reduce the
productivity of otherwise genetically superior animals.
U.S. livestock producers are in "position to create
favorable environments for such animals.
One means of overcoming genetic vulnerability of
livestock in agriculturally developing countries is
through genetic manipulation within the native
breeds. An example is the Criollo of Central America,
which has been crossed with the Zebu. The resultant F,
generation of cattle shows excellent performance,
though rapid degradation occurs in subsequent genera-
tions. One remarkable achievement has been with
Jamaica-Hope, a cross of the Jersey and Sahiwal. This
new, high-performing breed is adapted to tropical
Genetic material may also be introduced through
game animals such as the eland, an antelope adapted
to very arid areas, which could be a meat animal of
some potential. The problem is that game animals are,
or have the potential to be, propagators and carriers of
disease. Thus, veterinary officials tend to refuse con-
sideration of anything other than cattle, sheep, goats
and pigs. Nevertheless, game or wild species, with their
great genetic diversity, should be considered in the
decades ahead as alternative meat animals. Another
objective would be to breed toward more effective
utilization of given feedstuffs, including by-products
and wastes. This will be particularly true with short-
generation species such as swine and chickens.

Improved Feeding In the future, livestock may be
fed less corn as producers increase their use of legumes
(primarily alfalfa) and move toward the use of more
forages in livestock-producing systems. Whether this
occurs will depend on prices of energy used in corn pro-
duction and green chopping of alfalfa. Increasing labor
costs and land scarcity will also be important. (See the
later sections on land- and labor-conserving animal
husbandry.) Legumes fix their own nitrogen. Soil ero-
sion on rough land is decreased if grazing is carefully
managed or eliminated by green chopping. Problems
with alfalfa and other forages include the need for
harvesting and transporting to animals, harvest and
curing losses estimated at 30 to 50 percent, and erosion
associated with grazing. Challenges in technology for
the future will be to minimize harvesting and handling
costs and losses, improve storage facilities and hasten
field drying by the use of chemicals (Na2COs, K2CO3).
Computers will assist in day-to-day and weekly
management decisions for feeding. Other ways to im-
prove livestock feeding will be through the use of
anabolic steroids (steroid hormones) for increased feed
The manipulation of basic biological processes is as
promising for livestock as for crops. The first area for
beef cattle involves the composition of gain in weight
with the objective of more lean meat. Feeding,
management and. genetics all hold possibilities to en-
courage more lean and less deposition of fat. Up to
now, the only feasible way to produce lean beef has
been to kill larger steers at a young age. Now there are
two other options. The first involves interventions with
several hormones or anabolic steroids now commer-
cially available. They consist of combinations of pro-
gesterone, estrogen, testosterone and zearolone (of
plant origin from corn) as feed additives. A second
possibility is with growth hormones for cattle, hogs and
poultry. By the year 2000 or 2030, these will be
available to regulate the growth and productivity of
food animals.
An additional possibility in manipulating a basic
biological process is control of rumen nutrition with
ionophores, which are antibiotics produced by strep-
tomyces. They are effective for ruminants and also pro-
tect chickens from coccidiosis. The best results with
ionophores are obtained with beef cattle. In dairy
cattle, their use reduces butterfat in the milk. Carbox-
ylic polyether ionophores increase production when
given to growing ruminants. Animals on a high-
roughage ration that includes ionophores have in-
creased rates of gain for the same feed intake. Two
ionophores have been introduced and widely accepted.
"Monensin" obtained a 90 percent market penetration
in less than one year. Monensin and "Lasalocid,"
another ionophore, have received U.S. Food and Drug

Administration approval. Still more ionophores will be
identified by SM research and their use will increase in
the future.
For the 21st century, genetic selections to increase
protein synthesis will be a definite possibility. Also,
genetic engineering will play an important role beyond
the current possibilities in disease control.
Swine production for the year 2000 and beyond will
emphasize breeding at an earlier age (six to seven
months), first farrowing at 10 to 11 months of age, in-
creased ova fertilization, implantation and placenta-
tion with greater embryo survival (10 to 12 large,
sturdy pigs farrowed per litter), reduced neonatal
losses and the weaning of nine to 10 pigs per litter after
a three-week lactation, and rebreeding on first estrus
(five to seven days after weaning) allowing for up to
2.5 litters per sow per year and up to 25 pigs marketed
per sow per year. With the recent findings of retinal
binding proteins in high levels of riboflavin in swine
uterine fluids during early pregnancy, it will be impor-
tant to study vitamin A and riboflavin nutrition at
discrete stages of reproduction. Most males will either
remain intact or receive controlled-released testos-
terone implants to improve protein accumulation and
energy utilization. Traditional nutrient requirement
studies will have to be redone continually to determine
how requirements change with such endocrine altera-
tions. Alterations from the pork growth hormone por-
cine, insulin and glucagen levels will be affected by
genetic cloning, rDNA production, and controlled
release in both males and females. Again, traditional
studies of changes in nutrient requirements will be
needed. Ideal endocrine levels for ova implantation
and embryonic survival and nutrient requirements will
need to be determined. Ways need to be researched to
increase placental and mammary transfer of iron from
the sow's diet to the fetus and milk to eliminate special
administration of iron to the nursing pig to prevent
baby pig anemia. Increasing availability of phosphorus
from grains and plant proteins will help eliminate
costly feeding of supplemental phosphorus.
SM research is needed to improve dispensation of
food and water to swine from programed feeders to
reduce feed wastes and improve feed utilization. Com-
puter programing of inputs will help. Grain (corn,
sorghum, barley) and soybean meal diets will pre-
dominate, but synthetic amino acids-lysine and
tryptophane-will be used extensively to reduce the re-
quirements for soybean meal. Flash-dried blood meal
and other by-products of food manufacture will also
find a place in feeds. Economical means will be
developed for the biological digestion of cellulose.
This, along with the production of improved bacterial
protein from yeast, will allow greater use of low-grade
feedstuffs for both swine and poultry. Other SM

research promises to increase gains in lean body
Animal Health Improved animal health will re-
quire SM research on livestock management, vaccines
and other products of microbial synthesis, such as the
interferons and growth hormones. Results of DISC
research by geneticists and cell microbiologists will be
important in the production and use of these sub-
stances. Computers will make it economical to monitor
changes in the health of animals and provide early
warning of diseases. High payoffs are anticipated for
SM research on dairy cow diseases, reproductive prob-
lems, mastitis, calf mortality and exposure to toxic
substances. Health problems for beef cattle are pri-
marily respiratory diseases (shipping fever), reproduc-
tive disorders and calf mortality. For swine, reproduc-
tive disorders, interic or digestive diseases, respiratory
diseases and locomotion problems are subjects that
must be addressed. Again, disease control is linked
with genetic resistance, reproductive problems, nutri-
tional deficiencies and environmental constraints.
Continued refinements in the uses and benefits of
computers to collect and store information on animal
health, nutrition, costs, selection and culling, and to
monitor and use other biological, environmental and
economic information, will be necessary.

Land-Conserving Animal Husbandry Conserving
land used for livestock production will become increas-
ingly important as we continue to press our land
resources. Land now in improved pastures and hay
will be converted to grain production. Unimproved
pastures, brush and scrub forestland will be converted
to improved forages. Such forage land will require
land-conserving animal husbandry to avoid overgraz-
ing, ditching along pathways and fencing, and dust
wallowing on exposed slopes. New systems of rota-
tional grazing, confined feeding, central rather than
field farrowing, green chopping, and forage harvesting
and storage will be required. Such subject-matter
research will require inputs from agricultural
engineers, agronomists and economists. Economists
will be important because increasing land values and
wage rates will determine the need for and feasibility
of various land-conserving animal husbandry systems.
Environmental considerations will be increasingly im-
portant and will tend to place feeding operations away
from population centers in environmentally stable
areas or disperse them into smaller units near sources
of roughage. Public values will tend to be neglected by
implement, feed, chemical and biological companies
seeking private profits. This will create a need for
public sector research and regulations.
Labor-Conserving Animal Husbandry This will
become more important as U.S. per capital incomes

and real wage rates increase. With increasing wage
rates, more SM research will be needed to help
organize reproduction, feeding, slaughtering,
marketing and distribution systems to economize on
labor. Such research must be coordinated with that on
land-conserving animal husbandry. It will involve
agricultural engineering, veterinary medicine,
agronomy and, especially, economics. Labor-efficient
confinement feeding, rotation grazing, green-chop
systems, materials handling systems, computerized
controls and a large number of other technologies
should be combined to use labor more economically.
Social issues involving environmental quality,
unionization, economic and social structure, and
animal rights and welfare must be addressed. Both
public and private sector research will be required.

Environmental Control Each food animal nas a
narrow temperature range for optimal performance.
Modifications in housing, feedlots, pastures and feeds
have great potentials for helping animals adjust to
temperature limitations. Controlling the number of
hours of light to which animals are exposed daily offers
a way to regulate reproduction, stimulate body growth
and increase the output of meat, milk and eggs in
several domestic species (Tucker and Ringer, 1982).
Animal Welfare Research relating to animal
welfare will focus on modern livestock production
systems and their effects on animal stress and comfort.
Subject-matter research will assess the influences of
stress and ways to prevent it.
Both animal agriculture and animal scientists are
criticized by humanists, animal rightists, nutritionists
and activists. The issues include chemical food con-
taminants, preservatives, cholesterol and nitrites, the
feeding to animals of grains fit for human consumption
and mistreatment of both laboratory and food animals.
Critics emphasize the need for animal scientists to con-
sider the sociological, humanistic and economic dimen-
sions of their research. Future research on animal
welfare must be related to changes in land and labor
costs. Research on the humane treatment of animals is
an integral part of farming systems research on land-
and labor-conserving animal husbandry.
Aquaculture This may become one of the growth
industries for food production in both fresh and salt
water. Larger food creatures eat more and take longer
to mature than fish. Fish approach a one-to-one feed
ratio-one pound of feed to one pound of fish. Aqua-
culture lags in the United States and will likely con-
tinue largely as a summertime activity in the North
with some concentration on catfish farming in the
Southern states. One possibility is to raise temperatures
in ponds by covering them with single or double layers
of plastic sheeting. Specialty luxury species-shrimp,

lobster, oysters and salmon-could dominate produc-
tion and demand in the United States. Meanwhile,
integrated farming systems will gain in prominence in
countries such as Taiwan, Japan and China, where fish
culture is combined with pigs and ducks. Currently
integrated systems of chickens, pigs, ducks and tropical
fish require 250 pigs or 2,500 ducks per hectare to pro-
vide sufficient waste for the production of six tons of
fish per hectare per year of such species as Chinese carp
and tilapia. Almost half of the world's cultivated
fish-more than 20 million tons annually-is produced
in the People's Republic of China. Aquaculture can
become a star in agriculture's future, even in the
United States, as indicated by the recent phenomenal
increase in catfish farming in the United States and the
11 percent annual growth rate of fish production in
Taiwan. Also, the natural "forests and grasslands" of
lakes and seas are not yet adequately exploited as food
sources for humans and food animals.

Disciplinary Research in the
Biological and Physical Sciences
Relevant for Livestock
Biological and physical scientists pursue many
projects of value to SM and PS research for livestock.
Relevant research on reproductive efficiency, en-
vironmental stress, disease control, health and animal
welfare will be discussed below.
Reproductive Efficiency Parallel to the advances
of geneticists and cell microbiologists in genetically
engineered crops and plants are the potentials for
genetic improvements in livestock.
Improved fertility is now a reality because of estrus
synchronization and hormonal control of the reproduc-
tive cycle. Semen preservation, pregnancy detection,
multiple births, superovulation, and non-surgical
embryo transfer and implantation are outcomes of
earlier DISC research (Seidel, 1981). All can increase
the number of offspring of genetically superior parents.
Non-surgical embryo collection is now aided by
extremely sensitive microscopic techniques for embryo
sexing, freezing and implanting. Genetic improvement
and increased productivity are now occurring for all
farm animals. Pregnancy rates of 74 percent have
resulted from non-surgical transfer of non-frozen cattle
embryos (Elsden, et al., 1982). Identical twin bovine
fetuses have been produced from bisected bovine
embryos. This DISC research now makes it feasible to
produce identical twin calves of either sex and thus
double the number of viable embryos per superdonor.
These developments, along with "surrogate parenting
of cows," provide unique opportunities to do research
to restructure the entire field of animal breeding. DISC
research to improve these techniques further is of high

Resistance to Environmental Stress DISC
research on alleviating environmental stresses for
livestock and poultry through genetic improvements,
hormonal regulation, modified rations and controlled
environments, can improve important parts of our food
and agricultural system, including rangelands and
The future will see the need for more DISC research
on optimal environments for various species. As a
result, controlled environments will become the rule
rather than the exception. Such environments are now
known and used for chickens and turkeys, and rapid
progress is being made in the industrialization of hog
production. Comfort, productivity, economics and the
concerns of animal welfare advocates must be con-
sidered in making advances in environmental control.
Disease Control, Health and Animal Welfare -
DISC research with potential to improve animal health
and welfare includes research on animal cell micro-
biology, embryo transfer techniques and im-
munogenetics to produce livestock breeds that are both
productive and disease resistant. Molecular biological
research is needed on cloning genes through DNA
manipulation to produce substances such as interferons
and lymphokines for use against viral diseases, as well
as vaccines. Reducing death losses between conception
and weaning has great potential to improve biological
productivity of livestock. The predictable benefit is im-
proved animal health to advance both human and
animal welfare.
In 1975, a new era in immunology was launched
with the discovery of the hybridoma technique, a
method for creating pure and uniform antibodies
against a specific target. This technique involves fusing
myeloma (cancer) cells with antibody-producing cells
from an immunized donor. The hybrid cells or
"hybridoma" resulting from this fusion can multiply
rapidly and indefinitely in culture to produce an anti-
body of predetermined specificity, known as a
"monoclonal antibody." (Monoclonal antibodies-
protein molecules produced by certain cells in the
body-are a basic constituent of plant, animal and
human disease-fighting immune systems.) This new
hybridoma method for producing standardized
reagents (antibodies) of a given class, specificity and af-
finity is providing scientists with a tool that can be used
to analyze virtually any molecule which produces an-
tibodies. The technique has been a breakthrough for
the rapid diagnosis of diseases and the development of
vaccines. It can also be used to study the mechanisms
of tumor development. This basic advance opens an
opportunity to make important advances in under-
standing the diseases of humans, animals and plants
with greater specificity and speed and at reduced costs
for control (Diamond, et al., 1981).

Currently, feed additives, antibiotics, pesticides,
herbicides and chemotherapy are used extensively,
directly and indirectly, in livestock production. Public
reaction to the extensive use of chemicals that later
become a part of the environment is expected to reach
a crisis within the next two decades. The alternative
will be to develop genetic resistance through DISC
research on diseases of livestock. Such genetic
resistance now exists in many of the native animals in
certain parts of the world. A specific example is the
water buffalo's resistance to environmental stresses. It
also has greater resistance than other cattle to mastitis,
foot and mouth disease, rabies and contagious pleuro-
pneumonia anaplasmosis (National Academy of
Sciences, 1981).

Subject-Matter Research in Food Science
Researchable areas include food processing, food
engineering, food safety, food packaging, new prod-
ucts, storage and handling, preservation and nutri-
tional values. Quick, high-temperature processing or
sterilization will continue to be important for im-
provements in preserving natural flavors and conserv-
ing energy. Storage without refrigeration will become
increasingly important for fruit juices and dairy pro-
ducts, not only for people in less-developed countries,
but also in the United States.
Many changes and accomplishments in the 21st
century will be coupled with new developments in
packaging. Genetic engineering will have an ever
increasing impact. Rennet for cheese making derived
from microbial synthesis rather than livestock organs
from slaughterhouses is already a reality. Microbial
rennets are now used extensively in U.S. cheese mak-
ing. Aspartame is a microbiologically produced
substance now widely used as an artificial sweetener.
We will see low-ethylene, low-oxygen storage for
fruits and vegetables. Controlled-atmosphere packages
for bread will enable long-term storage without
refrigeration or preservatives. Quick, ultrahigh
temperatures and aseptic packaging provide a similar
option for milk and fruit juices. Hot water (115 to 122
degrees F) sterilization will replace fungicides for
prevention of many storage rots in fruit and vegetables.
Increasingly, foods will be stored, processed and
packaged near the point of production. Packaging,
retail and on-site, will be in smaller units, both for con-
venience and safety. Flexible packages (the retortable
pouch) attractively designed will gain in importance.
Though the world market for year-round fresh fruits
and vegetables will continue to expand, there will be
less emphasis on air transport and more on storage
technology. Postharvest losses will decrease in the field
and marketing chain. Partially dried fruits and
vegetables will attain more prominence. Fabricated

foods and restructured meat products, though not ac-
ceptable to the current older generation, will find an
increasing market, based on cost, with the younger
generation. The proportion of convenience foods will
Diets, food sources and human nutrition/disease
relationships will receive increasing attention. There
will be emphasis on reduced salt and low-sodium prod-
ucts and a trend away from the use of nitrates and
nitrites in meat products. New health food items will
be introduced. The human diet will contain fewer fat
calories and sugar, and more starch and fiber foods.
Many people will avoid use of sugar, salt, caffeine,
cholesterol and preservatives. The current outpouring
of books on human nutrition and diets reflects the need
for more definitive information and the necessity of
attracting new scientific talent into this area.

Food engineering will focus on new products and in-
gredients, meat extenders, food fortification, partially
dried and more acidified foods. Irradiation at low
temperatures will gain in prominence for food preser-
vation and after the year 1990 may no longer be con-
sidered a food additive. This SM research will be done
in schools or departments of packaging, food science,
agricultural engineering, animal sciences and horti-
culture, as well as in private industry.

Nutritional values of foods in food processing will be
given increased emphasis. Vitamin A and C for preven-
tion of certain types of cancer will receive attention.

Systems for integrating farm production, marketing,
processing and distribution are now being created. Ad-
vances in food technology sometimes create the oppor-
tunities for such integration. At other times, new food
technologies are sought as a means of attaining market
power and control through integration. Thus, market-
ing systems research is now needed to understand the
impacts of technical change and rising energy and
labor costs on farming, and it will be increasingly
needed in the next 50 years.

Because the United States is a residual supplier of
basic farm commodities and a price taker, much price
and supply uncertainty exists for the food processing
and distribution sector. This uncertainty provides an
incentive for the food processors and distributors to
develop technologies and institutions either to help
control farm production and prices or to make market-
ing systems and their managers less dependent on the
production, availability and prices of basic farm com-
modities. Serious conflicts of interest among farmers
and consumers, on one hand, and food processors and
distributors, on the other, are likely to develop. Public-
ly supported research on and regulation of food systems
will be needed to serve the public interest.

Disciplinary Research Relevant
for Food Science
Because of the multidisciplinary nature of food
science, it depends on the advances in its supporting
disciplines and related multidisciplinary subjects.
These disciplines include human nutrition, bacteri-
ology, chemistry, physics-including electronics-
agricultural engineering, economics and sociology. To
date there have been few systematic investigations of
priorities for the various kinds of DISC research that
support food science as a multidisciplinary SM research
area. Food processing, storage, distribution and
preparation in the home are obviously affected by ad-
vances in nutrition, bacteriology and entomology.
Electronics has made and will make future contribu-
tions to both the processing and storage of food, and
the operation of food systems. Computerized control of
inventory, sales, accounting, etc., is moving forward
steadily with electronic advances. Similarly, advances
in chemistry are extremely important in the food in-
dustry because they affect the products available, their
nutritional value and their storability. Of particular
importance for food science is the danger of chemical
contamination of the food chain. Disciplinary ad-
vances in the ability of chemists to detect trace quan-
tities of dangerous contaminants are important both to
the food industry and to food consumers. Significant
losses occur in the food chain from insects. Insects
reduce both the quantity and the quality of food and
they arie expensive to control. Disciplinary advances in
economics, sociology and political science are impor-
tant for the efficient operation of the U.S. food system
and to attempts of the government to guide the system
into socially and politically desirable directions.

Subject-Matter Research
in Agricultural Engineering
The SM research is listed under four categories:
mechanization and automation, including robotics;
natural resources; structures and environment; and
food engineering.
Mechanization and Automation U.S. temperate
zone agriculture has used machines to replace increas-
ingly expensive labor to take advantage of the short
periods of good weather available for farming
operations-planting, tillage, harvesting. More
machines will be used to conserve energy as well as
labor, though there will be a few major advances in
new designs. Many improvements in mechanization
technology for increasing food, feed, fiber and forest
production for the years 2000 and 2030 will come from
the use of improved electrical sensors and controllers.
Sensors will become increasingly important in
agricultural mechanization for reductions in cost and

losses, as well as for improvements in quality. They
will also play a role in programing resource inputs into
crop production and maximizing yields.
Sensors related to mechanization include those that
will monitor or sense water stress of plants, soil
moisture turgor pressure, color, temperature, heat
absorption, firmness and leaf area index. Data from
these sensors will be used to minimize the effects of
both biological and environmental stresses during
cultural and harvest operations. Combines and grain
harvester sensors will monitor slickness and hardness of
straw. Sensors on tillage equipment will adjust applica-
tions of materials to soil conditions and by soil types.
The future will see sensors that will measure critical
parameters related to crop production and quality.
The need for labor-, land-, water- and fertilizer-
saving technology from agricultural engineering
research will depend on the price relative to capital.
Price will be important as an indispensable dimension
in engineering design. An uneconomic design is a
wrong design.
The need for labor-saving technology has increased
over the past century as wage rates have increased.
Though agricultural engineers have been criticized for
allegedly driving labor off farms with labor-saving
technology, it has more often been a case of finding or
inventing machines to replace the labor that was leav-
ing or becoming much more costly, than of premature-
ly driving labor out of agriculture.

As farm and non-farm wage rates increase with
levels of living in the next 50 years, the two alternatives
to more labor-saving technology will be either higher
food prices or regulations to force laborers to stay in
agriculture as disadvantaged peasants. Such alter-
natives introduce both economic and social dimensions
into agricultural engineering research. These must be
addressed by agricultural engineers themselves or
engineers in collaboration with rural sociologists, agri-
cultural economists and humanists (Martin, 1983).
Conservation tillage (ridge and living mulch types)
will increase in importance. Conservation tillage,
along with minimum tillage, no-till, double cropping,
contour farming, green chopping, rotational grazing,
residue management, terraces, use of chisel plowing,
intercropping and related mechanical practices, will
require more SM research by agricultural engineers
working closely with hydrologists, economists, farm
management scholars, agronomists, animal scientists,
soil chemists and electronic physicists. Improved con-
servation practices are needed for land now farmed
and grazed, as well as for the additional, more fragile
soils to be farmed in the next 50 years.
Machinery inputs and fuel consumption per unit of

work may be reduced to one-half of current require-
ments with the development of better and more effi-
cient engines. Spacing and other modifications in
planting and cultural practices will facilitate more in-
tensive cultivation, more double cropping and addi-
tional investments in the productive capacity of soils.
Machinery may be smaller and more efficient, espe-
cially for part-time operators of small-scale agri-
cultural enterprises.
Natural Resources Physical management of
privately owned natural resources will be an important
SM research area for agricultural engineers. Research
must continue on irrigation, drainage, climate and
weather, conservation tillage and waste management.
Supplemental irrigation will be a means of increasing
both the stability and magnitude of crop production in
what traditionally have been rain-fed areas. Irrigation
could increase yields by 50 percent on good agri-
cultural lands in temperate zones. Use of drip irriga-
tion for high-value crops will continue to expand, en-
couraged by scarcer, more expensive water and labor.
Delivery systems will be designed for efficient use of
fertilizer and pesticides, as well as water. Drip
irrigation will be extended to sugarcane, cotton,
sorghum, corn and peanuts.
Drainage is as important as irrigation for water and
land management. Plastic drain tubes are replacing
clay tiles. They are lightweight, flexible and easy to
transport, and they have low labor and energy costs.
Though durability has yet to be established, they are
expected to last for decades. Another new development
is the drain plow, for placing the plastic tubes in
narrow trenches. Power is supplied by tractors of 250
horsepower or more. There are both track and wheel
types. The wheel type has flotation tires. Additional
SM research on drainage is needed to attain further
such improvements.
Climate modeling, resource assessments and meteor-
ology will continue as important research areas for
agricultural engineers in most institutions. Remarkable
progress has occurred in thematic mapping and multi-
spectral imagery. It is now possible with current in-
strumentation to inventory accurately changes in land
cover, cropping patterns, water and energy availabili-
ty and biogeochemical cycles-to inventory, in fact, all
life-support systems that affect food production and
future biological productivity (Wittwer, 1983a).
Remote sensing and observations from satellites will
become increasingly important for monitoring changes
in resource inputs into food systems and for long-term
weather forecasting. The development of predictive
models of natural and man-made physical, chemical
and biological changes related to the production of
food and other renewable resources will be significant.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is

developing a new initiative, "global habitability," em-
phasizing global biology and a land-related global
habitability research program (National Aeronautics
and Space Administration, 1983), in which the earth's
total resources will be monitored for effects on life-
supporting systems. Space technology now allows
worldwide agricultural crop forecasting and early
warning of impending disasters resulting from severe
climatic variations and pestilence. The biophysical and
social scientists of the agricultural research community
should be active participants in this effort. Agricultural
engineering research on waste management and
technologies for waste disposal on the land, in water
and in air will become increasingly important.

Structures and Environments for Plants and Animals
One focus will be on the design of storage for grain
and perishable fruits, vegetables, ornamentals and
potatoes. Another will be on protected environments
with appropriate sensors for optimizing inputs of all
growth factors for the intensive production of high-
valued vegetable, flower, fruit and ornamental crops.
In this, engineers will work with horticulturists.
Research relating to improved structures and housing
for livestock is an important area of agricultural
engineering that should involve animal scientists.

Food Engineering Attention will be on the
handling of commodities from harvest through process-
ing and distribution to the consumer. Included will be
research on storage, processing, transportation and
packaging. Agricultural engineers must relate closely
to specialists in packaging, food science, agricultural
economics, horticulture and the animal sciences. They
will also contribute to systems research on the farm and
agribusiness sectors.

Disciplinary Research Relevant
for Agricultural Engineering
Agricultural engineers often operate in a "design
mode." Their objective is to devise optimal systems,
machines and equipment. Thus, disciplinary advances
in optimization theory in economics are important in
agricultural engineering. This was recognized at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which
developed a superior economics department under the
leadership of Paul Samuelson, a Nobel laureate. SM
research in agricultural engineering depends upon
disciplinary advances of chemists, physicists, mathe-
maticians, metallurgists, hydrologists, economists and
statisticians. The relationship between DISC research
and agricultural engineering has received scant atten-
tion. Agricultural engineers are as dependent upon
advances in the supporting disciplines as are those in
plant and soil departments. -

General Discussion of Technical
Subject-Matter and Disciplinary Research
Traditional agricultural departments still exist, as
they have for decades, in research institutes, bureaus
and organizations, and as units in universities and col-
leges. Considerable relevant DISC research is done in
the multidisciplinary SM departments of colleges of
agriculture, as well as in disciplinary departments out-
side such colleges.
Most SM departments of colleges of agriculture were
established to handle the problems of the past. Conse-
quently, they often fail with the problems of the pre-
sent. New technological needs and problems are being
generated by changes not heretofore experienced in
energy, land, water and labor costs; institutions; and
human skills and attitudes. Thus, there is a need to
restructure the organization of the Agricultural
Research Establishment's (ARE's) SM departments and
research programs. This does not mean that SM
research should be abandoned in favor of DISC
research. SM research will be as important in the
future as it has been in the past. The needs are for
reorganization of SM research, not elimination; for
additional support for the DISC research that will be
required to undergird SM research; and for determina-
tion of an optimal distribution of support for DISC
research between the USDA and colleges of agii-
culture, on one hand, and university departments and
agencies both inside and outside the USDA/land-grant
system, on the other.
Departmental structures vary with states, research
institutes, universities and colleges. Many existing ad-
ministrative structures should be retained, but some
should be eliminated and new ones created. SM
departments can be enlarged or reduced. The animal
departments are sometimes subdivided into dairy
science, poultry science and animal husbandry. Con-
versely, horticulture, field crops, agronomy and
forestry can be grouped together as a plant science
department, as they have been in many institutions.
Going to the other extreme, horticulture departments
can be broken down into the separate units of
pomology, vegetable crops, floriculture and orna-
mental horticulture.

Within agronomy and horticulture, forestry and
animal science departments, the disciplines of
biochemistry, plant physiology, statistics, genetics,
molecular biology, climatology, environmental
sciences and computer sciences may be represented by
individual departmental faculty members. Conversely,
agricultural research and educational institutions, in-
cluding colleges of agriculture, sometimes have depart-
ments of genetics, statistics, plant pathology and ento-
mology, which may fit best under a listing of technical

disciplines instead of SM departments. Few
agricultural colleges now have energy, environmental
quality, aquaculture or farm labor departments,
though such departments may be more relevant than
some existing ones. The need for multidisciplinary SM
departments depends on the time, place, problems and
issues. All of these aberrations of the historical
organization of departments in agricultural colleges
and institutes pose administrative problems for
organizing SM food and agricultural research into pat-
terns appropriate for the needs of today and for the

There is a need for expanding technical SM and PS
research for agriculture. Some biophysical technologies
for agriculture deteriorate rapidly. For example, insect
pests and disease organisms have substantial ability to
mutate and become immune to pesticides, overcome
immunities and counteract antibiotics. Thus,
maintenance expenditures on SM research are increas-
ingly important, though not spectacular, attention-
getting or productive of Nobel prizes or approbation
from disciplinary peers. As agricultural technologies
become increasingly complex, proportionally more SM
research must be done to maintain current levels of
technology. Society cannot risk losing the capacity it
has developed for agricultural production by failing to
maintain its SM agricultural technology. Further, an
increasing amount of technical SM research will be
needed by public decision makers responsible for en-
vironmental quality, structural changes in agriculture
and rural life, and the purity, safety and whole-
someness of food.

Part II of this report focused on the ARE's critics, in-
cluding the biological and physical scientists outside
the USDA/land-grant system. That section of this
report deals with the important administrative
problems involving the interrelationship between the
SM research done in the multidisciplinary departments
of the land-grant colleges and the USDA, on one hand,
and that done by biological and physical science
disciplinarians, on the other, who are outside of the
USDA/land-grant system. This latter group is also con-
cerned with food and agriculture research and is trying
valiantly to do DISC research of relevance to food pro-
duction and the reduction of world hunger. Clearly
both SM and DISC research are needed, and it is im-
portant that there be a close working relationship be-
tween PS and SM researchers, on one hand, and the
relevant DISC researchers, on the other. This relation-
ship is almost automatic when DISC research is done
within the various multidisciplinary departments and
agencies of the USDA/land-grant system. The difficul-
ty, however, is that pressure to do PS and SM research
leaves little time and few resources in such departments
and agencies for the necessary DISC research. ARE ad-

ministrators find it hard to make a case before
practical-minded congressional committees or state
legislators for DISC research, however important it
may seem to scientists aware that agriculture needs
more relevant DISC research than the ARE can pro-
duce on its own. The deficit can be made up, in part,
by the biological, physical and social scientists outside
the USDA/land-grant system if destructive competition
between and within the two groups is avoided.

Research (Both Subject-Matter
and Disciplinary) on Institutional
and Related Changes of Importance for the
Use and Generation of Technology
Agriculturists and consumers in the United States
and other countries that have reasonably good agri-
cultural policies and institutions may forget that in-
stitutional and social science research is essential for
successful creation and utilization of new technologies.
Technological advance requires institutions and
policies that make it advantageous for scientists to
generate technological change, for suppliers to produce
and distribute the inputs in which advanced
technologies are imbedded, and for farmers and agri-
business peQple to adopt and use high-technology
There are many examples of excellent technological
advances that were never utilized because of poor in-
stitutions. One of the most dramatic involved the im-
proved oil palm varieties which were developed at the
West African Institute for Oilpalm Research
(WAIFOR) in Nigeria. Superior varieties created at
this institute outproduced wild oil palm varieties six-
fold under experimental conditions and threefold
under farm conditions. After these varieties were
developed, the government spent large amounts of
money on its extension service to make knowledge of
these new varieties available to farmers. It also set up
mechanisms for reproducing the improved varieties for
ready availability. Nigeria's federal and state govern-
ments, however, depended on export taxes on palm oil
for substantial amounts of revenue. These govern-
ments, anxious for the additional revenue, extracted up
to 50 percent of the export price of palm oil from the
farmers. This high taxation by the Palm Oil Marketing
Board reduced returns to farmers to a level where they
could barely "make wages" harvesting the fruit from
either wild or improved varieties. The consequence
was that the farmers did not take care of the improved
varieties, even though they sometimes planted them to
get a planting subsidy. Governmental officials and ad-
ministrators of the Palm Oil Marketing Board argued
that Nigerian farmers were primitive people who
would not respond either negatively to a low price or

positively to a higher price. They persisted in maintain-
ing the tax on palm oil (Johnson, 1969).
On the other side of the world, the Malaysians were
able to see the opportunity offered by the improved oil
palm varieties. Their policies and institutional
arrangements and their soils and climate were such
that they could grow the improved varieties at a profit.
Malaysia now has a thriving palm oil industry that
earns substantial foreign exchange and provides a large
amount of remunerative employment for Malaysians.
The lesson is clear. Technological advance alone is not
sufficient. It must be accompanied by institutions,
policies and incentives that make it advantageous for
the technology to be adopted.
In the United States during World War II, there
were deficiencies in labor for agriculture, and there
were other wartime shortages. Rising costs made it dif-
ficult for farmers to maintain and expand production
to meet needs. Congress then passed and the president
signed the so-called "Steagal Amendment" to establish
and guarantee "necessary prices for three years after
the cessation of W.W. II hostilities." This wise,
forward-thinking legislation did much to provide
incentives for farmers to expand production of com-
modities necessary for the war effort. Included were
soybeans, milk products, pork and other basic com-
Another example of an institutional change that
favored productivity was the establishment of the
Farm Credit Administration during the Great Depres-
sion. From the mid-1930s on, this institution has done
much to make credit available to farmers and to
modernize American agriculture. Without this institu-
tional change, American agriculture would not have
developed the productive capacity it now has.
History is replete with institutional and policy
changes that have increased the productive capacity of
U.S. agriculture. The current danger is that the
reduced political power of farmers may combine with
the concerns of "consumer interest" groups to reverse
past U.S. agricultural policies and programs and move
to a "cheaper food policy" with returns so low to
farmers that they will not be able to generate the
needed increases in production. We have benefited
from past policies that have kept production up and
food prices reasonable for everyone. Our food prices
have probably been lower than they would have been
under a cheap food policy capable of generating
similar levels of output.

Subject-Matter Research on
Institutional and Related Changes
Emphasis is on institutional and policy research that
undergirds the generation, dissemination and adoption

of technological change. SM research not related to
technological change is omitted. Thus, much SM
research on institutions important for the next half-
century is not covered.
Agricultural Economics SM research directly rele-
vant to the generation and use of technological change
includes that which should be pursued to accom-
modate to the growing scarcity of land and water,
more expensive energy, increasing real wages, a grow-
ing and increasingly affluent U.S. population with
demands for improved diets, and the need for foreign
exchange. Also included is research on policies, pro-
grams and institutions to facilitate the adoption of and
obtain the best societal results from new technologies;
and finally, research on the economics of developing
the human capital needed to create, distribute and use
new technologies (see later section on research on
human development).
Regulation of the use and adoption of high-technology
inputs should be reviewed. Public regulations and laws
to protect the environment, food chains and people
may unduly retard the adoption of new technologies.
It is not always clear whether regulations on the use of
chemicals, biologicals and resources for specific pur-
poses are, on balance, beneficial or detrimental.
Economists should contribute to multidisciplinary SM
research to provide assessments of the consequences of
such regulations.
Overuse of durables and expendables by farmers
generally results in overuse of technology and the
accumulation of government stocks or lower farm
product prices and financial distress (Johnson and
Quance, 1972). Overuse of such durables as machines
reflecting the technology available at one time will
later result in an obsolete agricultural production
plant. Agricultural economists, political scientists,
sociologists and technical agricultural scientists should
design institutional arrangements, policies and pro-
grams to prevent overuse of resources and determine
the need for public expenditures to offset the
undesirable consequences of overuse. Society, as well
as farmers, loses when resources are overcommitted to
agricultural production. The value of these resources
cannot be recovered by either. The 1983 commodity
and payment-in-kind (PIK) programs were designed to
correct overuse. The costs and the short, intermediate
and long-run consequences of the PIK program were
not adequately researched. Thus the program has
proven far more expensive than anticipated.
Farming systems research (FSR) is too applied and
multidisciplinary to be considered disciplinary, yet too
general to be problem-solving. Agricultural economists
and farm management specialist teams should estimate
the profitability of alternative farming systems. They

can also project the supply and price effects of changes
in farming systems to determine impacts on farm in-
comes, costs of living, the nutritional status of various
demographic groups and other important welfare in-
dicators. Economists should coordinate their efforts
with those of animal and crop scientists. SM research
should emphasize farm systems analysis of crop and
livestock enterprises, considered both separately and
jointly. Agricultural economists and farm managers
have much to contribute to the analysis of farming
systems. Economics should be incorporated into the
analyses of alternative farming systems, but not to the
exclusion of contributions from agronomists and
animal scientists (Johnson, et al., 1961; Johnson,
The number of small, mostly part-time farms and the
number of large farms in the United States are increas-
ing, while the number of medium-sized farms is decreas-
ing. FSR is particularly needed for both small, part-time
and large-scale farms. In the less-developed world, FSR
has concentrated on technical advance with a neglect
of household aspects. FSR has not been as holistic and
integrative as the farm and home development research
and extension programs of the 1950s and '60s (Johnson,
1982). FSR for small-scale and part-time agricultural
enterprises in the United States should be based on an
integrated view of both production and the household.
The role of women on both small and large farms has
not been adequately assessed and is important in setting
research priorities. Integrated pest management and
regenerative agricultural production systems should be
addressed. Like farm management in its earlier days,
FSR today should be multidisciplinary and multidepart-
mental in colleges of agriculture. The household aspects
should be considered as they were in the 1950s.
Land will be scarcer in the next 50 years. It will be
necessary to utilize soils not now farmed and to farm
more intensively the land now in use. It will be necessary
to invest additional capital in soils to make them into
productive lands. Farming systems analysis should em-
phasize timing of capital investments in soils to make
them productive. Systems analyses of livestock/crop pro-
duction systems are needed, with emphasis on how to
harvest improved high-yielding forages from rough,
fragile soils without the soil and forage losses associated
with heavy grazing and trampling by animals. As land
use intensifies, systems analyses of multicropping and
intercropping technologies will become crucial. Farm-
ing systems analysis must cross the traditional depart-
ments of agronomy, agricultural economics, horti-
culture, animal science and rural sociology.
Research on firms that market, process and distribute
farm products is important. Agricultural economists
often pursue such interests under the label of industrial
organization (conduct, structure and performance)

research. New technologies may change the structure of
production, marketing, processing and distribution.
Reciprocally, sought-after changes in structure may
determine the technology created. Research efforts
should investigate the creation of technologies for
obtaining power to concentrate the control of farming
and agribusiness in fewer hands. Some technologies hav-
ing to do with price and production uncertainties of
marketing and processing through distribution firms
may be reduced. There is a need for analyses of farm
production and marketing subsystems as parts of larger
subsectorial systems.
Equity and equality issues are raised with increasing
frequency as technological advances preferentially favor
large-scale or small-scale farms, males or females, and
various demographic groups. Equity and equality are
not the same. An equitable distribution of income or
rights and privileges is a justified but not necessarily
equal one. The International Association of Agricultural
Economists devoted its last 10-day triennial meeting,
held in Jakarta in 1982, to "Growth and Equity" and
made considerable progress in understanding the
theoretical and empirical relationships among growth,
equity and equality. Some contend that it is equitable
or justifiable to generate technologies favoring large-scale
farms because they are more productive and make a
higher proportion of their output available to the rest
of society. Others argue that more equality between
small- and large-scale farms would be equitable. Some
variations in total net incomes of farm and non-farm
laborers are justified by differences in resources con-
tributed and effort put forth and can therefore be
regarded as equitable. Equity and equality also relate
to rates of return per unit of labor, land, capital or
energy, such as marginal earnings per day of labor and
returns to marginal investments in capital and land and
use of energy. The attainment of equality in returns at
the margin does not guarantee equality in total net
returns. Equality in returns at the margin seems easier
to justify as equitable than equality in total net returns.
Issues of equity and equality within agriculture and
between the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors
now receive less attention than formerly in the ARE,
despite the increasing criticism of the ARE and its
research institutions, science policies, programs and
Technological advances and public infrastructures sup-
port productive agriculture. SM research should con-
tinue on how technological advances and changes in
resource availability will alter marketing and informa-
tion systems, production sites and the institutions that
control agriculture. Requirements for public roads,
transportation, irrigation and drainage, and regulatory
activities will be affected.
The private physical infrastructures that support

agriculture will also change with time, technology and
resource availability. Not all socially desirable
technologies will sufficiently benefit the private sector
to cover costs of production and distribution of needed
inputs and capital. Hybrid seed corn permitted pro-
ducers and distributors to appropriate sufficient benefits
to make it advantageous for them to produce and
distribute the seed. The Plant Variety Protection Act of
1978 recognizes the difficulties of patenting and enforc-
ing patents on biological materials (Schmid, forthcom-
ing). It will not always be possible to devise laws that
will permit private firms to recover developmental, pro-
duction and distribution costs, even if the technologies
involved are socially desirable. A specific example is the
"minor use" program of agricultural chemicals for pest
control. Here, the technologies will be more appropri-
ately handled by Agricultural Experiment Stations and
Extension Services. Considerable research is now being
initiated by agricultural economists and sociologists on
the roles of the public and private sectors. This research
is timely. There are those who claim the private sector
can hire the scientists to do the needed DISC, SM and
PS research for developing all new technologies, thereby
eliminating the need for public sector SM and PS
research (Marshall, 1949). This argument presumes that
private firms will benefit in creating, producing and
distributing new technologies and that private firms will
find it unprofitable to degrade the environment and con-
taminate the food chain and to adversely affect the struc-
ture of agriculture and society.

International trade is becoming increasingly important
for the United States and other nations. Technological
progress will change our needs for fossil energy,
phosphate, potash and other resources from abroad.
Technological changes also influence the extent to which
U.S. agriculture can penetrate foreign markets. The
availability of inputs from international markets and of
markets abroad for U.S. farm products helps determine
the institutions and technologies we should generate.
Thus, there are important interrelationships between in-
ternational trade and both biotechnical and institutional
research. These interrelationships pose a challenge for
multidisciplinary teams of technical and social scientists.
Needed are better long-term projections of the demand
for U.S. farm products, the capacity of U.S. agriculture
to produce in relation to the total U.S. economy and the
world, and the availability of essential inputs from
abroad. Research to maintain and increase the com-
petitive position of U.S. farm products in international
trade is of high priority and vital for the financial welfare
of the nation.
Issues relating to international trade, however, are
complex. Trade and markets, at home and abroad, are
subject to subsidies, protective tariffs, price ceilings and
decisions of presumed strategic value.

Models are available for making trade projections, but
they are still relatively primitive. Much of the talent to
build, maintain and improve projection models is in the
universities. The Economic Research Service of the
USDA is the logical operational home for projective
modeling unless a state Agricultural Experiment Station
is prepared to underwrite long-term maintenance costs
and compete in selling outputs of such models in national
and international markets.
Redesign of capital and fiscal institutions for farms and
range and forest resources is a challenge for multi-
disciplinary SM research. Technological and institutional
advances are so interrelated that changes should be
simultaneously considered by biotechnical and social
scientists, including agricultural economists.
The public data system is in disarray. The federal data
system for agriculture has deteriorated and become
obsolete since World War II (Bonnen, 1977). State-level
data systems for agriculture are far from uniform and,
in many cases, inadequate. Multidisciplinary institu-
tional research to improve the public data systems and
information institutions for agriculture is critical. Such
research would provide an improved knowledge base for
setting science policy and research priorities for U.S.
Agricultural sector studies often simulate the operations
of macroagricultural systems through time. The interest
may be in a subsector, such as cotton, a national system
or a global agricultural system. Projections for scenarios
involving population growth, the availability of land,
changes in yields and likely changes in real wages are
useful. They are essential for studying long-term
agricultural science policies and research priorities and
for selecting specific projects. Policies are set on the basis
of projections, ranging from hunches of people too
specialized to see the whole picture to elaborate, com-
puterized, formal models. Current procedures for mak-
ing projections in science policies, in establishing
priorities and in selecting research projects are not
satisfactory. SM research by agricultural economists and
systems scientists cooperating with scholars in agri-
cultural technology, institutions and rural people is
recommended (Rossmiller, ed., 1978).

Rural Sociology Technical changes are being made
to adjust to increased demand for land, higher water and
energy costs and increasing real wages. Such changes
restructure rural America. Other related forces are
migration, changes in tastes and demography, and shifts
in the location of off-farm employment associated with
changing resource bases. The geographic patterns of pro-
duction agriculture -will also change as computers in-
crease the ability of farmers and companies to control
and manage widely dispersed operations. SM research
by social scientists, as well as biotechnical scientists, will

be important in the following areas (Rossmiller, ed.,
The kinds of technology developed can be advan-
tageously researched by sociologists who study changes
in rural social infrastructure and the future of part-time
vs. large-scale commercial farms. It is particularly im-
portant to understand the effects of higher real wage
rates and changes in the size and geographic location
of populations and labor forces.
Studies of changes in the lifestyles and objectives of rural
people should be for non-farmers as well as farmers to
guide the creation of technology and its regulation and
adoption. Because of its important social and economic,
technical and human dimensions, research on such sub-
jects is necessarily multidisciplinary but has important
economic and sociological dimensions.
Computerized contracts and controls will restructure
the future production, marketing and processing of farm
products. These will have important social implications
that should be researched by multidisciplinary teams.
Demographic changes are essential components of
systems analysis at macro as well as individual firm and
enterprise levels. Rural sociologists can contribute to the
modeling of demographic variables. Cohort analyses are
useful not only in modeling human populations and
labor forces but, with modifications, in modeling
national livestock herds, tractor "herds," orchard
populations and the changing age composition of any
reproducible but durable, productive and renewable

Disciplinary Research in Social
and Institutional Sciences
This section addresses DISC research in the underly-
ing social and institutional sciences that help decision
makers and those engaged in SM and PS research deter-
mine appropriateness, creation, development and use of
biological and physical technologies. Beyond that men-
tioned, DISC research in the social and institutional
sciences should be done both within and outside the ARE
to serve other purposes.

The Theory of Public and/or Private Risk Bearing -
Some technological advances reduce risks in agricultural
production (Shoemaker, 1982; Johnson, 1977), while
others increase them. Risks are borne by societies, both
socially and privately. For private managers, it is im-
portant that DISC research be done on the important
theoretical and empirical differences between
preferences for gains and risk, and differences between
aversion of loss and risk aversion (Johnson, forthcoming-
d; Robison and Fleisher, forthcoming). Institutional
arrangements for the public bearing of the increased risks
associated with some new technologies should be

addressed. The theory of public risk bearing-associated
with, for instance, environmental pollution, food safety,
and the farming of fragile soils in dangerous
environments-needs development for understanding of
how public institutions can be shaped and administered
to handle risks that are beyond the capacity of private

The Theory of Producing Joint Products from
Resources Sometimes Under Joint Public and Private
Ownership Disciplinary economic, political science
and sociological research should be directed at improv-
ing theory for specifying optimal generation and utiliza-
tion of multiple outputs from combinations of privately
and publicly controlled resources of low monetary pro-
ductivity. The roles of taxation and subsidization need
specific attention. The relevance and importance of such
DISC research in economics is seen with publicly and
privately owned range, forest and water resources.
Growth rates for forest products are typically low in rela-
tion to interest rates. Maintaining and utilizing resources
to grow timber products advantageously often requires
both public and private support to generate a wide
variety of products and services for commercial use and
for the benefit of various segments of the general public.

Economic Aspects of Conservation and Investments
in Natural Resources It is difficult to make decisions
about the optimum rates to use up non-renewable
resources, to invest in the development of improvable
resources and to preserve maintainable resources. Such
decisions are crucial with respect to fossil energy and
water resources and soils that are highly erodable or ex-
tremely responsive to investments in productive capaci-
ty. The theory for such optimizing decisions is not fully
developed. Such theory as developed calls for the
measurement of non-monetary values accruing to dif-
ferent persons in time and through generations of time.
The measurement problem is a more serious quantitative
one than we encounter in most other science (Hicks,
1941; Majumdar, 1958; Reder, 1947) (see the section
below on measurement of values). Still further, im-
perfections in knowledge require subdecisions about the
rule to use in defining optima. Decision rules to define
optima under imperfect knowledge involve distributions
of power-market, political, social, police and, in some
cases, the power of knowledge itself. Special measure-
ment difficulties are introduced when "bads" are im-
posed on certain persons in order to confer "goods" on
still others. Substantial improvements are needed in
public decision-making theory (Shoemaker, 1982) and
in the measurement of values. Without these, im-
provements, it will be difficult to develop sufficient
knowledge of benefits and losses to solve the problems
of disinvestment in non-renewable resources such as
petroleum and water reserves and productive land.

Economic Aspects of Controlling Institutions -
Technological advances affect the institutions that
emerge and the extent to which they favor large- or
small-scale producers. Some advances are size-neutral;
others favor either large- or small-scale producers.
Disciplinary research is needed on the economics and
sociology of these interactions of technology with institu-
tional structures. Interactions affecting size and
organization of food processing, storage and distribution
units and, hence, the structure of society are particularly
important. Institutions to control structural changes are
often needed.

Institutional Decision Making and Administration -
The socio-econo-politico theory of how institutions
establish priorities, administer their activities, attain
their support and account to society is only partially
developed. Among those institutions servicing agri-
culture, the least understood may be the public
agricultural research institutions themselves.

Measurement of Values The measurement of
monetary and non-monetary values is important need-
ed DISC research for economists. Logical positivism, the
dominant philosophy undergirding the biological and
physical sciences, takes the position that research on
values as characteristics of the real world is impossible.
Without such research (non-monetary and monetary, in-
trinsic and instrumental, exchange and total), PS and
SM research is seriously hampered. The positivistic
presupposition that values cannot be objectively re-
searched is now questioned by many philosophers and
others (Achinstein and. Barker, 1969). Alternative
philosophies hold that such research is possible (Moore,
1903; Lewis, 1955). Economists are concerned with both
monetary and non-monetary values and consistently
demonstrate capacity to do objective research on both.
DISC research by economists, sociologists and political
scientists on values is required to set appropriate science
policy and research priorities for agriculture and to
evaluate project proposals and results. It is especially
needed for PS and SM research. Important is research
on how to measure the non-monetary as well as mone-
tary costs and returns of different forms of energy, the
prevention of soil erosion, and the multiple benefits from
forestry, water and range resources. Soil loss equations
are inadequate indices of the negative value of soil ero-
sion and of the disinvestments that convert arable land
into a less useful resource while ignoring the values of
capital invested in land. Similarly, energy accounts are
inadequate measures of the values of the different kinds
of energy used and produced. The traditional ARE is
widely criticized for pursuing inappropriate values
relating to resources. A major interest in agro-ethics is
developing. We must improve the measurement of
values important in setting policy for agricultural

sciences, for other agricultural policies and for PS and
much SM research.

Subject-Matter and Disciplinary Research
on Human Development of Importance
for Technological Advance in Agriculture

Higher levels of education and greater skills are re-
quired as agricultural technology becomes more com-
plex to ensure its utilization and to create further
technological advances. Harvesting of several fruit and
vegetable crops has been essentially robotized to displace
unskilled laborers. Highly skilled laborers are now re-
quired to operate the harvesting equipment. Weeds, in-
sects and diseases were formerly controlled by hoeing,
hand removal of insects, crop management and applica-
tion of a relatively few unsophisticated insecticides. The
use of modern machines and pesticides is complex and
dangerous. Highly trained, skilled and licensed workers
are now required. This is also true for the administra-
tion of antibiotics, drugs and vaccines to control diseases
in livestock. The advent of integrated pest management,
conservation tillage and sanitized livestock production
systems has put new demands on those who operate and
manage modern agricultural production systems.

Subject-Matter Research on Human Development
This area is treated incompletely. The concern is for
research on human development relevant to the crea-
tion and use of technological advances in agriculture.
Human development in rural areas, including that
related to farming, is a subject worthy of research and
as an adjunct to technological advance (Schultz, 1961).
Home Economics/Human Ecology This is a tradi-
tional land-grant university SM area that functions as
a partner with agriculture in human development.
Home economics or human ecology research focuses on
the family, with specific concerns for nutrition, family
economics, child care, clothing, housing, family social
development and the near environment of the family.
New technology is at its best when developed jointly with
humanistic disciplines. In farming systems research
teams, the home economics/human ecology component
should be extensively involved. Agricultural economists
also have important roles to play in such research.
The following are identified as research priorities
closely related to technological advance:
Optimizing family incomes through household pro-
duction (much of which is non-monetized and untaxed)
and paid employment.
Determining the impact of technological and finan-
cial change such as the purchase of technology and
interest rates.

Assessing effects of decisions regarding resources and
technology on the family's future.

Roles of women and other family members are chang-
ing as the number of part-time farmers increases. These
farmers often use different and less up-to-date
technologies than those used on full-time commercial
farms. Cottage industries, direct marketing and the use
of personal computers are, however, providing new
opportunities. Research on family roles, development,
management and new technologies on the home environ-
ment is now an important part of the agenda for home
economics/human ecology research.

The roles of family members on large, commercial
farms are also changing. Women are playing increas-
ingly important roles in operating complex machinery,
managing finances and utilizing computers for account-
ing, decision making, programing of farm operations,
analyzing market information, farm business analysis
and for home/farm management. As agricultural tech-
nologies become more complex, physical strength
becomes less important, and differences in the roles
played by men and women on commercial farms disap-
pear. Participation of human ecologists/home economists
in farming systems research should improve the integra-
tion of new technology with the human dimension.

Additional skills will be required for handling new
technologies, such as personal computers. These will be
needed in using new equipment for managerial proc-
esses, environmental control, educational purposes and
supplemental cottage industries.
The number of people aged 65 and over will increase
by 40 to 50 percent by the year 2000. Older people will
be healthier and capable of productive work longer.
Educational models are needed to familiarize senior
citizens with new technologies and to involve them in
their use. This will require research on educational
models for various demographic groups and family
systems on small- and large-scale farms.
The following research for home economics/human
ecology is recommended on quality of food products and
improved human nutrition:
The function, nutrient composition, quality and
stability of food products.
Nutrient bioavailability, interrelationships, re-
quirements and costs for optimal health and
Nutrient imbalance effects on the behavior of high-
risk groups (including infants, children, pregnant or
lactating women, and elderly people).
The effects of nutrition on human performance and
disease control.

The importance of new technologies for overcoming
resource constraints suggest the following SM research:
Evaluation of solar energy for heating in moderate-
and low-income housing.
The effects of pollutants in food, clothing and in-
door air on high-risk family members (pregnant women,
fetuses, infants and elderly people).
Cost effectiveness of home energy conservation
Direct assessment of home energy consumption.

Vocational Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Ser-
vices, FFA, FHA, 4-H Clubs, Academic Programs in
Agricultural Technology, Personnel Development Pro-
grams and Resident Instruction Programs of Colleges of
Agriculture-These are eight "action" programs con-
cerned with the development of human resources, with
special emphasis on farming and rural areas. The first
five focus on the development of personnel for farming
(and other occupations). In some agricultural colleges,
they are supplemented with special agricultural tech-
nology programs at the post-high school level to provide
advanced training as pesticide applicators, elevator
managers and veterinary technicians. The seventh con-
centrates on developing Extension personnel. The eighth
provides training for those later employed in the ARE,
education, farming, nbn-farm agribusiness, government
and non-farm occupations. This last area is also sup-
plemented by resident instruction programs in some non-
agricultural colleges. Limited research on human
development is carried on in the programs discussed
The structure of agriculture and rural areas has
changed so drastically in recent years (Schertz et al.,
1979) that many feel the above programs and institu-
tions are obsolete and in need of major overhaul. Some
even advocate their abolition. We disagree. It is ap-
propriate, however, that SM research be conducted on
the roles and functions of these programs and institu-
tions as we project 50 years hence.
Human capital studies by sociologists, human
ecologists and agricultural economists will be necessary
to resolve personnel problems of the future. Estimates
are needed of the number of people in traditional
agricultural job classifications. Skill requirements should
be viewed both as consequences and as generators of
technological change. Technological change and human
development are interdependent. Many past studies have
failed because they did not recognize this inter-
dependence. Projections of requirements for staffing
public and privately supported agricultural research,
extension and marketing agencies are needed. Such
studies must be related to the skill requirements in com-

mercial agriculture. New technologies emerging from
research laboratories will not be utilized without new
skills at the farm level. Skilled entrepreneurial and labor
forces on farms also generate demands for new tech-
nologies. Between farms and research agencies are in-
put markets that produce and distribute the products
that carry new technologies. These include improved
seeds, better fertilizers, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides
and machines. The skills required in the farm input
industry depend mutually upon the skills of researchers
and farmers.
Specific subjects need to be addressed. Each time new
pesticides become available, resistant biotypes emerge,
and each time a new "integrated pest management
system" is evolved, skill requirements must be reassessed.
This is a multidisciplinary task. Research on determina-
tion of personnel needs will lead to improvements in
training programs for both the private and public

The computer revolution has created a need for new
skills. The development of low-cost, highly efficient mini
and microcomputers and word processors has expanded
needs for computer skills in farming and all farm-related
input and product markets. Electronics, computerized
information systems and networks operated at the farm
level are changing both production and marketing
strategies and technologies. The kinds of computer train-
ing programs sponsored by public and private agencies
for agriculture need to be researched.

Disciplinary or Basic Research in
Sciences Relevant for Human Development
The foremost DISC researcher on human capital is
T. W. Schultz, Nobel laureate, and his associates, in-
cluding Gary Becker. Their studies were preceded by
the earlier works of family economists Margaret Reid
and Hazel Kyrk. They have concentrated on the con-
tributions the discipline of economics can make to the
understanding of human development. Contributions
are also needed from psychology, sociology, physiology,
anthropology and human nutrition.

Human Capital and the Family DISC research on
the role of the farm family in human development is of
high priority. The impact of high technology on farm
families increases the need for understanding how the
family functions in human development. Research
should be expanded on theories of consumer and
household behavior, and the allocation of time, money,
energy and space to various activities by family
members. Investments in skills, the roles of social institu-
tions, family household production functions and the
relationships of these to the quality of life of farm
families should be pursued.

Human Capital and Society Improvements in the
education of scientists (both social and physical), tech-
nologists, entrepreneurs and institutional innovators call
for DISC research by psychologists, sociologists and
economists. Educational institutions create human
capital beyond the family. Schools, colleges, universities
and institutes, building on the outputs of families, train
scientists, scholars, technologists, entrepreneurs, govern-
ment officials and institution builders.
Stress Management The nature of human stress and
how to manage it are inadequately understood. Changes
such as new communication technologies, microcom-
puter usage and the high technology of contemporary
farming, coupled with other economic and social prob-
lems, can be either highly threatening, stressful and
debilitating or stimulating to farmers and farm families.
Improved disciplinary knowledge of stress and stress
management will be needed as agricultural technologies
become more complex and stressful.
The Productivity of Human Capital Economists
are challenged with needs for additional DISC research
on the productivity of human capital investments in
agricultural research and extension, in farm women and
men, and in the health of farm people.
Learning and the Management of New Technologies
- The psychology, economics, sociology, statistics and
mathematics of learning about new agricultural tech-
nologies are DISC research areas for psychologists,
economists and sociologists. Sociologists and psycholo-
gists have done much research on early and late adopters
(Rogers and Shoemaker, 1971). Somewhat
independently, psychologists have studied learning proc-
esses. Farm management students have done prelimi-
nary DISC research on the economics of acquiring and
using knowledge (Johnson, et al., 1961). Statisticians and
mathematicians have investigated the consequences of
different decisions and, in some instances, the costs and
returns of increments of knowledge. Results of further
DISC research in several disciplines outlined above
should be coordinated with SM research on the manage-
ment of new agricultural technologies.

Subject-Matter and Disciplinary Research
Involving the Accumulation
of Physical and Biological Capital

Most technological advances are embodied in some
form of capital, such as breeding herds, orchards, irriga-
tion systems, computers, automated controls and
improved varieties. Technological advance and capital
accumulation do not always go together. Agricultural
systems grow in part because they accumulate capital-
physical, biological and human. History shows that
agricultural systems grow faster if the accumulation of

physical and biological capital is increasing in quality
because of technological advance. There are also direct
connections between physical and biological capital
accumulations and institutional change. Capital does not
accumulate in market-controlled economies unless
entrepreneurs and others find it profitable to make and
maintain investments. This is also true of centrally con-
trolled economies, except that public decision makers
replace private entrepreneurs. Unless public decision
makers find it advantageous to make and maintain
investments, modern high-technology capital is not used.
Further, it cannot be advantageously used without
management skills.

Subject-Matter Research on
Biophysical Capital
The following discussion details the importance of
researching the accumulation of biological and physical
Productive land is typically a mixture of soil (with its
natural inherent properties) and manmade capital such
as drains, irrigation systems and fertilizer residuals.
Together soil and capital become productive land. Thus,
biological and physical capital can complement poor
quality soil to make it productive. An example is the
addition of water to otherwise inherently fertile but un-
productive desert soils. Other capital can substitute for
or add to the total effectiveness of soil. Examples include
fertilizer, higher yielding varieties, and control of the
hazards of weather and pests.
Projections indicate that within 50 years the United
States may have to farm an additional 50 million to 60
million acres and be able to double current crop yields.
This will require an investment of biological and
physical capital in soil and water to increase the pro-
ductive land. Other capital will increase the amount of
land farmed by converting it from less intensive to more
intensive uses. Current perspectives on soil conservation
and land use are often negative. Instead of focusing
negatively on soil losses, we should look to investments
that will establish the land base-soil plus capital-
required for the future. Present technology has permitted
many farmers to make substantial capital investments
for improvement, including conservation, of their soils.
More research by technical scientists, however, is re-
quired to generate technologies for improvement and
conservation of our soils, lands and water.
Biological and physical capital can also replace labor.
Capital replaced labor when the corn picker was
invented. Other forms of capital are highly complemen-
tary to certain kinds of labor and must be used propor-
tionally with it. Cotton pickers, for instance, require one
highly skilled operator for each machine. One cannot
get along without the other. This is a different relation-

ship than when mechanical cotton pickers replaced large
numbers of unskilled cotton pickers who were already
leaving southern agriculture for much higher paid nor-
thern industrial employment.
Analysts disagree about future real wage rates and
standards of living for the American people and for
potential farm laborers. Some suggest that U.S. stand-
ards of living will fall. If this happens, real wages will
follow and there will be less need for labor-saving
technologies and capital to replace labor. We project,
however, that U.S. standards of living and real wage
rates will continue to rise. This will create a demand
for more labor-saving capital to virtually eliminate all
of "stoop labor" from commercial agriculture. In either
event, a technological advance may be classified by
whether the capital which carries it substitutes for or
complements different kinds of soil and complements or
replaces different kinds of labor.
Agricultural credit, an important area for SM
research, is provided in the United States by the private
sector, by federal and state governmental, by part
governmental/part private (parastatal), or by cooper-
ative agencies. Public, private and parastatal agencies
must participate in building the capital base to produce
the output needed. This will require new and creative
means of financing agriculture.

Basic Disciplinary Research
on Biological and Physical
Capital Accumulation
Capital is a source of increased output. Various forms
of capital should be defined and measured. The nature
of capital changes with time and technology. Techno-
logical advances may increase the effectiveness of some
forms of capital and make others obsolete. Fundamental,
conceptual and measurement problems related to capital
and technological advance should be addressed in the
disciplinary research of economists.
Measuring Changes in the Quality of Capital When
agricultural capital changes as a consequence of
technological advances, measurement difficulties arise.
It is as important to improve our measurements of
changes in the quantity and quality of capital as it is to
measure the biological and physical processes that occur
in laboratories. Though some measurements are now
made and reported in "the balance sheets" for U.S.
agriculture, more and improved measurements are
The Theory of Producer-Generated Capital The
economic theory of generating, saving and investing in
farm-produced capital is important but not well
developed or understood. This fruitful area for DISC
economic research is particularly important for

The Theory and Measurement of Capital Com-
plementary to and Substitutable for Land and Labor -
The definition and measurement of the kinds of capital
that substitute for and complement land and labor are
necessary. Many categories of capital are important in
agriculture. Some capital substitutes for unskilled labor.
This same capital, however, often complements skilled
labor, in the sense that highly skilled operators must be
used in fixed proportions with it. Other kinds of capital
substitutes for land. Still other kinds of capital comple-
ment poor soils to make them highly productive.
Examples are irrigation and drainage. Though we called
for SM research on these topics above, we note here that
DISC research by economists is needed as a prelude to
such research.

Control of Overinvestments in the Private Sector -
The widely observed tendencies of market controlled
agricultural economies to overinvest in capital and labor
is a challenge for both DISC and SM research in
economics. These overinvestments led to the overproduc-
tion experienced in the U.S. in 1981 and 1982. The
theoretical explanation of these tendencies has been
developed in part (Schultz, 1945; D. Gale Johnson, 1947;
Cochrane, 1947; Edwards, 1959; Johnson and Quance,
1972). Additional theory has been produced by Baquet
(1979), Robison and Baquet (1979), and Robison and
Fleisher (forthcoming). As these theoretical advances
occur, additional DISC research will be required for
testing and application. Once tested, the theories will
provide a basis for the design of programs and policies
to alleviate undesirable and promote desirable

General Conclusions Concerning
Priorities for Problem-Solving,
Subject-Matter and Disciplinary Research
with Respect to Food and Agriculture

This section will deal with balance and priorities
among PS, SM and DISC research on technological
advance, institutional change, human development and
capital growth. The essential role of publicly supported
research in the USDA and land-grant colleges of agri-
culture, along with the important role of the private
sector, is emphasized. Attention is directed to priorities
for research in the disciplines supporting PS and SM
research on technology, institutions, people and capital
growth; the need to maintain a balance between PS and
SM research, on one hand, and support DISC research
on the other; and finally, the need for DISC research
both in and outside the ARE.

Balances and Imbalances Among Research
on Technology, Institutions,
Human Development and Capital Growth
For the past decade, DISC research has been stressed
for the disciplines that support agricultural research and
also for technical agricultural research itself. The em-
phasis has been more on crops than livestock. Agricul-
tural engineering, despite the importance of energy
shortages, has received little emphasis, and the underly-
ing disciplines of physics, chemistry and mathematics
have seldom been promoted because of their importance
to agricultural engineering. The agribusiness sector has
been moderately supported by SM and PS research
within the ARE. Little attention, however, has been
given to the disciplines in direct support of PS and SM
research in agricultural marketing, processing, distribu-
tion and utilization. Neither food science nor the other
underlying disciplines of nutrition, bacteriology,
chemistry, physics and economics have received substan-
tial emphasis. Soil conservation and maintenance have
been emphasized while DISC research important for
converting unproductive soils into usable land has been
neglected. More emphasis should be placed on
disciplinary support of agricultural engineering, the
agribusiness sector, animal agriculture, food science, soil
improvement and the underlying disciplines.

The Essential Role of the
USDA and Land-Grant Colleges
The land-grant colleges and the USDA have an essen-
tial role to play in PS and SM research in agriculture.
Public sector agricultural research is essential to deal
with problems that the private sector will not find pro-
fitable to solve. The USDA land-grant colleges of agri-
culture, as part of the ARE, constitute a large, effective
resource base for PS and SM research not currently
matched or duplicated elsewhere.

The Private Sector Role in
Agricultural and Food Research
The private sector is playing an increasingly impor-
tant role in PS and SM research. It is also finding it
advantageous to engage in some DISC research to sup-
port its PS and SM research programs. This is a healthy
development that should be encouraged. Though much
socially desirable research will not be done by the private
sector, agriculture can use more research resources,
private and public, with returns in excess of costs. Full
development of the research potential of the private
sector will free the public sector ARE to use its resources
to accomplish objectives not privately but still socially

Research Priorities for Disciplinary Research
Some priority has been given to the disciplines sup-
porting the plant sciences, including cellular biology, cell
microbiology, genetics, plant pathology, etc. In absolute
terms, the emphasis is probably not misplaced. DISC
research in support of PS and SM research in soil science,
food science, the animal sciences, agricultural engineer-
ing, institutional change, human development and
capital growth have all been relatively neglected,
however, and need increased support.

Achieving a Balance Between
Problem-Solving and Subject-Matter
Research, and Disciplinary Research
Present levels of funding for agricultural research in
the United States provide modest support for PS and SM
research and less support for the necessary undergirding

DISC research. The problem cannot be solved by
reallocating research resources from PS and SM research
to DISC research. Such a reallocation would reduce PS
and SM research to disastrously low levels. The answer
has to lie in increased and balanced support for all.

Disciplinary Research
Both Within and Outside the
Agricultural Research Establishment
We need DISC research relevant to agriculture that
supports PS and SM research in the agricultural and food
systems. Conduct of DISC research should be both
within the ARE's agencies and departments, which
know the needs of agriculture and have the facilities and
competencies for DISC research, and outside the ARE
in institutions, departments and agencies, which also
have substantial facilities and capabilities for doing
DISC research of importance to agriculture (National
Academy of Sciences, 1983b).

Part IV

What Is Required?

The United States should have the capacity to double
agricultural production by 2030. This capacity will be
required because of trends and uncertainties about U.S.
and world population levels, rising affluency of people
both at home and abroad and demands for improved
diets, U.S. foreign exchange needs to buy fossil fuels and
other inputs, the need for an increase in the competitive
position of U.S. agricultural products in world markets,
a decrease in availability of petroleum as a source of fuel
and industrial feedstocks and the possible need to replace
them with agricultural products, and possible interna-
tional conflicts.
The authors attached substantial value to safety
margins in agricultural productive capacity in develop-
ing the recommended levels and sequences of funding
for research. There is no certainty that U.S. and world
agriculture will have access to adequate fossil energy
resources for the next 50 years. There is similar uncer-
tainty about the possibilities of exploiting solar and
nuclear fusion energy. Serious environmental problems
and water shortages for irrigation may accompany ex-
panded reliance on coal and oil-shale gasification and

Of particular importance is our lack of knowledge and
-uncertainties about war, peace, the conquests of natural
resources by the various powers of the world, and
natural but calamitous events such as droughts, floods,
earthquakes, volcanoes and climate changes. Further,
substantial military or political change could drastical-
ly affect our need for agricultural products.
Doubling our productive capacity by 2030 implies that
our target should be a 50 to 60 percent increase in capaci-
ty to produce by 2010 and 100 percent by 2030 A.D.
(Fig. 1, p. 1). Our target translates into a capacity to
increase yields by 50 percent, cropped acreage by 10 per-
cent and intensity of cropping by 10 percent by 2010
A.D. This calls for average national yields of 150
bushels/acre for corn, 50 for wheat, 40 for soybeans,
more than 500 bushels/acre for potatoes and 75 for grain

sorghum, with other crop yields increasing propor-
tionately by 2010. It also means increased capacity to
make private investments to produce crops and improv-
ed forages on lands now largely in unimproved pastures
and to keep a higher proportion of land cropped in grain,
vegetables and fruits than we do now. Such capacity im-
plies the ability to more than double the amount of skill-
ed labor now used in agriculture. If the productive
capacity we advocate were actually used, unskilled labor
would be eliminated except for part-time and hobby far-
ming, which could be regarded as recreational. The use
of fossil energy would not have to be increased and might
be decreased. Extra capacity to produce grain would
make grain available for exports to pay for fossil fuels
or for use as industrial feedstocks.
A 60 percent increase in yields in 30 years is possible
from a combination of traditional and modern biological
methods and technologies (discussed under DISC and
SM research in the departments of land-grant colleges,
other institutions and the USDA).
Beyond 2010, Fig. 2 plots concomitant, correspond-
ing, feasible, reasonable and safe targets for the year
2030 in terms of yields, capacity to produce, acreages
and cropping intensity. To do this, current research pro-
grams must be expanded to the year 2010 to produce
the DISC research for conversion into "high-tech"
biophysical capital, improved institutions and human
skills to come "on line" between 2010 and 2030. Addi-
tional research will be needed in the disciplines supply-
ing PS and SM research on livestock, soils and
agricultural engineering-these are now neglected in
favor of DISC research in support of the plant sciences.

Increasing attention will have to be given to social
science research and ecological impacts. Side effects of
new technologies, both good and bad, will occur, and
some will require regulation. To shape the influence of
technological advance on the structure of our society,
we must increase the research base for the social sciences.
We need better theory and more empirical knowledge

to improve our rural institutions and people. This should
be done in the 1980-2010 period to be prepared for the
rapid changes in technology that will take place in U.S.
agriculture during 2010-2030.
The productivity targets outlined above for the years
2010 and 2030 are not attainable with present levels of
funding. If the present financial resources are directed
to PS and SM research support, it is our judgment that
DISC research beginning in the 1990s will be inadequate
and that the levels of productive capacity we target for
2010 and 2030 cannot be met. Alternatively, if funds are
diverted from PS and SM research from 1984 to 2000
to do the necessary DISC research, then the PS and SM
research required for the 2010 targets will be neglected.
The difficulty is further confounded by the inevitable
increase in funding required for maintenance research
that accompanies high levels of productivity.
Fig. 3 presents the consequences of present levels of
funding until 2030. "Present funding levels" means keep-
ing pace with inflation as a percentage of the value of
agricultural output. Thus, over a 50-year period, we an-

Figure 2.

ticipate that funding, in real dollars, would increase 60
percent as we project a 60 percent increase in the capaci-
ty of agriculture to produce. This also implies some
reallocation of research funds from the biological and
physical sciences for institutional changes and im-
provements of human capital. This is considered neces-
sary to generate, distribute and use the technologies
created. Public funding cannot be completely and
advantageously replaced by private funding.

Fig. 3 shows only a 60 percent increase in potential
agricultural output over the next 50 years and a 36 per-
cent increase for the next 30 years. The rate of increase
may be greater in the first 30 than in the last 20 years
of the next half-century because funding levels for sup-
porting DISC research will be increasingly inadequate.
Both Figs. 2 and 3 indicate a 35 percent increase in
population over the 50-year period and a 16 percent in-
crease in land used for the production of crops and im-
proved roughages. Inadequate funding for soil
maintenance and erosion control research, however,
may push the land area upward because of greater losses.


10% Increase per Year


2010 2020


Maintained at 1994 levels in Real Dollars and as
a Proportion of the Value of Agricultural Output

Agricultural Research Establishment (ARE) Funding

Six-fold Increase
in 1985

Maintained in Real Dollars and as a Proportion
of the Value of Agricultural Output

Competitive Grants Funding for Use Outside as well as Inside ARE

Projections for Recommended Levels of Agricultural Research
Funding for Technological and Necessary Accompanying Im-
provements in Institutions and Human Skills, U.S., 1980-2030


150 -

100 La

, 200


.. 135





The present funding scenario presumes a 40 percent in-
crease in yields by 2030. It will also involve the near
elimination of stoop labor from agriculture but not as
large an expansion in the use of skilled labor as in
Fig. 2. Similarly, less financial capital and energy will
be required. This scenario also makes much less grain
potentially available for use as an industrial feedstock
and for the manufacture of fuels.
To achieve what we have targeted for the next 50
years will require the attainment of certain research ob-
jectives, expanded funding, more personnel and restruc-
turing of agricultural research both within and outside
the ARE. First are given the research and objectives;
secondly, the required funding, personnel and restruc-
turing to increase agricultural productivity 60 percent
by 2010 and 100 percent by 2030.

Research Objectives

Increases in Yields
The target for corn is an increase in the potential com-
mercial yield of about 2 percent per year. It will be more
difficult to increase commercial yields of grain sorghum,
oats, barley and wheat, primarily because these crops

Figure 3. Projections for Present Le
for Technological Advance
provements in Institutions

200 ----------------_ --------------i ----

1 150

compete poorly with corn and soybeans for use of the
best land. Thus, smaller percentage increases are
targeted. A 25 percent increase in potential commercial
soybean yields is projected for 2010 and a 66 percent in-
crease by 2030. Increased funding for research in the
biophysical disciplines outlined in Part III will result in
technologies, beginning in the late 1990s, to enhance
both the stability and the magnitude of agricultural pro-
duction. The additional funding for DISC biological
research will also result in greater productivity of feeds
for producing dairy, pork, poultry and beef products.

Labor-Saving Technology
The projections reflect increasing real wage rates over
the next 50 years. Farmers should expect to participate
in the increased prosperity. This means more mechanical
technology to replace low-paid, unskilled labor in com-
mercial agriculture and to do new things to improve the
quality of farm products and marketing services. The
development of mechanical technology should not be
curtailed (as some have recently advocated) with the aim
of preserving agriculture as it once existed or now exists.
There will also be a severalfold increase by 2030 in the
use of the higher paid skilled labor required to handle
complex agricultural technologies. Many of these skilled

vels of Agricultural Research Funding
and Necessary Accompanying Im-
and Human Skills, U.S., 1980-2030

1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030
Agricultural Research
Establishment (ARE) Funding Both at 1983 levels maintained in real dollars and as a proportion of the
Competitive Grants Funding value of agricultural output
for Use Outside as well as
Inside ARE

laborers will be women as computers and machines with
automatic controls and sensors become available and
make physical strength less essential. Agricultural pro-
duction, marketing and the agribusiness infrastructures
will depend increasingly on mechanization, some of
which will replace less-skilled labor. Other machines will
perform new functions. All will require more highly
skilled labor.

Fossil Energy
It is projected that fossil energy will become scarcer
and more expensive. The importance of agricultural pro-
duction will prompt development of technologies to con-
serve fossil energy and reduce the importation of fossil
fuels. The possible use of biomass from agriculture as
fuels and feedstocks for both farm and non-farm sectors
will increase the importance of developing a greater pro-
ductive capacity.

Conservation and Soil-Enhancing Technology
The productive capacities projected rely on the abili-
ty to invest in the improvement of U.S. soils to enhance
as well as maintain land resources. Research during the
next 50 years should generate technologies to increase
opportunities to invest in and improve soils. Retarda-
tion of degradation and conservation of soils will not be
enough. We must move forward with soil-improving in-
vestments. Existing technologies, plus the new tillage,
management and cropping practices recommended
herein, will make it possible to farm the present acreage
plus 50 or 60 million additional acres without serious
soil loss or environmental degradation. We will also need
research to permit intensive cropping mixes, double-
cropping, and the shifting of more land to corn, soy-
beans, other grains and vegetables and fruits.

Water Resources
The research recommended herein will make it
possible to develop technologies to conserve water and
irrigate an additional 50 million acres in the next 50
years. Much of the additional irrigation should be sup-
plemental in humid areas, where water supplies are
more abundant and cheaper, rather than in desert coun-
try. Technologies to be developed will depend on both
public and private investments and on the demand for
farm products.

Institutional Change
The technological advances postulated are large. Dur-
ing the next 50 years, these advances will create a danger
that farm entrepreneurs will expand production more
rapidly than foreign and domestic markets can absorb
the output. The consequence would be low prices and/or
surpluses. Further, some of the technologies will favor

the development of adverse political, social and
economic structures in agriculture and agribusiness.
Such developments will make it necessary that PS, SM
and DISC research be done in the social sciences to guide
technological advance, investments in new technology
and structural change in agriculture and agribusiness
into socially desirable patterns.

Human Development
The higher levels of per capital income anticipated for
both the farm and non-farm sectors imply virtual elimi-
nation of stoop labor in agriculture during the next 50
years. There will, however, be a substantial increase in
the use of highly skilled farm workers, entrepreneurs,
civil servants, hired personnel, family members and
research scientists in both the public and private sectors
doing PS, SM and DISC research. All will need to be
trained to deal with new, complex and sometimes
dangerous technologies. Research on development of
human capital to handle the projected highly complex,
expanding and more productive agriculture will become
increasingly important.

Required Funding, Personnel
and Administrative Restructuring

Agricultural research will require considerable im-
provement in budgets, personnel and administrative
structures to meet the targets of production.

Budgetary Requirements
Our recommendations call for immediate strengthen-
ing of the ARE's research budget. This will ensure, first,
the necessary SM and PS research capacity to convert
DISC knowledge now on hand or soon to be developed
into technologies, institutions and the skilled human
resources needed in tho-e ne.xt 15 to 30 years; second, a
disciplinary capacity to produce supporting research for
changes in technology, institutions and human skills
needed in the next 15 to 50 years; and third, the
maintenance and expansion of our capacity to do PS,
SM and DISC research over the next 50 years.
Our funding recommendations are judgmental. They
are from our knowledge of DISC research relevant for
agriculture, the practical problems of agriculture, and
the issues and subjects important for agricultural ad-
vance. There is a general consistency of the budgetary
requirements projected here and those of White and
Havlicek (1982); Knutson and Tweeten (1979) and Lu,
Cline and Quance (1979). Had they built a quantitative
model to project budgetary needs, their judgments
would have been built into the model, and their model
would have projected requirements similar to those
recommended herein. It is likely that the agreement

among the recommendations and the estimates in the
three above studies with our own has its origin in a com-
monality of judgments.
Of all the public agricultural research organizations
or institutes, the only network that has been funded
beyond the pace of inflation during the past decade has
been the international agricultural research centers. This
has to be changed. The World Food and Nutrition Study
of the National Research Council of the U.S. Academy
of Sciences (1977) and those assembled at the interna-
tional conference "Crop Productivity-Research
Imperatives" (Brown, et al., 1975) concluded that
biological and physical science research is grossly under-
funded. Had that conference and study been designed
to examine the social sciences, they would have reveal-
ed even greater evidence of underfunding. Industrializ-
ed and developed nations-including the United States,
with its vast human, financial and natural resources-
can make great contributions to themselves and to the
agricultural development of Third World nations by fun-
ding well conceived relevant DISC research along with
SM research on multidisciplinary subjects and multi-
disciplinary PS research. The costs (investments) for do-
ing this are minor compared with the returns on invest-
ment in research and the real income that can be
generated (Evenson, et al., 1979; Ruttan, 1982).
Improvements in productivity are essential to main-
tain the competitive position of U.S. products in world
markets, but agricultural research should be directed to
more than production alone. Research is important for
improved efficiency and farm profitability, depend-
ability of outputs, improved competitiveness on inter-
national markets, conservation and efficiency in utiliza-
tion of resources, food safety and improved nutritional
quality. Social research will be required to develop in-
stitutions for controlling overuse of technology and con-
sequent adverse pressure on prices or, with price sup-
ports, the accumulation of government-held surplus
stocks (Johnson and Quance, 1972).
The demonstrated returns on investments in
agricultural research (Evenson, et al., 1979) make it dif-
ficult to understand why only 2 percent of the federal
research and development budget in the United States
goes for support of all food and agricultural research and
education. It is equally disturbing that less than 2 per-
cent of the current budget of the USDA goes for all
research and educational programs. The contributions
from the states about equal that of the federal system.
The total approaches about $1.5 billion. Though this is
more than doubled when the investments and expendi-
tures of the private sector are counted, the total is low
compared with gross farm income, estimated at $177
billion to $181 billion for 1984, and the contribution of
food, beverages, clothing and shoes to GNP, totaling
around $550 billion in 1983. The expenditures we recom-

mend for agricultural research are modest relative to the
contributions of farming and agribusiness to society.
The competitive grant program sponsored and admin-
istered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture needs
more emphasis. The current program, in its sixth year,
is at a lower level of funding, in terms of real dollars,
than when it was initiated. The National Academy of
Sciences World Food and Nutrition Study (1977) recom-
mended the establishment of such a program to support
high-priority, mission-oriented, DISC (basic) research
on the enhancement of food production. It called for a
first-year level of $60 million, with increases of 10 per-
cent per year in real terms for a total of five years. The
program was established in 1978, but at $15 million
rather than the recommended $60 million, with $5
million designated for research in human nutrition.
Specific funded programs for support of relevant DISC
research in the plant sciences relating to enhancement
of food production include plant breeding and genetic
manipulation, photosynthesis, biological nitrogen fixa-
tion, and greater resistance to biological stresses. Work
on greater resilience to environmental stresses, which is
important for improved stability in production, has not
been funded. Animal agriculture has received minimal
support while the social sciences and agricultural
engineering are completely neglected. Also, the program
emphasizes DISC research to the neglect of multi-
disciplinary PS and SM research. Much of the latter is
as important as DISC research and must be done.

The competitive grant program in the Department of
Agriculture should be at least doubled within the next
year and increased within five years to at least $75
million and preferably $100 million per year in 1983
Support from agricultural clientele groups for com-
petitive grants would be easier to mobilize if the pro-
gram included PS and SM research. Without such sup-
port, the competitive grants program is suffering slow
attrition from inflation. The USDA should use the
substantial competitive grant funding recommended
above to support high priority DISC research relating
to enhancing and stabilizing crop, livestock and food
production, agricultural engineering, human nutrition
and the rural social sciences, and for competitive grants
for PS and SM research. Without the funding recom-
mended for competitive grants, research personnel will
continue to migrate to other agencies and to the private
For obvious reasons, Congress favors special grants for
PS and SM research rather than competitive grants for
DISC research. The competitive grants program was in-
itiated by the White House, and its clients are now the
disciplinary biological and physical scientists who com-
mand few votes compared with farmers, rural residents,

agribusiness people and consumers. Congress continues
to provide special grants to serve its voting constituen-
cies. Including PS and SM research in the competitive
grants program would help provide clientele support in
the Congress and open the door for disciplinarians out-
side the ARE to make practical and relevant contri-
butions to agricultural research.
More of the available talent could then be recruited
into better financed agricultural research programs.
Fewer than half of the proposals rated as excellent in
the USDA Competitive Grants Program can now be
funded. Thus, there is an opportunity at the federal level
for research administrators and Congress to reassert
leadership in relevant DISC research across the
biological, physical and social sciences in the ARE. it
is not consistent with true national interest to deny
agriculture and food research programs the talents of
some of the very best young scientists outside of the ARE.
We need financing to open the doors of agriculture and
food research to all of the nation's scientific expertise.
Such support would sharpen the cutting edges of future
technological, institutional and human advances for in-
creasing yields, stabilizing both production and
marketing, and increasing the capacity to produce all
major crops, livestock and forest products through 2030.
Funding of agricultural research also involves the
expense of maintaining and replacing the flocks, herds,
computers, software, buildings, barns, feed, milking
parlors, field stations, land, orchards, crops, irrigation
facilities, greenhouses and growth chambers of the ARE.
Much of the Hatch formula money traditionally
allocated for agricultural research goes into maintain-
ing these so they are available and ready for PS and SM
research, and for much DISC research as well. Some
critics say that formula funds for support of agricultural
research are inefficient compared with the competitive
grant programs of the NSF and NIH when applied to
food and agriculture. NSF or NIH competitive grant
funds now go mainly for DISC research, which requires
fewer and less costly facilities than PS and SM research.
The need for modern and expanded agricultural research
facilities would increase substantially if competitive
grants were made available for PS and SM research.
When the ARE's facilities are used for competitive grant
projects, indirect charges from competitive grant fund-
ing do not pay for maintenance, replacement and opera-
tion of agricultural facilities.
There should be a 10 percent per year increase above
inflation from all sources for the support of PS, SM and
DISC research in the ARE until the real budget is
trebled. Research needs to be given higher priority in
the USDA. Though the USDA has a 1983 budget ap-
proximating $50 billion, scarcely 2 percent of that
budget is expended for research and extension programs.
Still more aggressive leadership in gaining support for

research is needed from the U.S. Department of Agri-
culture and Congress, wherein primary responsibility
resides. Without such leadership, it is unlikely that much
progress in improving federal-level budgetary support
for food and agricultural research will be made. The last
two budget years, in which the research budget of the
USDA has been slightly increased, have given some en-
couragement but far more is suggested.
Agricultural research in the state Agricultural Experi-
ment Stations is slowing down because facilities-
laboratories, greenhouses, barns and equipment-are
wearing out and becoming obsolete. There has been no
federal support for their upgrading in 16 years.

Personnel Requirements
At present funding levels, serious personnel shortages
exist in the ARE and in the private agribusiness sector.
'The shortages are for DISC, PS and SM (or R&D) scien-
tists and for social as well as biological and physical
scientists. If adopted, the research targets specified
herein will make this shortage even more acute in the
decades ahead unless we train and motivate more bright
young scientists to enter the agricultural research system.
A related item of concern is the increasing seniority
of scientists in both the federal system and the state
Agricultural Experiment Stations. The average age of .
agricultural scientists in the federal system (48) is well
above that of all other scientists (44). The gap continues
to widen because of failures to attract young scientists
in the federal system.
The Cooperative State Research Service is slowly
disappearing as an effective unit, as a result of budget
cuts, retirements and slashes in personnel. This unit in
the USDA plays a key role in the partnership between
the federal system and the states, and it should be
retained. Retirees from this organization should be
replaced by some of the brightest young scientists out-
side the system. To attract these scientists, recruitment
incentives-social, economic, political-must be
Two major scientific frontiers-computer technol-
ogies and genetic engineering-have emerged recently
with far-reaching implications for agricultural
research-PS, SM and DISC. We are now in the midst
of the greatest biological revolution of all times and
witnessing major advances in cellular and molecular
biology and significant improvements in plant tissue
culture. Globally, no less than 350 firms, ranging from
large multinational to small venture capital units, have
entered the biotechnology field in less than five years.
It is estimated that there are 175 such firms in the United
States alone. Almost all major seed companies in the
United States have been absorbed by, become integrated
with or have merged with biotechnology corporations,

chemical, petroleum or pharmaceutical companies. The
effects of the above on the needed human resources for
biological agricultural research are both far-reaching
and challenging. A brain drain on publicly supported
institutions for cellular and molecular biologists was in-
itiated in 1979 and has continued. This migration of
human resources from the public to the private sector
poses the question of who will train the future
agricultural, biological and social scientists and conduct
graduate training programs for advanced degrees in the
agricultural sciences. Will enough DISC researchers re-
main in the public sector with the current swing toward
the private sector, fueled by tax write-offs and hopes of
early profits in the sale of potential seeds, crop varieties,
microorganisms, products of microbial transformations
and vaccines?
In genetic engineering, the unfortunate gap between
DISC and PS research may be in the process of being
bridged. Some results are finding immediate application.
We may no longer (if we ever really could) separate
fundamental biological scientists from practical PS and
SM researchers. Biologists in the academic arena, as well
as in the private sector, are now active in industrializa-
tion and commercialization of their research and profit
from it. Where will their loyalty be in the future? As
research gains in complexity, the goal may become more
one of private profit than of the public interest. Recent
acquisitions of seed companies by chemical companies
are already beginning to provide in-place breeding,
reproduction, crop production, crop protection and
market distribution networks. If this happens, who will
research socially desirable but privately unprofitable
technology and the socially undesirable aspects of
privately profitable technology?
This situation bears watching because there is always
a public as well as a private interest. Government con-
trols the structure of society within which the private
sector operates. The results of biological and physical
science research should not be permitted to restructure
society unbridled and undisciplined. The possible im-
pacts of changing technologies in the biological sciences
are important. The results of social and humanistic
research should be in place to guide governmental
policies. Consequently, more social scientists are needed
to do agricultural research.
Other important personnel issues now face the ARE.
The first is that state Agricultural Experiment Stations
are still the main source of financial support for ad-
vanced degrees in the agricultural sciences. They pro-
vide graduate research assistantships, jobs as technicians
and postdoctorals in the physical, biological and social
sciences. The agricultural scientists trained in this system
constitute most of the scientific expertise in the United
States and a significant proportion of that in the rest
of the world. These scientists are found in the U.S.

Department of Agriculture, the USAID, the private sec-
tor, the foundations, the international agricultural
research centers, the land-grant universities and other
universities, as well as many federal agencies, including
the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of
Health, Environmental Protection Agency, National
Aeronautics and Space Administration, U.S. Depart-
ment of the Interior, the Department of Energy and the
Department of Commerce.

Approximately nine out of 10 agricultural scientists
in the nation were trained in the land-grant university
system. This significant contribution of state Agricultural
Experiment Stations is, for the most part, an unherald-
ed and not fully recognized or appreciated input of far-
reaching significance. Though there are some problems
associated with such a majority coming from similar en-
vironments, the timely message is that current budgetary
constraints faced by state Agricultural Experiment Sta-
tions is significantly reducing the number of graduate
research assistantships, technicians, scholarships for
undergraduate students and postdoctoral fellowships for
future agricultural researchers. These terminal appoint-
ments are the first to be eliminated in managing cut-
backs (Wittwer, 1983). Thirty-one states have recently
imposed severe budget reductions, and federal support
is hardly keeping pace with inflation.

The long-range implication of the above is that
replacement scientists (Ph.D., M.S. and B.S. levels) will
be in short supply in many areas, including integrated
pest management, marketing, agribusiness, veterinary
toxicology, institutional development, human resource
development and public resource management. Projec-
tions are that overall annual demand for college
graduates with expertise in the food and agricultural
sciences will exceed the available supply at present
salaries by 13 percent during the 1980s. In some
categories, the supply constraint will be far more severe.
At current salaries, the demand for food manufactur-
ing and processing scientists and engineers exceeds supply
by 18 percent, and demand for agricultural admini-
strators, managers and financial advisers exceeds the
supply by 30 percent (National Association of State
Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, 1983).

Serious consideration should be given to additional
training grants in the agricultural sciences for the land-
grant colleges and for educational units outside the land-
grant system. Very limited programs were initiated in
1982 by the Agricultural Research Service and the
Economic Research Service. These programs identify
highly talented young biological, social and physical
agricultural scientists and subsidize their education,
beginning with undergraduate degrees, with the com-
mitment that those trained will stay with the system.
This is to be highly encouraged. Other programs are also

needed to provide training grants to support bright
young people entering the ARE.

A vastly expanded, competitive, postdoctoral
fellowship program should also be initiated by the USDA
to support outstanding scientists with advanced train-
ing. Monetary and other incentives should be provided
to encourage participation of biophysical and social
scientists in agricultural research.

The private sector should also financially support
graduate training for advanced degrees in the
agricultural sciences, because it has made significant
recruitments of outstanding scientists in recent years.
This is especially true of chemical companies,
biotechnology corporations and pharmaceutical com-
panies in the areas of agriculture, genetics and plant
breeding, and genetic engineering. Nevertheless, the
major source of funding for training grants in the agri-
cultural sciences should remain with the public sector.
It is unlikely that private corporations will provide
substantial long-term support for disciplinary training
of students in the sciences essential for the advancement
of agriculture in the decades ahead.

Of crucial importance is the current reduction in sup-
port for rural social science research. This reduces the
experience and training of young rural social scientists.
Throughout this report it has been clear that PS and SM
research-including the setting of science policy and
research priorities and the evaluation of projects-are
multidisciplinary and should involve rural social scien-
tists. This special need is in addition to the need for social
scientists to do research not specifically related to the
generation and utilization of technological advance in
agriculture. The structure and value of agricultural and
of rural life may be conditioned more by the research
of social scientists on agricultural institutions, human
development and the accumulation of capital than by
improvements in biophysical technologies. As already
mentioned, a deficiency of the World Food and Nutri-
tion Study (1977) was its failure to recommend substan-
tial financial support for research in the social sciences
related to food production and human nutrition. That
report appears to have had an adverse impact, as re-
flected by the current reduction in federal support of
social science research (Zuiches, 1983). Fortunately, the
work of rural social scientists in the USDA has not suf-
fered as much in federal budget cuts as have non-rural
social scientists. Nonetheless, the rural social sciences are
under heavy budget pressure (USGAO, 1983). This
report makes the case for additional support for the rural
social sciences only as they relate to technological
advances. Unfortunately, the case for rural social scien-
tists working primarily in their own area was not made
strongly in the RFF/USDA/Joint Council exercise, of
which this report was but a single contribution.

One should consider, also, special needs that have
emerged for PS research. A specific example is crop pro-
tection. Current needs are not being filled successfully
by either the professors at universities, the extension
specialists or county extension directors. A new genera-
tion of scientists is needed for work on PS and SM
research that is now being neglected on the agricultural
There is a shortage of trained scientists to focus on
problems of livestock health. The NIH and the NSF have
attracted many of the most talented veterinary medical
scientists to work on human health problems by pro-
viding funds for postdoctoral and graduate training.
Many of these investigators would prefer to concentrate
on animal disease problems relevant to agriculture, but
there is no funding. A strategy for the U.S. Department
of Agriculture, and an important step forward, would
be to commit funds immediately to support doctoral and
postdoctoral training of scientists who have potential to
contribute to research in animal health. This should
bring the talents of some of our brightest young
graduates in the biological sciences and veterinary
medicine to bear on important animal disease problems.
It would also serve to redirect some of the efforts of senior
Ph.D. scientists who are currently working on human
health problems.

The current highly targeted assignment of research
funds to work on specific diseases discourages applica-
tion from some scientists with different approaches to
pathogenesis. A broader approach to the study of animal
diseases is needed.
The personnel problems for future international
agricultural research and development programs are
particularly crucial (National Academy of Sciences,
1982a). There are three areas of concern that relate to
human resources. The first is the increasing demands the
United States will face, both at home and abroad, to
train and aid agricultural scientists. The 15 top land-
grant universities with enrollments of 100 or more
foreign graduate students now have 20,000 alumni
meeting food and agricultural research and educational
needs in developing countries. Many of the more than
600 senior scientists in the international agricultural
research center networks are alumni of the U.S. land-
grant system. The growing demand for such scientists
mandates a review of the entire training program and
raises the serious question of where future international
agriculturists will come from (Wharton, 1981; Johnson,
Equally serious is the age status of those in U.S.
universities who have established careers in international
agricultural development. Most are approaching retire-
ment. Who will take their places? Some institutions have
training programs for Cooperative Extension Service

staff members to increase their future capacity to con-
tribute to food production in developing countries. But
what of research and academic programs?
A final point concerning personnel for international
agricultural development involves women. International
agricultural development programs and their admini-
stration are still a man's world. How many U.S. univer-
sity directors of international agricultural development
programs are women? Women play a major role in food
production in developing countries and a dominant role
in food purchase and preparation. They have important
contributions to make as researchers, resident teachers
and extension workers, and the importance of these roles
will increase in the decades ahead.

Administrative Requirements
The administrative requirements for agricultural
research are now changing drastically. Important
changes in administrative needs are taking place both
within and outside of the ARE and all along the spec-
trum running from PS through SM to DISC research.
At the practical, problem-solving end, the private sector
is playing an increasingly important role as agriculture
shifts more to inputs produced by the non-farm sector.
At the DISC research end of the spectrum, the tradi-
tional academic disciplines located both inside and out-
side of the colleges of agriculture in the land-grant
universities and also in non-land-grant universities are
of increasing significance. The private sector also con-
ducts increasing amounts of DISC research of obvious
relevance to their sales and profits. The general ad-
ministrative requirement is one of reorganizing the
USDA and colleges of agriculture to utilize more fully
their capacities and facilities. The ARE should turn over
to the private sector those things that the private sector
can do better and enlist the support of those outside of
colleges of agriculture who can do DISC research rele-
vant to the solution of problems in agriculture. This
would permit the ARE to more fully utilize the impor-
tant comparative advantages and resources it has within
itself, while taking full advantage of outside research
Coordination with the private sector and with basic
academic disciplines should complement the high com-
parative advantage that the USDA/ land-grant college
of agriculture partnership already has in PS and SM
research. This comparative advantage of the USDA/
land-grant system is based on extensive facilities-land,
buildings, flocks and herds, laboratories, experimental
field stations and substations-widely dispersed
throughout the nation to permit research in times, at
places and under conditions specific to the solution of
agricultural and food problems faced by farmers, con-
sumers, agribusinesses and government. The
Cooperative Extension Service serves as a sort of feed-

back mechanism that helps college of agriculture per-
sonnel stay current with the ever-changing problems
faced by farmers.
No research system other than that of the USDA/land-
grant university partnership has such endowments,
facilities and contacts for PS and SM research. The con-
tinued successful administration of this system is essen-
tial for the PS and SM research required if agriculture
is to have the capacity to produce as targeted for the next
50 years. This research system should not be allowed to
erode in the mistaken belief that academic researchers
outside the USDA/state Agricultural Experiment Station
system and the more applied researchers in the private
sector can do all of the necessary PS and SM research.

PS research in the state Agricultural Experiment Sta-
tions and in the USDA is supplemented, at the state level,
by the state Cooperative Extension Services, which
maintain contact with people and agencies facing prac-
tical agricultural and food problems. The Cooperative
Extension Services also do considerable PS research
under the labels of "demonstrations" or "extension
The private sector also makes important contributions
in PS research. There is a growing trend for corpora-
tions to fund DISC research relevant to their interests
in food and agriculture. Though this is helpful, commit-
ment to long-term efforts.and to those not foreseen as
profitable is lacking. The emphasis in the private sector
is on profit, which means in the short run if interest rates
are high. Both the agribusinesses that market agri-
cultural products and those that supply agricultural in-
puts address problems that can be solved in a manner
mutually beneficial to themselves and farmers. Ad-
ministrators of the agricultural research and extension
establishments should exploit the complementarities
among practical PS research, extension activities and
private sector contributions.

At the other end of the research spectrum, however,
several problems have arisen that have not yet been ad-
ministratively resolved. As DISC research has increased
in relative importance with the increased complexity of
agricultural technology and problems, the experiment
stations have not been able to obtain or maintain the
human and financial resources necessary to do the need-
ed DISC research. Moreover, it has not been easy and
may not be wise for experiment station directors to divert
resources away from PS and SM research to DISC
research. Such a course could destroy the political sup-
port from the agricultural clientele of the USDA/land-
grant system. This danger is exacerbated by attempts of
DISC researchers outside USDA/land-grant system to
obtain support for research relevant to agriculture at the
expense of PS and SM research in the USDA/land-grant
system. The disciplinarians in the other colleges and

departments and in the National Science Foundation
(NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) seek to
divert PS and SM money from the agricultural establish-
ment by promising greater returns for the investments.
It would be difficult to prove or disprove the proposi-
tion that DISC research yields greater returns than PS
and SM research because of the complementarities
among the three types, each of which is necessary but
insufficient alone. If one necessary research component
is neglected, the output of the entire agricultural research
establishment is diminished.

NSF and NIH support is oriented primarily toward
DISC research. These agencies are not aware of the im-
portance of, do not pay sufficient attention to and do
not exploit the complementarities between PS and SM
research in the colleges of agriculture, on one hand, and
the DISC research outside of colleges of agriculture in
both land-grant and non-land-grant universities.
Attempts to finance relevant DISC agricultural research
outside colleges of agriculture with competitive grants
must face the administrative problem of coordinating
DISC research, on one hand, with PS and SM research,
on the other. Multidisciplinary PS and SM research ef-
forts are too large and encompassing to qualify for most
competitive grants as the grants are now administered.
Furthermore, such projects are usually looked upon with
disfavor by the judges for competitive grants because of
the disciplinary orientation of the evaluators. Still
further, failure to fund competitive grants for social
science research has created a void in the social science
dimensions essential for all PS and most SM research.
Agricultural science policy and agricultural research
budgets lack a nationally articulated effort. Numerous
models from diverse sources have been used for assess-
ing and arriving at agricultural research priorities. Con-
ferences, working groups, National Research Council
studies and reports, detailed planning and projection ex-
ercises of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service and
its national program staff, state Agricultural Experiment
Station directors and their Experiment Station Commit-
tee on Policy, regional experiment station directors, the
Joint Council, the Users Group, commissioned papers,
and inputs from a variety of commodity and special-
interest groups have been tried and are all a part of the
process. The effectiveness of these efforts is often de-
creased when it appears that they are designed to pro-
mote certain disciplines and certain kinds of SM research
and agencies to the detriment of a balanced approach
to overall needs. There is a continuing lack of coordina-
tion and focus on overall needs. Further, the agenda of
priorities arising from the agricultural research establish-
ment is usually so immense, cumbersome and obvious-
ly self-serving that it discourages those in management
and budget. It is important for constructive action that
much more discrimination be used in priority setting.

Requests for across-the-board increases-the usual
agenda to keep each of the disciplines or departments
happy-are not convincing to either offices of manage-
ment and budget or to congressional or legislative
appropriation committees. Such requests to appropria-
tion committees appear to be a defense of the agri-
cultural research bureaucracy rather than an earnest,
honest effort to solve problems. Who will have the
courage to tell those in disfavored areas that their work
is no longer necessary or is to be de-emphasized? The
further credibility of agricultural research can be
established only if its administrative leadership will
assume this difficult task. This is a challenge that
agricultural researchers and administrators have not
faced up to. Meanwhile, others outside the agricultural
establishment are having major inputs and are begin-
ning to control the system, often to the detriment of both
the nation and its agriculture.

Two crucial questions are: who controls U.S. agri-
cultural research policy, and who are the decision
makers supporting agricultural, food and nutrition
research? As indicated, the agricultural establishment
has the state Agricultural Experiment Station directors
and their regional directors and the Experiment Station
Committee on Policy. The Joint Council, with research
and extension inputs from the state Agricultural Experi-
ment Stations and the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
and the Users Group spend much time planning, pro-
graming and establishing priorities for agricultural
research and until now have very little to show for it.
The Joint Council seems to be gaining in credibility and
acceptance with the USDA, the land-grant system and
key congressional committees.

There are groups, both above and below and exter-
nal to the ARE, that profoundly affect agricultural
research. Many external forces or advocacy groups in-
fluence budget allocations, even down to the project
level, through powers exercised by congressional sub-
committees. So far these forces are in the minority. They
do, however, affect the flexibility of the ARE in adher-
ing to priorities established by users, scientists and ad-
ministrators in their research and extension roles.

Above the ARE is also another layer that consists of
a potentially crucial set of decision makers. The tragedy
is that there is little communication between the ARE
and these decision makers-the groups do not know each
other well, and the upper layer knows more about
disciplines than agriculture. Policy on DISC research
relevant for agriculture is partially determined by about
25 people who reappear in almost every decision-making
body (Wittwer, 1980). In this upper policy cadre for
research, there is little or no representation from those
concerned with PS and SM research for the traditional
food and agricultural production, marketing and

governmental sectors. It is important to correct this

A typical example of the way the agricultural research
community of the land-grant system absents itself from
the total scientific establishment is its lack of participa-
tion, interest in and attendance at the annual meetings
of the American Association for the Advancement of
Science (AAAS). These are the most prestigious of the
science meetings in the nation and they receive the best
press coverage. Yet the agricultural meetings in Section
0, where questions affecting the survival of the ARE are
discussed, are poorly attended by administrators and
scientists from the ARE. This has not changed in 20 years
and is a severe indictment of the agricultural research
community, both private and public. The entire agri-
cultural research community appears satisfied to pro-
mote its own diverse professional activities at annual
meetings for its own professionals, where there is little
if any press coverage, and where they are isolated from
the remainder of the scientific community and the public
they are designated to serve. Consortia of professional
agricultural societies have been formed, but these have
little decision-making impact. They are viewed by those
outside the system as advocacy groups promoting only
their special interests.

Agricultural scientists and administrators have to
assume some responsibility for this lack of contact with
those who advertently or inadvertently chart much of
the path of disciplinary research in agricultural and food
research and development in the nation. There is much
truth in the statement by Jean and Andre Mayer (1973)
that agriculture is an empire unto itself, with little con-

tact with the rest of the scientific community, even
within land-grant universities.
To make that contact and bridge the gap is not easy.
Improved communications are needed with the non-
land-grant universities and colleges, the National
Research Council/National Academy of Sciences, the
National Science Foundation, the International Coun-
cil of Scientific Unions, the Overseas Development
Council, the International Institute for Applied Systems
Analysis, the Nutrition Foundation, the Office of
Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress, Resources
for the Future, World Watch, the Conservation Founda-
tion, the Brookings Institute, the Department of Energy,
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the
National Institutes of Health, and the International
Agricultural Research Centers, to name a few.
It is incumbent upon ARE personnel to establish con-
tact and active communication with key representatives
of the above groups. They should be invited and used
by the ARE as consultants, speakers and seminar par-
ticipants to acquaint them with the unique endowments
and research accomplishments associated with publicly
supported agricultural research at the state and federal
levels. In turn, agricultural researchers in the ARE must
also take the time, when invited, to serve as consultants
and to be active and aggressive participants on the com-
mittees, boards, workshops and conferences that exert
such a great influence on DISC research relevant for
agriculture. We must extend ourselves beyond the
classical and traditional agricultural research commu-
nity. This is increasingly important if the ARE is to make
a full and proper contribution to the increased produc-
tive capacity of U.S. agriculture in the next 50 years.


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