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President’s Council of Advisors Releases First Study on the Value of Agricultural Research, Declares U.S. ‘Undisputed World Leader’

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) today presented a report on the importance of USDA’s leadership in agricultural research. The Council is a diverse group of individuals appointed by the President from across the basic and applied scientific community to advise the President and the Executive Office of the President on key scientific issues.

Report to the President on Agricultural Preparedness & the Agriculture Research Enterprise, by the Council, concludes that the United States is the undisputed world leader in agricultural production today, but also cautions that U.S. agriculture also faces a number of challenges that are poised to become much more serious in the years ahead.

There is no question that the report recognizes American agriculture and USDA’s leadership in agricultural science and research as critical to the efforts to ensure greater food security and a better future for everyone.

Here at USDA, Research, Education, and Economics Under Secretary Dr. Catherine Woteki oversees a team of world class scientists, economists, statisticians, and support staff working to solve some of the biggest challenges facing us all – a changing climate, uncertain energy sources, rising childhood obesity rates, food insecurity around the globe – and making sure our solutions are safe and sustainable.

This new report, by an independent council of Presidentially-appointed experts, prioritizes the top scientific challenges facing agriculture and offers recommendations on how best to meet those challenges in the years ahead, with an emphasis on current practices within research universities and the USDA. USDA will carefully review the recommendations.

The full report can be viewed here.

One Response to “President’s Council of Advisors Releases First Study on the Value of Agricultural Research, Declares U.S. ‘Undisputed World Leader’”

  1. Doan Ngoc Ha, Vietnam says:

    Dear Prof. Dr. Catherine Woteki,

    I would like to apply for the Borlaug Fellowship Program and Scientific Exchanges Application in 2013.
    However, I donnot know any Professor in United State of America.
    Could you please give me a letter of recommendation or introduce me a proffessor in US?

    I would like to send to you may program proposal as bellow and hope that you can give me a letter of recommendation to apply for the Borlaug Fellowship Program and Scientific Exchanges in 2013.

    *Program proposal:
    1. Please describe what you hope to accomplish during your fellowship. How do your research interests and scientific background relate to the goals of your program proposal?
    According to the 1996 World Food Summit, “Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”
    Food and agricultural production plays an important role of economy in Vietnam and in the world. But Vietnam still lacks the capacity and opportunity for enhancing good agricultural productivity and food security and reduce the environmental pollution, athought local government and private sectors has taken several steps to strengthen capacities to respond to national requirements. This lack of capacity forms the serious constrains not only to protecting agricultural health and food safety but also to accessing major markets.
    In many past years, Vietnam conducted the national target program on food safety to promote controlling the food quality, sanitary and safety throughout the territory. Vietnam built the system of regulations and standards of food safety, and build of relative agencies from central to local levels.
    Almost every regulation implies some change in the production process and costs. In some case, this is accepted as a normal and unavoidable part of the conditions for market or export. In other cases, a new regulation may be seen as an unjustified barrier to trade aimed at protecting competing industries. It is very difficult to draw a precise line between protection and protectionism.
    In Quang Tri province- my home land- there are more than 75% households are participating in the production and business of food agricultural and aquatic products at the small- or medium-scale. However, almost households are facing with the issues of environmental pollution and a lack of clean water, flood/ typhoon and epidemic diseases (such as avian influenza H5N1, A H1N1, PRRS-diseases (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome), foot-and-mouth disease, acute diarrhea disease, food poisoning…). On the other hand, the recent surveys on nutritional issues and food safety highlights the insufficient support services, poor methods of food production and processing, limited access to credit/ technical information, low income, poverty and malnutrition (21% children under 5 year olds) that constitute major problems for local producers/ households.
    Therefore, the improvability of food security and reduce the damage of environmental pollution and agricultural greenhouse gas emissions is specially importance because poverty, malnutrition and food insecurity are the issues being faced by many households in Quang Tri. This also is a common problem in central region of Vietnam.
    This research is proposed to create an opportunity for developing the strategies and policies of enhancing food security in the region; applying the effective methods and measures to improve food security and reduce the environmental pollution or agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.
    The goal of research is to develop the effective measures assembled from different research teams working on identifying methods to increase the food security and reduce the agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.
    The specific objectives:
    1- Strengthening human and institutional/ regional capacities to conduct cost, benefit, risk assessment and analysis.
    2- Enhancing the capacity of private sectors to deal with SPS and food safety matters.
    3- Implying some change in the production process and costs through the technical assistance to help in determining the cost of implementing various standards and measures.
    Methodology: The research proposes to perform the contents as follow:
    - Assessment of the farming and food consumption patterns.
    - Problem analysis and discussions on food security and nutritious issues.
    - Action based on analysis and available analysis.
    - Selecting and performing the capacity building programs for both public and private sectors.
    My hope to accomplish during your fellowship is to study and develop the methods and steps to enhance food security.
    At same time, improving the scientific backgraound and research interesting based on the lessoins and pratices to perform successfully the goals of proposal.
    2. How will your participation in this program contribute to enhanced agricultural productivity and/or food security in your country?
    - Approaching the scientific knowledge and technical capacities of dealing with the SPS and food safety matters in public and private sectors.
    - Approaching the effective/ modern methods and measures to increase the food security and reduce the environmental pollution and agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.
    - Sellecting to apply the suitable scientific and technical approaches to enhance agricultural productivity and food security in my home land.
    - Studying and developing the bilateral relationships between the research institutions and local institutions.

    *Reaseach action plan:
    Project expected to be performed within 12 months as follows:

    - Changing and correcting the research proposal; Visit some reseach places: January 2013.
    - Collecting the relative literates and methods/ measures that increase the food security and reduce the environmental pollution: February 2013.
    - Studying and selecting the suitable methods of data gathering and data analysis: March 2013.
    - Collecting the data on the farming patterns and food security assembled from different research teams: April – May 2013.
    - Collecting the data on the farming and food consumption patterns and reduce the environmental pollution or agricultural greenhouse gas emissions: May – June 2013.
    - Assessment of the farming and food consumption patterns and food security: June – July 2013.

    - Collecting the data/ information on food security and nutritious issues assembled from different research teams: May – Aug. 2013.

    - Problem analysis and discussions on food security and nutritious issues: September 2013.

    - Selecting the capacity building programs performed from other research team: October 2013.
    - Studying and developing the effective measures assembled from different research teams working on identifying methods to increase the food security and reduce the agricultural greenhouse gas emissions: October – November 2013.
    - Summarizing learns from experiment and practices: November – December 2013.
    - Others: December 2013.

    Happy new year and thank you very much for your help.
    Your sincerely,
    Doan Ngoc Ha (Mr.)
    Section of food safety,
    Trieu Phong District People’s committee,
    Trieu Phong district, Quang Tri province,
    Vietnam.

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