Glenda Humiston, Vice President of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, recently spoke before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture. The purpose was to ensure the committee understands the value of agricultural research and innovation, along with the importance of the infrastructure itself.
“We’ve got studies showing that for every one dollar in federal investment, the public gains 20 or more dollars in return on that,” Humiston stated.
Investment of federal dollars in agricultural research has many positive effects on communities. “Access to safe affordable food, as well as natural resources management, farm to fork type of economic activity, it’s quite an amazing return on investment,” noted Humiston.
The past few years have seen a shift from federal government funding towards competitive grants. Humiston sighted the creation of the Foundation for Food and Ag Research in the last farm bill, as an example of the efficacy of competitive grants. The foundation received 200 million dollars from Congress, which was matched dollar-for-dollar by private sector funding.
The success of the foundation would not have happened so quickly had it not been for the existing research extension centers, agricultural experiment stations, and cooperative extension personnel. “You have to have that infrastructure in place. Otherwise, you can have all the competitive grants in the world you want but they’re not necessarily going to get you the end result you’re looking for,” Humiston said.
Listen to the interview below.