Research and development funding in the 2018 US Farm Bill

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Event Summary

On Monday at AEI, Vincent Smith and Philip Pardey presented their new report “Waste not, want not: Transactional politics, research and development funding, and the US Farm Bill.” The authors discussed research and development (R&D) funding in a broader farm bill context.

Farm bill dollars dedicated to food and agricultural R&D expand the overall size of the agricultural pie to benefit not only innovative farmers and agribusinesses but also taxpaying consumers who foot the bill. The authors explain how productivity growth induced by publicly funded R&D investments lowers costs of production and the price of food. They concluded by arguing that the economically sensible strategy is to cut back on wasteful farm bill spending and instead significantly increase funding for public investments in agricultural R&D.

–Isabelle Staff

Event Description

The share of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) spending directed to food and agricultural research and development (R&D) has fallen dramatically to less than 3 percent of the agency’s total budget in fiscal year 2017. As a consequence of these shifts in USDA spending priorities, the US has lost significant global R&D ground with large agricultural economies. In their newest report, Vincent H. Smith and Philip Pardey discuss transactional politics, R&D funding, and the US Farm Bill.

Join AEI for the latest installment of our Agricultural Policy in Disarray Series to learn more about the importance of R&D funding in the US Farm Bill.

Join the conversation on social media by following @AEI and @AEIecon on Twitter and Facebook.


8:15 AM

8:30 AM
Vincent H. Smith, AEI

8:35 AM
Panel discussion

Philip Pardey, University of Minnesota
Vincent H. Smith, AEI

9:05 AM

9:15 AM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Isabelle Staff at [email protected], 202.862.5885.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries or to register a camera crew, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829

Speaker Biographies

Philip Pardey is a professor and the director of the International Science and Technology Practice and Policy Center at University of Minnesota. He is also the director of Global Research Strategy for the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station. His research deals with the finance and conduct of research and development globally, methods for assessing the economic impacts of research, and the economic and policy (especially intellectual property) aspects of genetic resources and the biosciences.

Vincent H. Smith is professor of economics in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics at Montana State University and a visiting scholar at AEI, where he directs AEI’s agricultural policy research program. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from the University of Manchester and his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University. His current research program examines agricultural trade and domestic policy issues, with a particular focus on agricultural, domestic, and trade policy; risk management; agricultural science policy; and domestic and world commodity markets. Dr. Smith is the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding research and education and is a distinguished scholar of the Western Agricultural Economics Association. In 2011 he received the US Department of Agriculture Bruce Gardner Award for his outstanding contributions to the economic analysis of agricultural policy.

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