Mo’ Money, Mo’ Research

Apr 2, 2021

Money can’t buy you love, but it can buy you a stronger agricultural system, and that’s basically the same thing.

Two studies, one by The Breakthrough Institute and one by the Farm Journal Foundation and American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), are speaking the same language: $$$ talks, especially when it comes to publicly funded research and development (R&D) for agriculture.

It takes two to make it rain: Both private and public investments are critical in the food system. And in the AFBF study, it was noted that U.S. private agricultural R&D funding appears to be increasing while U.S. public funding needs a raise. For example, USDA agricultural agency budgets have been relatively flat at around $4.2 billion in 2020 compared with $4.1 billion in 2010.

Money is the root: Not of all evil, but of great advancements in agriculture. With the world population expected to reach 10 billion by 2050, food production will need to outkick its coverage. More dollars of public funding R&D would help in a lot of ways.

Some examples of what pumped up funding could do:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 100 million tons — or one-sixth of agriculture’s current total emissions.
  • Lower global food prices by 8%.
  • Improve supply chain resilience (ahem, COVID-19).