The funding for research and development in the agricultural sector is on the rise, but the funding is no longer largely from the federal government and is instead coming from the private sector. In the past, public institutions were often the source of funding and a rise in this funding was traced throughout the 1980s. But since then, much of the funding efforts have plateaued and in recent years have even began to decrease. To compensate for this decrease, much of the funding is now being provided by private industry. According to the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS), “total private agricultural and food R&D doubled between 2003 and 2014, while public R&D fell.” The funding between public and private sectors often do not have conflicting focuses; the public R&D is historically very global in nature, searching for solutions to things like food safety, nutrition, etc. while the private industry dominates in research on machinery, industry productivity and ways to improve in those markets. While this separation of focus allows funding to not be wasted by repeat research, it remains that public government funding is on the decrease, which will affect all research efforts. As the ERS states, “by 2010, private R&D for agricultural inputs alone surpassed the public level for all agricultural research, which also includes research in areas not directly related to crop and livestock production,” and currently those numbers are following the same trend.
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