Adapting to a changing climate is one of the themes of a new five-year research plan announced by the Agriculture Department on Wednesday.
“With a changing climate we need to make sure our agricultural system can adjust,” said Scott Hutchins, USDA's deputy undersecretary for research, education and economics, who described the research "blueprint" at the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research’s annual “Foster Our Future” forum.
“We need to be ready, and it’s science and technology that’s going to give us that opportunity," he said.
Hutchins said the plan, which is billed as a “roadmap for USDA science from 2020 to 2025,” would help coordinate research initiatives across the various agencies within the department.
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The blueprint “lays out overarching themes that provide a framework for our vision for the USDA’s science initiatives,” the plan says. “The goal of setting forth this framework is to provide organizational clarity, speed, and agility to meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s agricultural enterprise.”
“We would really appreciate your feedback,” Hutchins told the “Foster our Future” audience.
The blueprint’s five themes, along with one of the stated objectives, are:
- Sustainable Ag Intensification: “Develop crop production systems and alternative strategies to intensify plant and forest production with continuous improvements and adoption of new technology and innovative practices while reducing environmental impacts.”
- Ag Climate Adaptation: “Develop interdisciplinary integrative systems approaches to address environmental and management challenges that positively impact productivity and resilience.”
- Food and Nutrition Translation: “Generate fundamental knowledge and tools that later be applied to improve food safety and food security, including One Health research such as antimicrobial resistance.”
- Value-Added Innovations: “Strengthen food, agricultural, and forest production, processing, manufacturing, utilization, and marketing through new technologies, innovation, and data analysis to create jobs and economic opportunities in rural areas.”
- Ag Science Policy Leadership: “Encourage a global conversation and facilitate such discussion within decision-making bodies about literacy in agriculture, food, forestry, health and science.”
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