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Frontiers in Agricultural Research: Food, Health, Environment, and Communities (2003)

Chapter:Appendix B: Subcommittee Statements of Task

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Subcommittee Statements of Task." National Research Council. 2003. Frontiers in Agricultural Research: Food, Health, Environment, and Communities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10585.
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Subcommittee Statements of Task." National Research Council. 2003. Frontiers in Agricultural Research: Food, Health, Environment, and Communities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10585.

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APPENDIX B Subcommittee Statements of Task The synthesis committee, the Committee on Opportunities in Agriculture, established statements of task for each of the three subcommittees: 1. Identify the priorities for future research and relevance of the agricul- tural research, knowledge transfer, and capacity-building activities con- ducted by the US Department of Agriculture Research, Education, and Economics mission area, given modern challenges and the dynamic nature of agriculture. 2. Broadly evaluate the quality, impact, and productivity of current and past research, knowledge transfer, and capacity-building activities. 3. Consider the following questions: a. What are important differences between past and future needs? b. Does the current research have broad impacts in our society, and is it demand-driven (client-driven) through stakeholder or citizen par- ticipation? How do the quality, impact, and productivity of REE research in a particular field compare with those of research performed through alternative government or private-sector support? d. Is there an appropriate balance between basic and applied research, intramural and extramural research mechanisms, competitive and formula- funding mechanisms, and federal and state-run research programs? How integrative and interdisciplinary is the research? Is the research complementary across the REE agencies? 175

176 APPENDIX B What professional skills, expertise, and training programs are nec- essary for achieving the research, extension, and education goals needed to achieve REE's desired outcomes? In answering those questions, the Subcommittee on Economic and Social Development in a Global Context considered the following subjects: the future structure of agriculture; new market opportunities vis-a-vis new information tech- nology; food and agricultural policy; implications of population and income growth; children, youth, the aging, families, and communities; international devel- opment, trade markets, and US competitiveness; and new and value-added products. The Subcommittee on Environmental Quality and Natural Resources consid- ered the following subjects: conservation of soil, water, atmospheric, and biologic resources, including agrobiodiversity; livestock and range management issues; aquaculture; nonnative and invasive species; hydrologic issues, including surface water, subsurface water, and aquifer issues; use of chemicals and biocontrols; waste-management issues; energy resources, including biobased resources; forest resources; land preservation; land-use and land-use change issues; the rural-urban interface and the interface between agriculture and protected areas; climate change; carbon sequestration; land-grant-sea-grant issues; and environmental implications of trade. The Subcommittee on Food and Health considered the following subjects divided by two major themes. With respect to production agriculture, it consid- ered production systems across a wide range of commodities; appropriateness of technologies; implications of functional genomics; implications of precision agri- culture, forecasting technologies, and other spatial information tools; consumer- driven preferences; implications of research choices for consumers; and energy sources and costs. With respect to food safety, diet, and nutrition, it considered food safety (microorganisms, toxic substances, and food produced from transgenic organisms); health promotion through diet; nutritional enhancement through pro- cessing and production; nutrition education; diet-disease links; nutrient-gene interactions (human, plant, and animal genomics and nutrition); allergens; and food additives and interactions.

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This report is a congressionally mandated review of the US Department of Agriculture’s Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area, the main engine of publicly funded agricultural research in the United States. A changing social and scientific context of agriculture requires a new vision of agricultural research -- one that will support agriculture as a positive economic, social, and environmental force. REE is uniquely positioned to advance new research frontiers in environment, public health, and rural communities. The report recommends that REE be more anticipatory and strategic in its use of limited resources and guide and champion new directions in research.

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