Current high food prices and the food shortages that have occurred in several countries during recent years provide a sharp reminder of the fragility of food security in the United States and worldwide. The historically productive research, extension, and education infrastructure of the United States has allowed its citizens to enjoy the safest and most abundant supply of food in the world, contributing to public health. However, the challenge continues. Food demand continues to grow rapidly, making it imperative that we substantially increase public funding for improvements in food production.
The current situation can be summarized as follows:
- The global human population continues to grow, and large numbers of people in developing countries are emerging from deep poverty and demanding improved diets; these factors will challenge the world’s food production capacity during the coming decades.
- To feed the people of the world sustainably, food producers must continue to increase the efficiency with which they use the earth’s limited resources. That includes continued increases in efficiency of livestock production.
- Legitimate societal interest in animal well‐being, food safety, food composition, and environmental quality expands the scope of research needed.
- State funding for agricultural research has dropped substantially during recent decades, and research funding from USDA has not made up the loss1; the costs of research addressing issues of societal concern compete for already strained budgets for research on production efficiency, which is critical to sustainable production.
- Agricultural funding initiatives often omit research on food animals. This imbalance in support for animal science puts US animal agriculture at a major disadvantage at a critical time when livestock and poultry producers are striving for global competitiveness, improving sustainability, and working to feed a growing global population.2
- Funding for research in livestock production is now especially important because of the increased consumption of animal products by people in developing countries, but such funding continues to lag behind the needs.3
FASS Inc. supports increased public funding for research, extension, and education related to food production in order to strengthen the food security of the United States and the world.
- FASS supports increased funding within USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture for basic and applied research on food production necessary to sustainably meet the food needs of the world’s people.
- FASS supports increased funding for research on production of foods from animal sources including research on production efficiency, animal well‐being, food safety, quality and composition, and environmental quality.
1NRC (National Research Council). 2015. Critical Role of Animal Science Research in Food Security and Sustainability. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/19000.
2NASDA (National Association of State Departments of Agriculture). 2014. http://www.nasda.org/letters-comments-testimony/coalition-letter-to-house-and-senate-agriculture-appropriations-committees-requesting-fy-2015.
3NASEM (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine). 2019. Science Breakthroughs to Advance Food and Agricultural Research by 2030. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/2505.
Reviewed and revised by FASS Science Policy Committee on June 10, 2019
Adopted by the FASS Board of Directors on June 23, 2019
For more information, please contact FASSPolicyStatements@assochq.org