Study shows lack of public funding for sustainable agriculture research

UCSMinigraphic_EMBARGOEDA new report published in the journal Environmental Science & Policy looked into the amount of funding that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has put towards supporting sustainable agroecological farming, including organic. Its authors found that only 15% of the major external research and education grants awarded by USDA incorporate any element of agroecological principles. However, most of the projects included agroecology as a minor aspect of the research. Projects that emphasized agroecological research or implementation were rare. The scientists pointed out that research on sustainable systems is critical to solving many environmental issues that conventional agricultural methods contribute to, such as air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, public health problems, and other societal challenges. They noted that support for sustainable agriculture, especially investments in research and technical assistance for farmers, is required. Unfortunately, their analysis found that funding from USDA to support agroecological research has been limited, despite its publicly stated commitment to advancing sustainable agriculture. The paper concludes that there is “an urgent need for additional public funding for systems-based agroecology and sustainable agriculture research.”