In a New York Times Opinion article, Nobel Laureate Phillip Sharp and CEO Emeritus of AAAS Alan Leshner make a strong case for raising the level of funding for agriculture research. Such an increase is necessary to maintain agricultural productivity in response to challenges such as the prolonged drought in California and the avian flu epidemic. They observe that at the time of the great Dust Bowl of the 1940s, agriculture accounted for almost 40% of America’s research and development budget; today it accounts for only 2% of federal research and development spending.
Their article concludes, “Now more than ever, we need to embrace 21st-century science, fund it and turn it loose so we can develop better methods of putting food on the table. Our world is changing; the way we grow and produce food needs a much richer diet of scientific ingenuity to keep pace.”
Now that’s a sentiment we can all agree with!