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Innovation: Funding Livestock Research and Outreach in the Future

Innovation through publicly funded research and its dissemination through University and Federal outreach efforts have been essential to keeping U.S. livestock agriculture strong.According to Julian Alston at UC Davis, rates of agricultural productivity growth in the U.S. are slowing with the decreased investment in innovation, despite the demonstrated very high rates of return for investment in research and innovation. These generally agreed upon high rates of return actually result from a substantial underinvestment in research. Alternatively, countries such as Brazil are experiencing high rates of productivity growth as a result of increasing rates of investment in research and will continue to gain increased international market share for livestock products. It is not reasonable that in the near and intermediate term the U.S. will increase its public support at either the federal or state level for livestock research. In fact, a protracted economic recovery will likely continue to result in decreased levels of public funding.  This conference seeks to bring together the leaders and innovators at both public and private organizations for an informed conversation about new models and paradigms for increasing funding for the support of innovation in livestock agriculture.