The Proposal

Executive Summary

1. Situational Analysis

2. Outline of Proposal

3. Origins of Proposal

4. USDA Integration

5. Case for Integration

6. Enhanced Funding

7. Case for Funding

8. CREATE-21 and NIFA

Related Materials

Supporting Documents

Values and Principles


Results of BAA Vote



Food, agricultural, and natural resources research, extension, education, and international programs are currently spread over four USDA agencies: (1) Agriculture Research Service (ARS); (2) Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES); (3) Economic Research Service (ERS); and (4) Forest Service R&D (USFS R&D).

The articles concerning natural resources can be found at

As a result, there is frequent programmatic duplication, no clearly identified “lead-agency” to address critical national issues, and a lack of clear and simple integration across agencies.

To appreciate the critical need to integrate the research, extension, and teaching functions dispersed throughout the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it is important to understand how the four key agencies – ARS, CSREES, ERS, and USFS R&D – currently operate:

ARS is primarily a research agency that maintains a network of laboratories and offices staffed by federal employees. Excluding facilities, the ARS has an annual budget of ≈ $1.123 billion, of which 93% is spent internally. Since it is a scientific research agency, there are no requirements for ARS employees to assume extension (technology transfer) or higher education responsibilities.
CSREES is the agency that manages the Federal-State and Federal-Tribal Partnerships in food and agricultural research, extension, and teaching. CSREES has an annual budget of ≈ $1.199 billion, of which 6% is spent internally. Many CSREES programs integrate research with extension and higher education and land-grant employees supported through the Federal-State Partnership often hold joint research, extension, and/or academic appointments.
ERS is an in-house USDA research agency with most personnel located in Washington, DC. This agency has an annual budget of ≈ $75 million, of which 90% is spent internally.
USFS R&D is one of three principal divisions of the U.S. Forest Service. USFS R&D maintains a network of labs and offices staffed with federal employees. USFS R&D has an annual budget of ≈ $277 million, of which 86% is spent internally. Extension and higher education requirements are also minimal for USFS R&D employees.

The CREATE-21 proposal envisions integration of these four agencies, including their functions, personnel, programs and activities within a new “National Institute.”

Although the Institute will be an independent agency reporting directly to the Secretary of Agriculture, it will incorporate the best elements of the existing USDA organizations:

The Institute will manage a broad and integrated portfolio of programs to be organized by problem/solution areas and funding mechanisms.
“Competitive” programs will build upon the Institute’s capabilities – both within USDA and the Partnerships – to help solve problems of pressing multistate, national, or international significance. (These programs will be open to all qualified universities/investigators.)
“Capacity” programs will maintain and expand the intramural research capability within USDA (e.g. ARS, ERS, and USFS R&D) and the research, extension, education, and international capability of the Federal-State and Federal-Tribal Partnerships.

By continuing appropriate state matching requirements in such key federal statutes as the Hatch Act of 1887, the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, the McIntire-Stennis Act of 1962, the Evans-Allen Act, and 1890s Extension, scarce federal resources will leverage other funds. And, by reducing program duplication, limited federal resources will be stretched further still.

The Institute will be guided by a diverse National Stakeholder Advisory Council and there will be new mechanisms for input from local, state, tribal, and regional stakeholder groups as to the immediate, emerging, and future needs for research, extension, education, and international programs.

In addition, the Institute will build upon one of the great strengths of the Federal-State and Federal-Tribal Partnerships, namely the tight integration of research with extension and teaching.

CREATE-21 envisions that the National Institute will initially be organized around six critical problem-solution areas:

Increase economic opportunities in agriculture and natural resources.
Improve human nutrition and health.
Support rural and urban community development.
Protect America’s natural resource base and environment.
Enhance safety and security of U.S. agriculture and food supply.
Ensure family, youth, and community success.

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