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



1. Situational Analysis*

Between 1970 and 2005: the U.S. population increased by 100 million; the GDP grew by 293%; federal revenues, outlays, and domestic spending all rose dramatically; and funding for health/medical research at NIH increased by $22.6 billion (882%). (All constant 2000 dollars unless noted.)

However, USDA funding for food, agriculture, and natural resources research grew at an average annual rate of just 1.85 percent over the last 35 years.

And, in the last 15 years, USDA base funding for State Agricultural Experiment Stations actually dropped by $27 million while base funding for the Cooperative Extension Service declined by $45 million.

Even the National Research Initiative – the principal food, agriculture, and natural resources competitive grants program – received less funding in FY 2005 ($180 million, current dollars) than each of 25 states received in NIH grants during that same 12-month period.

2. The CREATE-21 Proposal

America faces many serious challenges that can only be solved through enhanced scientific research, extension, and teaching.

To address those problems, the National Institutes for Food and Agriculture will be created within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, integrating the research, education, and extension programs currently divided among the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), Economic Research Service (ERS), and U.S. Forest Service (USFS).

The Institute will provide: (1) enhanced “competitive” funding to support vital fundamental and applied research/extension projects; and (2) continued “capacity” funding for intramural research at USDA and research, education, and extension programs at land-grant and related universities/institutions.

3. Reorganization within USDA

Functions, facilities, programs, projects, activities, and personnel from ARS, CSREES, ERS, and USFS R&D will be integrated within the Institute. (Intramural and university-based functions will be retained within the new organizational structure.)

The Institute will be: (1) an independent agency reporting to the Secretary; (2) led by an eminent scientist/educator, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for a six-year term; and (3) guided by a National Stakeholder Advisory Council.

4. The Case for Reorganization

The new Institute will…

Increase organizational flexibility through a variable structure organized initially around six major problem/solution areas.

Improve budgetary efficiency through elimination of duplicative programs and activities and a streamlined bureaucracy.

Enhance program integration by bringing the intramural research capacity of ARS, ERS, and USFS R&D more closely together with the research, education, and extension capacity of America's land-grant and related universities/institutions.

Boost stakeholder involvement through a new National Stakeholder Advisory Council and other mechanisms for improved/increased input at all levels.

Be authorized to receive increased competitive grant funding. (Authorized funding for the intramural capacity of ARS, ERS, USFS R&D, and the land-grant university system will also be significantly enhanced, with special emphasis placed on building capacity at the 1890, 1994, and small 1862 land-grants, and AASCARR.)

5. Enhanced Funding Authorized

Competitive funding will (after seven years) reach $2.126 billion per year, with fundamental research constituting 55 percent of the total and integrated programs the remaining 45 percent. (Full indirect cost recovery will be implemented as new funds become available.)

Capacity funding will (after seven years) reach $2.937 billion per year, enabling intramural USDA research and extramural programs at land-grant and related universities/institutions to maintain/extend their base operations.

If CREATE-21 is enacted and fully funded, after seven years the competitive/capacity ratio – considering existing funds ($2.676 billion) and new funds ($2.676 billion) – would be 42/58. (Currently, the competitive/capacity ratio is approximately 10/90.)

However, to "jump start" the funding enhancement program, $200 million per year in mandatory USDA funding would flow immediately to the Institute from the statutory authority for the Initiative for Future Agricultural and Food Systems (IFAFS) program.

6. The Case for Enhanced Funding

CREATE-21 must be enacted in order to:

Help food, agriculture, and natural resource producers secure the benefits of: improved animal, crop, and forest quantities, qualities, and production efficiencies; new/expanded markets; new bioproducts and new/improved technologies; and sustainable production systems.

Provide consumers and families with food/fuel cost savings and health improvements through: increased food and nutritional value; a safe, secure, and affordable food supply; new biofuels; and the best quality information to enable healthy food choices.

Boost the economic vitality of rural and urban communities by: greatly expanded leadership programs; and increased efforts to stimulate entrepreneurship and business development.

Increase environmental stewardship through: improved farm and forest production methods; decreased dependence upon chemicals with harmful effects on people and the environment; and finding alternative uses for agriculture wastes.

7. Relationship between CREATE-21 and NIFA

CREATE-21 incorporates all key elements of the NIFA (Danforth) proposal, including creation of a National Institute providing (eventually) $1 billion per year in new funding for fundamental research in food, agriculture, and natural resources through competitively-awarded peer-reviewed grants.

However, the CREATE-21 proposal goes further by recommending integration of all existing USDA research, education, and extension programs and activities within the National Institute and maintained/ enhanced capacity funding for America’s land-grant and related universities/institutions.

7. Relationship between CREATE-21 and NIFA

CREATE-21 is a project of the Board on Agriculture Assembly of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges and its partners.

We are working to reach a consensus about how the partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and America's land-grant and related universities and institutions should be updated to "Create Research, Extension, and Teaching Excellence for the 21st Century."

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