The USDA’s Strategic Goals FY 2018-2022 are: 1) Ensure USDA programs are delivered efficiently, effectively, and with integrity and a focus on customer service; 2) Maximize the ability of American agricultural producers to prosper by feeding and clothing the world; 3) Promote American agricultural products and exports; 4) Facilitate rural prosperity and economic development; 5) Strengthen the stewardship of private lands through technology and research; 6) Foster productive and sustainable use of our National Forest System Lands; 7) Provide all Americans access to a safe, nutritious and secure food supply.
How can those be met when the secretary of agriculture has decided to give the staff of two divisions, Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the ultimate that they have to decide in the next two weeks to either relocate from the D.C. area to Kansas City (where there is not actual facility for their functions) or be fired.
Dan Murphy of the Drover website notes, “Far from getting closer to stakeholders, the move seems designed to get rid of a significant number of scientists and researchers … and to literally remove the visibility of their date and policy recommendation thousands of miles away from the lawmakers who provide their funding … (This) comes at a time when agricultural research is desperately needed, both to maintain U.S. food production viability and to continue the quest for ways to feed the additional three billion people expected to be alive by mid-century without compromising the limited global resources of arable land, available water and affordable energy …”
The present administration is quashing research findings about climate change on crop production and how it impacts nutritional value of crops. The Washington Post reported that USDA researchers received a memo directing that “Their finalized peer-reviewed scientific publications must be labeled ‘preliminary.’” Susan Offfut, administrator of the ERS stated that this policy conflicts with the integrity policy of the USDA. Its research findings and recommendations are not being disseminated for practical application, but instead researchers are being forced into obscurity or unemployment.
Tell our congressional delegation to protect our food supply.