As China overtakes US in government funding for agricultural research, biotech firms fill the gap

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The U.S. has been behind China in R & D funding since 2008. Credit: ICAR
The U.S. has been behind China in R & D funding since 2008. Credit: ICAR

The world’s largest farm exporter, the U.S., is also a global leader in agricultural innovation. Consider GMO crops grown on nearly half of U.S. cropland and on 440 million acres in more than two dozen nations.

U.S. preeminence overshadows a startling change: China leads the U.S. by a large margin in government funding of food and ag research and development.

According to three USDA economists, China surpassed the U.S. in public funding in 2009 and had a 2-to-1 advantage in 2013. They say reduced U.S. spending “may have negative implications for agricultural productivity” when dealing with new pests and diseases and with climate change.

Of course, the U.S. remains a powerhouse of research. It is still the leader in agricultural science publications and in citations – an indication of high-value research – in addition to agricultural patents.

Meanwhile, private-sector R&D has zoomed, partly because of the immense development costs – and potential profits – from GMOs. Now, federal and state funding provide a quarter of total U.S. funding on agricultural R&D vs. its longtime share of 50%.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: China overtakes U.S. as top government funder of ag research

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