Science Policy Report

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19 June 2013

In This Issue:

International Corner

~ Smallholder farmers key to lifting over one billion people out of poverty
~ Food aid overhaul halted
~ OECD-FAO expect slower global agricultural production growth
~ UK invests in six super crops to help beat global hunger
~ Royce: food aid debate foreshadows fate of broader overhaul
~ Agricultural mapping project seeks clarity in an uncertain future for crops
~ Frequency of severe flooding will vary in different regions of the world

Research, Education, Extension Funding Opportunities

~ National Integrated Water Quality Program
~ Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Food Security
~ National Urban and Community Forestry Development of the Ten Year Action Plan
~ The Leopold Center Request for Pre-proposals
~ Community Economic Development Healthy Food Financing Initiative Projects
~ Food for Progress Program

Conferences, Meetings and Reports

~ Agricultural Research Service Announces "Scientist of the Year" Awards
~ Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture upcoming events, Iowa
~ Reconsidering the underworld of urban soils
~ OSTP student volunteer program, fall 2013
~ Invitation for Concept Notes on Conservation Infrastructure and Delivery
~ Healthy soil microbes, healthy people
~ NCADAC: notice of open meeting
~ FY 2014 R&D report
~ Scientist finds chemical group that helps organic soils store more carbon

Congressional/Administration News

~ Senate approves farm bill in 66-27 bipartisan vote
~ Agriculture spending bill advanced by House panel
~ USDA and EPA launch U.S. food waste challenge
~ NOAA names new head of Climate Program Office
~ Connecticut approves labeling genetically modified foods
~ Lawmakers raise concerns about cutting STEM programs
~ White House compiles list of all government programs for first time
~ Drought, wildfires spur USDA initiatives on global warming
~ Republicans in both chambers introduce education law overhauls
~ Signs point away from spending bills on senate floor this summer
~ NDD science sequester survey

International Corner

(TOP) ~ Smallholder farmers key to lifting over one billion people out of poverty

smallholder farmerSmallholder farmers can play a greater role in global food production if given the right enabling conditions and targeted support, according to a report titled 'Smallholders, Food Security and the Environment' commissioned by the UN Environment Program-World Conservation Monitoring Center (UNEP-WCMC) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The report notes that these smallholders manage approximately 500 million small farms and provide over 80 percent of the food consumed in large parts of the developing world, particularly Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, thus contributing to food security and poverty reduction. Sustainable agricultural intensification scaling up farming practices that maintain the resources base upon which smallholders depend so that it continues to support food security and rural development can be the answer to enhanced food security, environmental protection and poverty reduction. Smallholders have a key role to play in this process. Read full article

(TOP) ~ Food aid overhaul halted

An Obama administration plan to restructure the United States’ $1.4 billion food aid program is all but dead and will be replaced by incremental changes favored by Congress and agriculture interests. The fiscal 2014 White House budget request called for lowering requirements dictating how much international food aid from the United States must be purchased from American farmers and moving the majority of food aid money out of the agriculture committees’ jurisdiction. It prompted considerable pushback from farming interests, as well as lawmakers concerned about giving up that piece of their turf. CQ reporter Emily Cadei reports that alternatives now under consideration include increasing the percentage of money allowed to be spent on food aid that’s locally sourced overseas, though well less than the 45 percent the White House proposed. Food assistance also will remain under the Agriculture committees, a position affirmed in the House and Senate farm bills.

(TOP) ~ OECD-FAO expect slower global agricultural production growth

Global agricultural production is expected to grow 1.5 percent a year on average over the coming decade, compared with annual growth of 2.1 percent between 2003 and 2012, according to a new report published by the OECD and FAO. Limited expansion of agricultural land, rising production costs, growing resource constraints and increasing environmental pressures are the main factors behind the trend. But the report argues that farm commodity supply should keep pace with global demand. Read full article

(TOP) ~ UK invests in six super crops to help beat global hunger

On June 8, the UK government granted £30 million to HarvestPlus to develop and deliver six nutritious crops to several million farming households in Africa and Asia.  The UK has supported HarvestPlus, an international program of CGIAR, since its start in 2003. HarvestPlus leads a global effort to improve nutrition and public health by developing and disseminating staple food crops that are rich in vitamin A, zinc, and iron. The grant was announced at a high-level international meeting, Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science, which was held in London and which brought together a range of partners to make strong political and financial commitments to improve nutrition globally. HarvestPlus is pioneering an approach to improve nutrition by directly increasing the amounts of nutrients in seeds through plant breeding. Get more information

(TOP) ~ Royce: food aid debate foreshadows fate of broader overhaul

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce believes that efforts to overhaul the United States’ $1.8 billion international food aid programs are “an acid test” for more expansive efforts to modernize foreign assistance. He argued that “if Congress can’t agree to help more people in less time and at less cost,” which advocates of the changes say will occur, “then there is little hope for broader foreign aid reform.” That’s an ominous warning for international development groups, who have been pushing for years to update both the food program and the multi-billion foreign assistance program, as a whole. An Obama administration proposal to implement changes in the way the US delivers food to hungry people abroad has largely stalled amid strong resistance from the agriculture and shipping industries. Backers of the status quo also worry that reducing the amount of food that comes from American farmers would risk the broad coalition of interests that now supports funding for the humanitarian program. Only two small changes made it into the Senate-passed farm bill, but Royce clearly wants more. The new Chairman has been, somewhat unexpectedly, a leading voice for changes to the program, which he says “would provide more flexibility, efficiency and effectiveness.”

(TOP) ~ Agricultural mapping project seeks clarity in an uncertain future for crops

The world will need to provide 75 percent more food to feed 9 billion people by 2050, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. That's a daunting challenge for farmers, scientists and policymakers. The stresses of pests, climate change, bigger cities and fewer rural farmers make the task seem nearly impossible, with high food prices inevitable. So researchers from around the world have come together to create the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP). It is an effort to combine climate scenarios with socio-economic and management factors that will help scientists recommend the best ways to keep the world fed through the next century. Mapping agriculture for climate change is especially difficult because not all aspects of a changing climate are necessarily detrimental to growing crops. Warming in colder parts of the Earth could encourage yields of certain crops and increased concentration of carbon dioxide has also been shown to help crops grow and become more water-efficient in field experiments. The researchers concluded that individual crop models could not represent the significant uncertainties of climate change. "Temperature and precipitation changes will have great impact, despite the CO2 fertilization effects," said Bruno Basso, a co-author of the study.

(TOP) ~ Frequency of severe flooding will vary in different regions of the world

Climate change will spur more frequent river floods in parts of Asia, Africa and South America by century's end, but much of the central United States and Europe may see decreased river flooding, according to a new study in Nature Climate Change. Flooding and climate change often are mentioned in tandem, but previous modeling of the regional links between the two often came with significant uncertainty. Specifically, the research team found that the frequency of floods will increase by the end of the century in Southeast Asia, southern India, eastern Africa and the northern part of South America. In the United States, future flood frequency rises in much of Florida and coastal California under the most aggressive warming scenario. Parts of England, Oceania and Western Europe also are projected to take a hit. By analyzing the outlets of 29 river basins, the scientists further calculated that what are rare, 100-year flood events will become much more common by century's end in rivers in Southeast Asia, Oceania and northeast Eurasia. On the other hand, much of northern and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, central North America and southern South America will see less frequent flooding with warming temperatures, the scientists said.

Research, Education, Extension Funding Opportunities

(TOP) ~ National Integrated Water Quality Program

usda logoThe goal of the National Integrated Water Quality Program (NIWQP) is to contribute to the improvement of the quality of surface water and groundwater resources through research, education, and extension activities. Projects funded through this program will work to solve water resource problems by advancing and disseminating the knowledge base available to agricultural, rural, and urbanizing communities. Funded projects should lead to science-based decision making and management practices that improve the quality of the Nations surface water and groundwater resources in agricultural, rural, and urbanizing watersheds. See RFA for priority areas. Deadline 10 Jul. Read full announcement

(TOP) ~ Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Food Security

For FY 2013, it is anticipated that approximately $5 million will be made available to support new awards within the Food Security Challenge Area of AFRI. In FY 2013, only proposals that focus on reducing crop and livestock losses in U.S. agricultural systems will be considered for funding. Proposed projects should develop and extend sustainable, integrated management strategies that reduce pre and post-harvest losses caused by diseases, insects, and weeds in crop and animal production systems, while maintaining or improving product quality and production efficiency. Proposals should aim to develop approaches for managing losses throughout the whole food system (production, harvesting, storage, processing, distribution, and consumption), and should address the social, economic, and behavioral aspects of food security. Deadline 17 Jul. Read full announcement

(TOP) ~ National Urban and Community Forestry Development of the Ten Year Action Plan

The National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council’s authorizing legislation requires the Council to have a National Urban and Community Forestry Action Plan every ten years. The current Ten Year Action Plan, 2006-2016, is to be updated by the end of 2015 for the Council to meet its mandate. The Forest Service is seeking proposals from qualified organizations to conduct assessments and reviews of the nation’s urban forest resources and the urban and community forestry programs and activities conducted by Federal and State agencies, private companies, nonprofit organizations, community and civic organizations and other interested parties across the country. Applicants will be expected to address the key elements in the legislation. Deadline 28 Jun. Read full announcement

(TOP) ~ The Leopold Center Request for Pre-proposals

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture was established by the Iowa Legislature as part of the Iowa Groundwater Protection Act of 1987. Its mission is to identify and reduce negative environmental and socio-economic impacts of agricultural practices, contribute to the development of profitable farming systems that conserve natural resources, and cooperate with Iowa State University Extension to inform the public of new findings. The Leopold Center’s annual competitive grants program consists of two main categories: Research, proposals with a specific hypothesis-driven question designed into the work will make up the largest category of Center grant funding and, Project, proposals designed to carry out demonstration, educational, planning, capacity building or outreach efforts fall into this category. Read full announcement

(TOP) ~ Community Economic Development Healthy Food Financing Initiative Projects

Through the Community Economic Development program and within the framework of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (CED-HFFI), the Office of Community Services (OCS) seeks to fund projects that will implement innovative strategies for eliminating food deserts while achieving sustainable employment and business opportunities for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other low-income individuals whose income level does not exceed 125 percent of the Federal poverty level. Deadline 2 Jul. Read full announcement

(TOP) ~ Food for Progress Program

The Food for Progress program provides for the donation of U.S. agricultural commodities to developing countries and emerging democracies that are committed to introducing or expanding free enterprise in their agricultural economies. Donated commodities are typically “monetized” (or sold on the local market), and the proceeds are used to fund agricultural development activities. Deadline 2 Aug. Read full announcement

Conferences, Meetings and Reports

(TOP) ~ Agricultural Research Service Announces "Scientist of the Year" Awards

richard lowranceThe Agricultural Research Service has announced its Scientists of the Year awards, which include a handful of ASA, CSSA, and SSSA members. For more information about Richard Lowrance (ASA, SSSA; see left), Anthony Buda (ASA, CSSA, SSSA), Kimberly Cook (SSSA), and Karen Harris-Shultz (CSSA), click here

(TOP) ~ Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture upcoming events, Iowa

The Leopold Center is a research and education center on the campus of Iowa State University created to identify and reduce negative environmental and social impacts of farming and develop new ways to farm profitably while conserving natural resources. The Center's work is focused in these initiatives - ecological systems research, marketing and food systems research, policy research and cross-cutting research that bridges all areas (water, energy, soil and alternative farming systems). Check out the calendar of upcoming events

(TOP) ~ Reconsidering the underworld of urban soils

Look down. If you are in a city or large town, below you is a vast network of hidden systems that support your life: pipes that carry natural gas, potable water, stormwater, sewage, and communications wires. These pipes rarely come to mind, but we agree that their operation is for the common good, that survival is not possible without them, and that armies of workers should keep them running. Surrounding those pipes are soils that are equally critical to our existence but to which we give much less attention. If we truly understood the delicacy of soil as a dynamic living system integral to the health of our towns and cities, our neighborhoods and families, we would be more cautious about how it is perceived, treated, and protected. Read full article

(TOP) ~ OSTP student volunteer program, fall 2013

The Office of Science and Technology Policy is currently accepting applications for its Fall 2013 Student Volunteer Program.  The application deadline is 11:59pm Friday, 28 June.  Students who are U.S. citizens and who will be actively enrolled during the Fall 2013 semester are welcome to apply. Student Volunteers are accepted for one of three annual terms (Spring, Summer, or Fall), which each last no more than 90 days. While these positions are without compensation, the assignments provide educational enrichment, practical work experience, and network opportunities with other individuals in the science and technology policy arena. Get more information

(TOP) ~ Invitation for Concept Notes on Conservation Infrastructure and Delivery

As part of AGree’s ongoing efforts to stimulate innovative thinking on strategies to increase agricultural productivity by conserving and enhancing soil, water, and habitat, AGree is pleased to announce that it is inviting brief concept notes on proposed long-term strategies to strengthen the U.S. agricultural conservation infrastructure and delivery system. Three to five submissions will be selected for expansion into white papers supported by a stipend of up to $3,000. Get more information

(TOP) ~ Healthy soil microbes, healthy people

We have been hearing a lot recently about a revolution in the way we think about human health, how it is inextricably linked to the health of microbes in our gut, mouth, nasal passages, and other "habitats" in and on us. With the release last summer of the results of the five-year National Institutes of Health's Human Microbiome Project, we are told we should think of ourselves as a "superorganism," a residence for microbes with whom we have coevolved, who perform critical functions and provide services to us, and who outnumber our own human cells ten to one. Read full article

(TOP) ~ NCADAC: notice of open meeting

The NOAA National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC) has scheduled a public meeting for July 9 and 10, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Committee's mission is to synthesize and summarize the science and information pertaining to current and future impacts of climate change upon the United States; and to provide advice and recommendations toward the development of an ongoing, sustainable national assessment of global change impacts and adaptation and mitigation strategies for the Nation. Within the scope of its mission, the committee's specific objective is to produce a National Climate Assessment. See full announcement

(TOP) ~ FY 2014 R&D report

Following a delay due to the late FY 2014 President's budget release, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s 315-page report has now officially been released. This reference work provides a comprehensive analysis of R&D in the President's FY 2014 budget request, including specialized analyses by theme, major agency, and discipline. Specifically, Karl Anderson and Karl Glasener with ASA, CSSA, and SSSA have played an important role in the development of Chapter 27: Food, Nutrition, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences in the FY 2014 Budget. See full report

(TOP) ~ Scientist finds chemical group that helps organic soils store more carbon

phil robertsonBoosters of organic food often say the practice, which rejects synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, is a good method for curbing climate change because it stores more carbon in the soil. But no one could really explain the dynamics behind why organic fields keep more carbon underground than conventional ones. Phil Robertson, a researcher at Michigan State University's Kellogg Biological Station, thinks he might have an answer: a chemical group called phenolics, a class of complex compounds that also protect plants from disease and pests. He believes phenolic compounds enter the soil when farmers plant cover crops like beans and legumes that enrich the soil with nitrogen before planting. These compounds create a barrier around the carbon in the soil, protecting the carbon from microbes that process it into carbon dioxide gas. While organic farmers are not the only growers who use cover crops, they rely on them much more than conventional growers. In understanding the role phenolics play, Robertson's findings could lead to a better understanding of how to cut emissions from the global agriculture sector.

Congressional/Administration News

(TOP) ~ Senate approves farm bill in 66-27 bipartisan vote

After a weeks-long debate with battles over amendments, the Senate has passed a $955 billion bill reauthorizing dozens of farm subsidy, conservation, rural energy and nutrition assistance programs. The bill, sponsored by Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), passed 66-27 with two Rhode Island Democrats, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed, and 25 Republicans voting against it. All eyes turn now to the House, which is expected to begin debating its $939 billion farm bill this week. The "Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013" is similar to the farm bill that passed the Senate nearly a year ago but never made it to the president's desk. Work on the bill was held up throughout last fall when House leadership failed to bring the legislation to the floor, citing differences over funding for the national food stamp program. Like last year's farm bill, the Senate legislation would eliminate direct payments and create a new revenue insurance program for farmers. Unlike last year's measure, this year's bill would retain price supports, or subsidies that are paid out when the market price of a commodity falls below a certain target price.

(TOP) ~ Agriculture spending bill advanced by House panel

On June 13, the full House Appropriations Committee approved the FY14 appropriations bill for the Agriculture Subcommittee. Overall, USDA research programs fared well, with many programs receiving allocations that would bring them back up to pre-sequestration levels. Most noticeably, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) was marked up at $291 million (an increase of $16 million over FY13 with sequestration). Also of significance was Hatch funding which was set at $236 million (an increase of $18 million over FY13 with sequestration), and ARS which received $1.074 billion (an increase of $55 million over FY13 with sequestration). The next step for this bill is to make it to the House floor. See the Science Policy office appropriations chart for a breakdown of other USDA research programs. Read more

(TOP) ~ USDA and EPA launch U.S. food waste challenge

The USDA, in collaboration with the EPA, has launched the U.S. Food Waste Challenge which invites others across the food chain (including producer groups, processors, manufacturers, retailers, communities, and other government agencies) to join this effort. The Challenge includes a goal to have 400 partner organizations by 2015 and 1,000 by 2020. As part of its contribution to the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, USDA is initiating a wide range of activities including activities to reduce waste in the school meals program, educate consumers about food waste and food storage, and develop new technologies to reduce food waste. Read full article

(TOP) ~ NOAA names new head of Climate Program Office

higginsThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that it had appointed Wayne Higgins as head of the agency's Climate Program Office. Higgins, a meteorologist, had been acting director of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction since February, and prior to that he served as director of the agency's Climate Prediction Center from 2007 to 2013. He said he was looking forward to making the office more effective at addressing what NOAA calls the "societal challenge projects" of climate impacts to water, coasts, marine ecosystems and weather extremes. Higgins hopes to connect the Climate Program Office's activities more closely with the stakeholders that use its research and data. He'll first do this by listening to what current employees have to say about their activities and challenges, then working to create a strategic plan for the office. Higgins highlighted the National Integrated Drought Information System, as an example of what he hopes to do more of at the Climate Program Office. Higgins hopes to replicate that connection with users of information.

(TOP) ~ Connecticut approves labeling genetically modified foods

Connecticut has become the first state to pass a bill that would require food manufacturers to label products that contain genetically modified ingredients, but only after other conditions are met. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has said he would sign the bill into law, after reaching an agreement with the legislature to include a provision that the law would not take effect unless four other states, at least one of which shares a border with Connecticut, passed similar regulations. The Connecticut bill also hinges on those states including Northeastern states with a total population of at least 20 million. Read full article

(TOP) ~ Lawmakers raise concerns about cutting STEM programs

The White House has proposed cutting almost $50 million from NASA's $150 million STEM education budget as part of a government-wide reorganization of STEM programs. The plan would eliminate 110 of 226 STEM programs in an effort to improve coordination and focus. It would take money from eliminated programs and reinvest it to create a new hierarchy. At a hearing last month, senators appeared receptive to the plan. But now, lawmakers on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee voiced concerns over cuts to their constituents' favorite programs, from local museums and schools to NASA. John Holdren, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, assured lawmakers that his office was "by no means coming close to eliminating the NASA scientists and engineers" who participate in STEM programs. Rather, the administration's plans allow agencies to continue the most important programs under the leadership of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education. The hearing shed light on the uphill battle facing the White House as it tries to eliminate programs that account for $3 billion of the federal budget and fund hundreds of small programs across lawmakers' districts. Most have no performance metrics to assess their effectiveness, making it difficult to argue whether Congress should continue to fund them or not.

(TOP) ~ White House compiles list of all government programs for first time

The White House has released the first-ever inventory of federal programs, earning accolades from lawmakers who have lamented the government's past ignorance of its own functions. The inventory details programs from 24 federal agencies, complete with descriptions and explanations of how each program relates to an agency's mission. But the list is far from uniform. Each agency defines programs slightly differently, resulting in only a rough outline of the full fiscal picture. It's the first step in a longer process outlined in the 2010 Government Performance and Results Modernization Act. With this stage complete, agencies will now solicit public comment and update their lists accordingly. Congress hopes that a single list of all federal programs will help it more easily identify duplication. See the inventory

(TOP) ~ Drought, wildfires spur USDA initiatives on global warming

The Obama administration has rolled out several major initiatives to shield farmers, ranchers and foresters from the effects of climate change. The Agriculture Department will create regional hubs around the country to support research on how to mitigate climate change's effects on crop production, livestock and forestland, as well as guide farmers and ranchers on conservation practices. The efforts are part of an increased focus on climate change at the Agriculture Department that was prompted by droughts in major corn- and livestock-producing regions during the past two summers. The wildfire season in forests is now 60 days longer than it was three decades ago. In the Midwest, the growing season has extended by almost two weeks over the past several decades, and in the Northeast, extreme precipitation events have increased. "The hubs will enable us to carry out regionally appropriate climate change risk and vulnerability assessments, and get data out to the field more quickly," Vilsack said. "Practically, the hubs will deal out advice to farmers and forest owners on ways to reduce risks and manage change."

(TOP) ~ Republicans in both chambers introduce education law overhauls

House and Senate Republicans have introduced proposals to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as No Child Left Behind, with the over-arching goal of significantly reducing the federal government’s role in the public education system. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) unveiled his measure ahead of the panel’s markup on a competing reauthorization bill introduced by Chairman Tom Harkin, (D-IA). In the House, John Kline (R-MN) scheduled a June 19 markup on his proposal. The 2001 law, has been criticized by both sides of the aisle for setting unrealistically high goals with punitive consequences for not achieving those goals, ultimately leading states to lower their academic standards. The Alexander and Kline bills both would eliminate the current accountability system and allow states to develop their own academic standards and assessments. Instead of mandating specific interventions for chronically failing schools, as Harkin’s measure does, the two Republican bills would allow states to self-identify their poorest performing schools and allow local districts to develop their own strategies for improving those schools.

(TOP) ~ Signs point away from spending bills on senate floor this summer

Signs in Congress are pointing to another summer when the Senate may not consider spending bills on the floor. The Senate and House remain $91 billion apart on the top line for the federal government’s operating expenses, far more than the $19 billion gap that existed last year.
The split could create problems in passing any appropriations bill in the Senate. The White House already has issued what amounts to a blanket veto threat on all 12 fiscal 2014 appropriations measures in the House, including the highly popular Military Construction-Veterans Affairs spending bill leading off appropriations work in both chambers. The House is working under the roughly $967 billion cap set by current law. Like Obama, Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., is proceeding with budget plans as if Congress is certain to repeal the sequester demanded in the 2011 Budget Control Act. But there are long odds that there will be a compromise on any single bill. House GOP leaders remain opposed to going quickly to conference on a fiscal 2014 budget resolution, a step Democrats and several Republican senators are calling for to resolve the impasse on a spending cap.

(TOP) ~ NDD science sequester survey

On March 1, the across-the-board budget cuts, known as sequestration, went into effect, reducing the budgets of all federal research funding agencies by five percent. ASA, CSSA & SSA are part of a larger coalition of organizations that are letting Congress know the devastating impact these cuts have on research, public health, safety, and education programs. An anonymous survey was developed to poll how individual scientists “in the field” are feeling the pinch not only of the sequester, but also the impact shrinking budgets have had on the enterprise over the past few years. Take the survey

Sources: Atlantic Monthly; Climatewire; Congressional Quarterly; Energy and Environment Daily; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; International Food Policy Research Institute; Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; The New York Times; United Nations Environment Program; USDA

Vision: The Societies Washington, DC Science Policy Office (SPO) will advocate the importance and value of the agronomic, crop and soil sciences in developing national science policy and ensuring the necessary public-sector investment in the continued health of the environment for the well being of humanity. The SPO will assimilate, interpret, and disseminate in a timely manner to Society members information about relevant agricultural, natural resources and environmental legislation, rules and regulations under consideration by Congress and the Administration.

This page of the ASA-CSSA-SSSA web site will highlight current news items relevant to Science Policy. It is not an endorsement of any position.