Agricultural Economics Research and Analysis Needs Mission Clarification

Gao ID: RCED-83-89 January 31, 1983

GAO examined and clarified the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) economics research and analysis activities. GAO made its review in terms of the USDA Economic Research Service's (ERS) overall mission and program priorities and its relationship to that of state land-grant institutions. GAO also reviewed USDA activities with regard to planning, priority setting, and coordination of public sector agricultural economics research and analysis.

GAO found that there is a disagreement within the agricultural community on the roles of ERS and the land-grant institutions' departments of agricultural economics. Contributing to this problem is the lack of clear roles between ERS and land-grant institutions in their economics research. A systematic determination of research needs is important because some research needs must be given higher priorities than others. However, very little has been done to plan for, set priorities for, or coordinate overall public sector agricultural economics research and analysis activities. Decisions are often made on an ad-hoc basis with little coordination between USDA and the land-grant institutions. GAO concluded that, during the past few years, ERS has conducted socioeconomic research which GAO believes is questionable from a subject matter perspective, while other priority research and analysis needs have not been given adequate attention.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Director: Brian P. Crowley Team: General Accounting Office: Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division Phone: (202) 512-9450

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