Federal Agricultural Research Facilities Are Underused

Gao ID: RCED-83-20 January 14, 1983

GAO reviewed the underuse of Federal agricultural research facilities operated by the Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and its effect on ongoing research.

GAO found that, despite the underuse of existing laboratories, new laboratories are under construction and others are being planned. These additional facilities could further reduce the overall rate of use because the ARS personnel ceiling is not expected to rise in the foreseeable future. Furthermore, staffing for new laboratories may be at the expense of existing ones. To fully use its existing research facilities, ARS would require a substantial increase in its annual appropriations and higher personnel ceilings. ARS has closed some facilities and transferred staff to other locations to improve facility use. In response to the administration's directive to all civil departments to identify low priority activities for elimination, ARS has developed plans, still under internal discussion, to close up to 12 research facilities. Long-term planning and good justification for closures are necessary before research laboratories can be closed. New facility construction or major expansion of existing space should be tied to long-range research goals and objectives.


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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