Agricultural research at land grant and other universities across the nation is threatened by federal budget cuts made steeper by budget sequestration.
The University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) for example, has taken a half-million dollar hit to its federal research dollars.
Mark Linnet is the associate dean for research and extension at CAFNR.
He says, "The interesting thing about the budget this year is that it is the federal side that is causing the problem because of sequestration. Over the past 20 or 30 years while our federal support has slowly eroded it has really maintained a foundation for us because the state side has eroded much more rapidly."
The sequestration cuts represent more than 7 and a half percent of the ag college's research funding, Linnet tells Brownfield Ag News, "That'll impact the amount of money we have to invest in research, the amount of money we have to invest in salaries for our researchers, and, will likely end up causing some open positions not to be refilled."
Private company research funding, he says, will likely grow as a result.
"We do, however, always have to be careful that we - the university - do not become mere publicists for the private sector. I don't believe that's a big problem but it's something we have to constantly have to watch out for."
Linnet says the MU College of Agriculture currently gets about 7 percent of its funding from private agricultural companies.