REE Action Plan
USDA has created a robust infrastructure to perform world-class science, deliver classroom and community education, and transfer technologies from the laboratory to the private sector for the benefit of the Nation. Tracking our progress is essential to advancing our contributions and meeting consumer demands. After surveying the research environment, prioritizing customer needs, and assessing USDA’s own capabilities and capacity, REE first documented its goals and objectives in the 2012 REE Action Plan, then in a 2014 revision. Each year REE produces an REE Action Plan Progress Report so that the mission area and its stakeholders can clearly track annual performance in the form of accomplishments and performance metrics. This information can be used to guide future decisions, priorities, and resource allocations. Tracking performance is essential for maintaining a focus and charting a path for the future. This is especially important in a dynamic global environment with ever-changing opportunities and challenges, constrained resources, and new emerging threats, even while the fundamental need to feed people throughout the world remains a key research priority.
This 2016 REE Action Plan Progress Report demonstrates progress in support of the REE Action Plan. The agencies reporting significant accomplishments in 2016 in support of the REE Action plan include:
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the largest intramural research agency of USDA. ARS has a workforce of approximately 8,000 employees, including 2,000 life and physical scientists, engineers, and veterinarians who represent a wide range of disciplines and work at more than 90 locations across the country and at 5 overseas laboratories. The ARS research agenda is broad, with about 700 research projects organized under 4 major program areas: Nutrition, Food Safety, and Quality; Animal Production and Protection; Natural Resources and Sustainable Agricultural Systems; and Crop Production and Protection.
The Economic Research Service (ERS), USDA’s primary source of economic information and analysis and economic and social science research. The mission of ERS is to inform and enhance public and private decision making on economic and policy issues related to agriculture, food, the environment, and rural development.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), USDA’s statistical agency. NASS conducts hundreds of surveys every year and prepares reports covering virtually every aspect of U.S. agriculture. The statistical data provided by NASS is essential to the public and private sectors for making effective policy, production, and marketing decisions on a wide range of agricultural commodities. NASS also conducts statistical science research on survey design, sampling, and other methodological issue areas. NASS works closely with the States in determining their agricultural profiles.
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the primary extramural research, education, and extension funding agency of USDA. Its mission is to invest in and advance agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges. Some of funding opportunities are specific to the Land-Grant University System, and others open to participation by other academic institutions, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and even private sector entities.
Other USDA Organizations: While other USDA organizations, such as Forest Service (FS) Research and Development (R&D), do not directly fall within REE mission area jurisdiction, their contribution is vital to USDA’s science agenda. Forest Service R&D provides the basic and applied science that underpins the agency’s efforts to promote resilient forests and sustainable communities that can adapt to forest threats such as climate change, fire, and insect and disease infestations. The knowledge and information gained from this research benefits the American public by improving the health and productivity of the Nation’s forests, and the quality of life of communities by providing protection from fire, improving water and air quality, and supporting other ecosystem services in urban and rural communities.
REE Action Plan Framework
The REE Action Plan is designed to guide and help coordinate research activity across the Department and inform other agricultural research entities. It provides further delineation of USDA’s research priorities and remains the roadmap for promoting innovations related to agricultural science and education. The Action Plan describes the seven goals that reflect the full scope and variety of REE activities:
Goal 1: Local and Global Food Supply and Security
Goal 2: Responding to Climate and Energy Needs
Goal 3. Sustainable Use of Natural Resources
Goal 4. Nutrition and Childhood Obesity
Goal 5. Food Safety
Goal 6. Education and Science Literacy
Goal 7. Rural-Urban Interdependence and Prosperity
The REE Action Plan contains brief descriptions of some recent REE successes for each of the seven goals achieved from the USDA investment in food, natural resources, and agricultural research; education; and technology transfer. The last section of the report also contains a specific metrics chart.