Feeding the World
Agricultural Research in the Twenty-First Century
Agricultural History - Agriculture
6 x 9, 344 pp.
11 tables. 24 graphs. Bib. Index.
Pub Date: 04/22/2016
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Service Series
Price:        $35.00 s

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Feeding the World

Agricultural Research in the Twenty-First Century

Gale A. Buchanan

The astounding success of agricultural research has enabled farmers to produce increasingly more—and more kinds—of food throughout the world. But with a projected 9 billion people to feed by 2050, veteran researcher Gale Buchanan fears that human confidence in this ample supply, especially in the US, has created unrealistic expectations for the future. Without a working knowledge of what types and amounts of research produced the bounty we enjoy today, we will not be prepared to support the research necessary to face the challenges ahead, including population growth, climate change, and water and energy scarcity.

In this book, Buchanan describes the historical commitment to research and the phenomenal changes it brought to our ability to feed ourselves. He also prescribes a path for the future, pointing the way toward an adequately funded, more creative agricultural research system that involves scientists, administrators, educators, farmers, politicians, and consumers; resides in one “stand alone” agency; enjoys a consistent funding stream; and operates internationally.

GALE A. BUCHANAN of Adel, Georgia, is former dean of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and former undersecretary at USDA. He is coauthor of Leadership in Agriculture: Case Studies for a New Generation.

What Readers Are Saying:

“If you have not been on a farm or ranch in the last five years, you do not understand agriculture in the early twenty-first century. Dr. Buchanan provides a thoughtful, historical portrayal of the importance and contributions of agricultural research to today’s world of food production, primarily borrowing from historical fact and personal experience. He then strategically pivots to not only challenge today’s academic and political leaders, but also provide them a possible roadmap to a viable sustainable solution for meeting the research needs for food production in the future.”—Charlie Stenholm

“I know of no other reference book that has so much extremely valuable data in it as this one. It shows the challenges we face, accomplishments achieved, and a look at the future. What makes this book even more interesting are the many personal stories put in it by Gale Buchanan . . . real life stories from the 'battle fields' of agriculture. In a word, this book is terrific.”—John Patrick Jordan, coauthor of Leadership in Agriculture: Case Studies for a New Generation

“This book makes a powerful case for the importance of agricultural research and increased funding. It also strongly suggests organizational changes that I strongly support. In addition, there is a strong dose of much needed land grant history. I salute you and express thanks for this huge undertaking. If embraced by those who have decision-making power, this book could be revolutionary.” — Stanley P. Wilson

“Gale Buchanan’s important and timely book should be mandatory reading for all agriculturists both in the field and in the halls where government policy is made. Dr. Buchanan shows us that the wise investment in, and use of knowledge past, present and future is the only path forward that can deliver agricultural abundance to a hungry world.”—A.G. Kawamura

“Dr. Buchanan’s book is a groundbreaking effort to describe the central role of the land-grant system to the agricultural science mission of the country; outline the research funding structures in place and illustrate how these are unsustainable. He has made an overall case for the significance of agricultural science in the U.S. and across the world. This book has tremendous value not only from a historical standpoint, but also as an overall foundational basis for understanding and appreciating agricultural science as a whole.”—Diane Rowland

“Agriculture owes a heart-felt compliment to Dr. Buchanan on his vision, goals, and content set forth to prioritize agricultural research as the best hope for civilization. Agriculture has its roots in research and that context is found in this thorough volume – a must-read for the agricultural food chain from consumers to growers, to agribusiness, government, and academia. Dr. Buchanan has assembled his wisdom and thoughts based on a long and accomplished career working in and advocating for agricultural research. His expertise and personal experience in crop protection with both the public and private sectors made the references to the contributions of weed science and the benefits of pesticides particularly valuable. Dr. Buchanan has described the success of agricultural research and the challenge we face to continue to enhance societal benefits with his thoughtful focus on the importance of future investment in knowledge. His hopeful and positive outlook will be realized! I am confident that through research, we will continue to provide growers with the tools and technologies to advance production of affordable and healthful foods that are safe to health and the environment.”—Jay Vroom

“The unique contribution of this book is that it reflects heavily the experiences and perspectives of one of the few individuals who has had extensive experience in leading both State and Federal agricultural research institutions, and who witnessed first-hand the profound changes that have occurred in American agriculture since the mid-20th Century.” — Keith Fuglie

“Dr. Buchanan lays out for us the factors that led to the creation of the agricultural research establishment in the United States that has contributed to freeing farmers from stoop labor, has produced an abundance of nourishing and safe foods and has made it possible for America to develop industry. He challenges us to recognize that the need for continuing to support the American agricultural production system through research funding is critical to meeting the food, feed, and fuel needs of a growing world population.” — Caird Rexroad

"First of all, it is a thorough and well-articulated treatment of the history of agricultural research. Gale makes a strong case for the need to increase agricultural research if we are to successfully cope with the production needed to feed the more than 9 billion people expected by 2050. Gale also lays out with considerable courage some of the game changing agricultural research challenges that need considerable study to move them toward solution."—Edward C.A. Runge, Professor Emeritus

"He has done an outstanding job in fully developing the case for societal support for agricultural research and has explained, in a compelling way, the need for the  US and other nations to enhance our commitment to agricultural research in order to insure future food security and sustain civilization. The book makes a critical contribution to the literature of society. This should be required reading for all agricultural scientists."—Dan R. Upchurch


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