Opinion | The USDA should expand its research programs

Spread the love

Regarding the Nov. 3 news article “Linked to Russia probe, nominee for USDA’s chief scientist post withdraws”:

Only in Washington can one be 100 percent wrong and 100 percent right at the same time.

Consider Sam Clovis. His nomination to be the Agriculture Department’s chief scientist was met with scorn for his lack of scientific credentials, and yet few within the media looked beyond discussion of his qualifications to examine the needs and mission of the USDA programs that he would lead.

The USDA’s research programs are woefully underfunded. China spends more than twice what the U.S. government spends in this area, and, not by mere coincidence, that country’s farmers produce more than ours do.

We need a chief scientist at USDA who can rapidly expand our capabilities so we can regain our prominence. This should not be a position where politics is a primary ingredient.

Thomas P. Grumbly, Arlington

The writer is president of the Supporters of Agricultural Research Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization focused on increasing the quantity and quality of U.S. agricultural research.