Should the government fund research?

As Congress fights over the federal budget and a nation debt that has surpassed 16 trillion dollars.....every dollar is under the microscope. Many will question if the government should fund research. In 2012 UNL received about $250 million dollars in government funding with about $90 million for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

In a interview with KNEB/Rural Radio Network,UNL Dean of Extension Chuck Hibberd says government support for research is needed. He says the money from the state and county level is used to fund faculty positions. That helps maintenance a unbiased research approach. Further Hibberd says if all research funding came through a competitive grant basis, researchers would be reactive.

In the UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources about half of the college's funding come from government sources - from the federal, state and county level, 25 percent from commodity boards and 25 percent comes from private companies. As the economy continues to struggle and government funding declines, Hibberd says there is a greater focus on private research funding. By having a diverse portolio is important. He says with 25 percent of research funding from corporate partners, he says those partners don't dominate the mix.

In continuing to focus on feeding 9 billion people by 2050, Dr. Hibberd says its Nebraska role in feeding the growing world population. In having a food secure world people are less likely to revolt or carry out terrorist activities against the US. Secondly this is a huge economic factor for US. He says the food the US produces we produce will generate income for our farmers and ranchers. He says that is critically important income going forward.

At least one in 12 American jobs is tied directly to agriculture In Nebraska that number is one in three jobs is tied to agriculture.

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