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Developing Automation and Mechanization for Specialty Crops: A Review of U.S. Department of Agriculture Programs: A Report to Congress

Gregory Astill, Agnes Perez and Suzanne Thornsbury

No 320792, Administrative Publications from United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service

Abstract: At $64.7 billion, specialty crops comprised one-third of U.S. crop receipts and one-sixth of receipts for all agricultural products in 2017. Relative to other crops, many specialty crops are more dependent on agricultural labor for production, harvesting, and processing. Title VII, Section 7610 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 includes a request to identify programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that accelerate the development and use of automation or mechanization in the production or processing of specialty crops. USDA has six such programs in the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) that funded $287.7 million (nominal) towards 213 projects from 2008 to 2018. USDA has three programs in Rural Development (RD) that funded $3.4 billion toward 280 projects from 2010 to 2018 to support the digital infrastructure needed for adoption of automation or mechanization. Each program is designed differently to achieve unique objectives: funding for specialty crop automation or mechanization projects is only a subcomponent of each program identified. The diverse purposes, origins, oversight, and funding mechanisms of these programs have implications for how research areas are prioritized and funded.

Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy; Community/Rural/Urban Development; Crop Production/Industries; Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 25
Date: 2020-02
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DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.320792

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