POWER & PROMISE : Agbioscience in the North Central United States
The Importance of North Central Experiment Stations, Extension Services and their Land-grant Universities in the Global Bioscience Economy
The North Central Region’s Agricultural Extension Services and Experiment Stations are a foundation on which the $125 billion, 2.4 million job agriculture-driven industry in the region is built. This industry is already the most sophisticated and productive agriculture, forestry and value-added products system ever created, and it is poised to expand significantly with new markets such as novel health, specialty crops, biofuels and biobased products. Using just biobased products as an example, it is estimated that there is a potential to replace up to two-thirds of petro-based chemicals with agricultural-based materials, representing 50,000 different products—a $1 trillion global market.
There are similar opportunities with novel health, food safety, biofuels, and environmental technologies, each of which has potential to create thousands of new jobs and knowledge-based companies across the North Central region and the United States. Sustaining and protecting current agricultural value-chain production, while realizing the potential of exciting new economic opportunities, requires support for the fundamental scientific research and translational support mechanisms contained within land-grant agricultural experiment tations and extension services. The land-grant system has played a central role in the rise of American agriculture to global preeminence, but the scale of opportunities contained in a fast-expanding bio-based 21st century economy warrant considerably more attention be paid to these core institutions.
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