Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service
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The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), part of the executive branch of the federal government. The 1994 Department Reorganization Act, passed by Congress, created CSREES by combining the former Cooperative State Research Service and the Extension Service into a single agency. Colien Hefferan currently serves as the agency's Administrator.
CSREES' mission is to "advance agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities" by supporting research, education, and extension programs at land-grant universities and other organizations it partners with. CSREES doesn't conduct its own research; it provides funding and leadership to land-grant universities and competitively granted awards to researchers in partner organizations. CSREES' areas of involvement span across 60 programs in the biological, physical, and social sciences related to agricultural research, economic analysis, statistics, extension, and higher education.
CSREES administers federal appropriations through three funding tools: competitive grants, formula grants, and congressionally directed funding.
Competitive grants are awarded to applicants upon the recommendation of a peer-review panel. CSREES' competitive programs include the National Research Initiative, the Small Business Innovation Research Program, the Biotechnology Risk Assessment Program, and Outreach for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers.
CSREES supports research and extension activities at land-grant institutions through federal funds that are appropriated to states on the basis of statutory, population-based formulas. CSREES' formula grants are directed to state experiment stations, the Cooperative Extension System, and Cooperative Forestry Programs. In most cases, the states are required to match the federal formula dollars with nonfederal contributions. The four CSREES research funding programs for land-grant universities are (1) Hatch, (2) Multistate Research (a subset of Hatch), (3) McIntire-Stennis, and (4) Animal Health.
The purpose of the Hatch program is to support "research basic to problems of agriculture in its broadest aspects" by
- establishing and maintaining a permanent and effective national agriculture industry (which includes concern for environmental quality),
- promoting sound and prosperous rural life, and,
- improving the welfare of the consumer (e.g., food safety and nutrition).
Multistate Research Projects
Twenty-five percent of the funds allocated under the Hatch Act are designated by CSREES for support of Multistate Research Fund (MRF) Projects. These are projects that focus on problems common to two or more states. Suggestions for MRF Projects often originate with the interested scientists; however, directors of the various state agricultural experiment station frequently establish technical committees that are charged with preparing a research project to address broadly recognized problems. Each experiment station director designates the researcher who will represent the station on the technical committee. Individual directors make the decision as to the amount of MRF funds to allocate to a given project for support of research at that station.
McIntire-Stennis Forestry Research Program
The McIntire-Stennis Act provides for an annual allocation of funds through CSREES for support of research related to forestry (including urban) problems. The basic purpose of the act is to "establish research in forestry as a definite and specific part of the agricultural research programs that are carried out cooperatively by the USDA and the land-grant colleges." The act more specifically defines forestry research as including investigations relating to
- reforestation and management of land for production of timber and related products of the forest, and management of forest and related watershed lands to improve conditions of waterflow and protect resources against floods and erosions;
- management of forest and related rangeland for domestic livestock and game and improvement of food and habitat for wildlife; protection of forest land and resources;
- utilization of wood and other forest products; and such other studies as may be necessary to obtain the fullest and most effective use of forest resources.
Animal Health & Disease Research
The Food and Agriculture Act of 1977, as amended by the Agriculture and Food Act of 1981, provides funding for research to animal health, which is allocated by formula to colleges of veterinary medicine and state agricultural experiment stations. The act specifies that animal research should
- promote the general welfare through improved health and productivity of domestic livestock, poultry, aquatic animals, and other income-producing animals that are essential to the nation's food supply and the welfare of producers and consumers of animal products;
- improve the health of horses;
- facilitate the effective treatment of, and, where possible, prevent animal and poultry diseases in both domesticated and wild animals which, if not controlled, would be disastrous to the United States livestock and poultry industries and endanger the nation's food supply;
- minimize livestock and poultry losses due to transportation and handling;
- protect human health through control of animal diseases transmissible to humans;
- improve methods of controlling the birth of predators and other animals;
- otherwise to promote the general welfare through expanded programs of research and extension.
Congressional Directed Funding
Congress directs CSREES to fund and administer certain programs each year through special appropriations accounts. In general, the Executive Branch does not support the inclusion of these programs in the president's annual budget submission to Congress. Examples of projects include: the Expert Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Decision Support System; Global Change, UV-B Monitoring; IPM and Biological Control; Minor Crop Pest Management, IR-4; and Minor Use Animal Drugs.
CSREES is the USDA's extramural research agency, funding individuals; institutions; and public, private, and non-profit organizations. Its research programs address issues affecting 13 national emphasis areas:
- Agriculture and Food Biosecurity
- Agricultural Systems
- Animals & Animal Products
- Biotechnology & Genomics
- Economics & Commerce
- Families, Youth & Communities
- Food, Nutrition & Health
- Natural Resources & Environment
- Pest Management
- Plants & Plant Products
- Technology & Engineering
Supported research falls into three categories:
- Basic research: discovers the underlying processes and systems that make a plant, animal, ecosystem, community, or marketplace work.
- Applied research: expands on basic research to uncover practical ways this knowledge can benefit individuals and society.
- Integrated research: research is expected to generate new knowledge and/or apply existing knowledge quickly through dissemination of information on specific issues.
Education programs support all CSREES emphasis areas and promote teaching excellence, enhance academic quality, and help develop the scientific and professional workforce. CSREES continues a federal-state teaching partnership started in 1977 by strengthening agricultural and science literacy in K-12 education, improving higher education curricula, and increasing the diversity and quality of future graduates to enter the workforce.
In 1981, Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) was established to promote agricultural literacy in classrooms across the country. Today, AITC provides lesson plans, professional development opportunities, and teacher recognition programs for teachers, as well as maintains a national resource directory and other sources of public information on K-12 agricultural education issues.
Cooperative Extension System
The Cooperative Extension System is a non-formal educational program implemented in the United States designed to help people use research-based knowledge to improve their lives. The service is provided by the state's designated land-grant universities. In most states the educational offerings are in the areas of agriculture and food, home and family, the environment, community economic development, and youth and 4-H. The National 4-H Headquarters is located within the Families, 4-H, and Nutrition unit of CSREES.
The Smith-Lever Act, which was passed in 1914, established the partnership between agricultural colleges and the USDA to support agricultural extension work. The act also stated that USDA provide each state with funds based on a population-related formula. Today, CSREES distributes these so-called formula grants annually in cooperation with state and county governments and land-grant universities.
Traditionally, each county of all 50 states had a local extension office. This number has declined as some county offices have consolidated into regional extension centers. Today, there are approximately 2,900 extension offices nationwide.
The extension system is collaborating on a new initiative called eXtension (pronounced "e-extension"). eXtension is an Internet-based portal where citizens have 24-hour access to specialized information and education on a wide range of topics. Information is organized into Communities of Practice that include articles, news, events, and frequently asked questions that come from land-grant university faculty and staff experts. It is based on unbiased research and undergoes peer review prior to publication.
This table summarizes the cooperative extension programs in each state. (Under the 1890 amendment to the Morrill Act, if a state's land-grant university was not open to all races, a separate land-grant university had to be established for each race. Hence, some states have more than one land-grant university.)
- CSREES Website
- eXtension Website
- National 4-H Headquarters Website
- Locater map of county extension offices
- Proposed and finalized federal regulations from the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service
- About CSREES
- NIFA Guidelines
- CSREES Overview
- Federal Assistance
- http://www.cuaes.cornell.edu/CUAESWeb/funding.htm Retrieved 2007-10-22.
- PL 87-788
- PL 95-113
- PL 97-98.
- "Education Overview". CSREES website. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
- http://www.csrees.usda.gov/qlinks/partners/partners_list.pdf Retrieve 2007-10-22.
- Although Tuskeegee University has been a private university, it began to receive Cooperative Extension funding in 1972.