Agbioscience, particularly its value to agriculture and forestry, is vital to a strong economic future in the South, according to a study recently released.
"Impact and Innovation: Agbioscience in the Southern United States," was directed by Battelle, an independent globally recognized research and development organization headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. The study was conducted for the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors and the Association of Southern Regional Extension Directors.
Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries production generates $240 billion in regional economic activity annually within the South and supports more than 2.2 million jobs with labor income totaling $62 billion, according to the study. Downstream value, or the value added through processing, adds another $1 trillion and almost 4.6 million jobs with labor income totaling over $200 billion.
"The current and future importance of the agbiosciences is hard to overstate," said Battelle's Simon Tripp, a co-author of the report. "For instance, this science and industry sector is fundamental to the survival of the world's expanding population, the food security of our nation, and the health of our population."
The study places land-grant university Extension services and experiment station systems on the frontline of sustaining the country's competitiveness in what is, and will be, a sector of core strategic importance, and leverage technology and advancements into real-world adoption.
"The findings from this study underscore agbioscience's potential in the Southern region," said Saied Mostaghimi, chair of the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors. "By utilizing the research and development power of our land-grant universities, we can develop the knowledge and appropriate technologies to further increase agriculture and forestry production for food, fiber, and fuel, while improving food safety and nutrition, enhancing environmental stewardship, and promoting economic development."
"Throughout our hundred-year history, Cooperative Extension has set the pace of change in agriculture, natural resources and rural America," said Beverly Sparks, chair of the Association of Southern Region Extension Directors and University of Georgia's associate dean for Extension. "In today's fast-changing world, we must provide the best decision-making tools and Extension education possible to farmers, ranchers, families and communities. It is imperative the Southern region be well-prepared to take advantage of the tremendous potential we have before us."
"The Southern region is a global leader in traditional agricultural economic activity, and can count itself as one of a select few regions in the world that is also leading the charge in emerging areas of the modern bioeconomy," Tripp said.
To find out more, or to read the report go to www.lsuagcenter.com/southernagbioscienceimpact