The accumulated evidence from studies by agricultural economists consistently and convincingly shows that the United States has persistently underinvested in research directed towards enhancing farm productivity. The evidence clearly shows that the benefits to the nation from such investments have been consistently many times greater than the costs. The same may be true of other types of agricultural research (and indeed on other types of scientific, industrial, and medical research) but much less evidence is available on the returns to research in these other areas; in many cases the benefits are much more difficult to demonstrate. In the light of the evidence that is available, it is difficult to justify a reduction in total research funding or, in particular, a reduction of funding for research related to farm productivity enhancement.
Alston, Julian M.; Pardey, Philip G. (2007) "U.S. Agricultural Research and Technology Policy for the 21st Century," Perspectives on 21st Century Agriculture: A Tribute to Walter J. Armbruster, Farm Foundation.