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Technology Transfer in USDA

A Summary of Activities Technology transfer, broadly defined as "getting the results of research into the hands of those individuals and organizations who can put it into practical use" has long been a thrust of USDA Agencies. However, the Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-480) and the Technology Transfer Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-502) gave additional emphasis to this role for all Federal agencies. This was emphasized further by Presidential Executive Order 12591 entitled "Facilitating Access to Science and Technology" which was issued by President Reagan on April 19, 1987. The Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Science and Education was delegated the authority to coordinate USDA technology transfer activities and in December 1986 formed the Technology Transfer

Subcommittee under the auspices of the USDA Research and Education Committee. The objectives of this Subcommittee are to: • Serve as a focal point for interagency cooperation in coordinating and fostering joint

technology transfer efforts. • Identify potential policy issues and their ramifications for technology transfer within


• Serve as a forum for interagency awareness (information sharing) on planned or

ongoing technology transfer efforts by the respective agencies. • Identify joint technology transfer opportunities and develop mechanisms for

creating, funding, and facilitating these efforts at national, regional, and field levels. Eighteen USDA Agencies and organizations elected to become members of the Technology Transfer Subcommittee. They are: • Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
• Cooperative State Research Service (CSRS)
• Economic Research Service (ERS)
• Extension Service(ES)
• Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC)
• Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS)
• Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)
• Forest Service (FS)

Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
Human Nutrition Information Service (HNIS)
National Agricultural Library (NAL)
Office of General Counsel (serve as counsel only) (OGC)
Office of Governmental and Public Affairs (OGPA)

Office of International Cooperation and Development (OICD)
• Soil Conservation Service (SCS)
• World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB)

This report Technology Transfer: A Profile of Agency Activities in USDA is a result
of a cooperative effort among member agencies of the USDA Technology Transfer
Subcommittee. For additional information on USDA efforts and accomplishments in
technology transfer contact:
Associate Administrator
USDA - Extension Service
USDA Technology Transfer Subcommittee
Room 340A Administration Building
Washington, D.C. 20250
Phone: (202) 447-3381

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OF 1986 (P.L. 99-502)






The following are abbreviated mission statements and brief illustrations of technology transfer activities conducted by agencies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Agricultural Research Service

ARS conducts basic and applied research pertaining to soil and water conservation, plant sciences, animal sciences, commodity conversion and delivery, human nutrition, and integration of agricultural systems. The following are examples of accomplishments for 1988:

• 28 patents granted to ARS.
• 18 patent licenses issued to industry firms.
• Inventions reported totalled 139, an increase of 83% over the previous year.

45 Cooperative Reasearch and Development Agreements signed with industry firms,

and another 40 being negotiated. • 3600 reports on new research findings described on the ARS computerized TEKTRAN

system (Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System) and made available to industry firms, Cooperative Extension Services and government agencies.

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

APHIS conducts research and development in such areas as pest eradication, treatment of animal diseases, animal damage control and biocontrol. Recent accomplishments include:

• Development of monoclonal antibody transferred to industry for the veterinary

medicine market. • Toxicant for control of roosting blackbirds. • Technology to control predation on livestock.

Cooperative Extension System

The Extension Service is the USDA agency most directly associated with a technology transfer mission. As a model public sector technology transfer system, Extension networks with user groups to identify needs for new technology, integrates knowledge and technologies into user-oriented packages, and educates clientele to implement technology packages. Recent examples of technology transfer include:

• Establishment of Research Results Data Base which delivers USDA research findings

prior to "official" publication. • National Wood Products Extension Program (NWPEP), a joint project with the Forest Service's Forest Products Laboratory, provided lumber drying workshops in

Pennsylvania. These saved the industry $271,000. • 4 North Carolina firms use wood residues to save $450,000 per year in fuel costs. • A survey of homeowners revealed that 336 of 12,000 Texans saved $35,000 from

applying information received from Extension. • GOSSYM-COMAX, a computer-based simulation of cotton growth and yield, is being

tested to determine if it can provide reliable and accurate information for onfarm use. • Interdisciplinary chemigation task force appointed in Nebraska.

Cooperative State Research Service

In recent years, the Special Projects Unit in CSRS has been bridging the gap between research results and commercialization with demonstration projects. The identified projects began in 1986:

• Kenaf Demonstration Project began with a cooperative agreement with a venture

capital firm. The project's objective was gain acceptance for kenaf as a source fiber for the manufacture of newsprint. As a result of the demonstration, a $300 million kenaf newsprint mill will be constructed and 40,000 acres of unsubsidized kenaf will be

needed to fill the mill's needs. • Under a guayule domestic rubber project, the Department of Defense is providing $11

million to build and operate a prototype processing plant that will process 275 acres of guayule shrub into 50 tons of natural rubber, 100 tons of resin and low molecular weight rubber, and 1,600 tons of plant residue. Private sector, land grant universities and

USDA are investing in this project. • The market potential for the Hybrid Striped Bass is promising. Because of a

moratorium on striped bass fishing in the Chesapeake Bay, there is an immediate market shortfall of 14 million pounds. Private and government marketing experts estimate a beginning market of 54 million pounds -- equal to that of trout. At that production level, producers' gross income would be about $182 million.

Economic Research Service

ERS’ technology responsibilities involve economic analysis of the potential for new technologies to affect agricultural policies, commodity production and trade, financial well-being of the farm sector and rural economies, and agricultural resource utilization. Issues recently examined are:

• National, regional, and farm-level impacts of bovine somatropin (DST) also referred to

as bovine growth hormone (bGH) and its effects on the dairy industry. • Livestock growth hormones and the potential impacts of growth hormone adoption on

feed and grain demand, land use, farm income, international competitiveness, and on

food safety and product quality. • Cost and competitiveness of the ethanol industry and the potential for new technologies

to reduce production costs.

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