March 3, 2020
With the help of the USDA Office of the Chief Scientist, Economic Research Service researchers worked with national program managers at USDA agencies to develop an inventory of projects and programs that directly accelerate the development and use of automation or mechanization for specialty crops between 2008 and 2018.
In a study, "Developing Automation and Mechanization for Specialty Crops: A Review of U.S. Department of Agriculture Programs." ERS researchers examined funding amounts, projects and technology for the six programs in the Agricultural Marketing Service, Agricultural Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture that support the development and use of automation or mechanization in the production or processing of U.S. specialty crops.
From 2008 to 2018, these programs invested $287.7 million in 213 projects to develop and enhance the use of automation or mechanization in specialty crop production and processing. Projects included a broad spectrum of technologies.
USDA has three Rural Development programs that support the infrastructure needed for adoption of automation or mechanization. The programs were targeted toward rural infrastructure that supported or enabled the automation or mechanization technologies to function. From 2010 to 2018, $3.4 billion was invested in 280 digital infrastructure projects that facilitate the use of automation or mechanization in specialty crop production and processing.
In 2017, specialty crops comprised one-third of U.S. crop receipts and one-sixth of receipts of all U.S. agricultural products. Many specialty crops are labor-intensive in production, harvesting or processing. A long-term decline in the farm labor supply in the U.S. has encouraged producers to invest in labor-saving technologies.
Source: USDA Economic Research Service, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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