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SEARCHING FOR IDENTITY: USDA Undersecretary Mylie Gonzalez wants to give the agency a higher research profile. Image is everything for federal agencies that compete for a frozen pool of research dollars. Congress associates the National Institutes of Health with cancer cures, the National Science Foundation with sound basic research, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) with subsidies, according to USDA officials. Although USDA will spend $1.6 billion on basic and applied re

Paul Smaglik

Mylie Gonzalez
SEARCHING FOR IDENTITY: USDA Undersecretary Mylie Gonzalez wants to give the agency a higher research profile.
Image is everything for federal agencies that compete for a frozen pool of research dollars. Congress associates the National Institutes of Health with cancer cures, the National Science Foundation with sound basic research, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) with subsidies, according to USDA officials.

Although USDA will spend $1.6 billion on basic and applied research in nutrition and food safety in 1998, "we don't really have a research identity," says Mylie Gonzalez, USDA Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics (REE). That's not to say the department doesn't have a research agenda. REE promotes five general research goals: making American agriculture competitive in a global economy, providing a safe food system, increasing the nutrition of the U.S. population, providing harmony between farming and the environment, and promoting rural development.

However, that agenda,...

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