Consensus Report

Science Breakthroughs to Advance Food and Agricultural Research by 2030 (2018)

Each report is produced by a committee of experts selected by the Academy to address a particular statement of task and is subject to a rigorous, independent peer review; while the reports represent views of the committee, they also are endorsed by the Academy. Learn more on our expert consensus reports.

The United States has been the world's leading agricultural producer for many years. Today the U.S. food and agriculture system faces formidable challenges and will be tested as world food production must double to meet the needs of a global population expected to reach 8.6 billion by 2030. In addition, natural systems in many regions are stressed by water scarcity, increased weather variability, floods, and droughts.

This report concludes that stresses on the U.S. food and agricultural enterprise will not be resolved if business as usual prevails. Innovation is needed to make the U.S. food and agricultural system more efficient, resilient, and sustainable. Using input from the broad scientific community, the report identifies five scientific breakthrough areas that could have the greatest positive impact on food and agriculture:

1. Transdisciplinary Research and Systems Approach
2. Sensing Technologies
3. Data Science and Agri-Food Informatics
4. Genomics and Precision Breeding
5. Microbiome

The report also recommends investing in physical and cyber infrastructures, engaging non-agricultural professionals, and recruiting talented individuals into food and agriculture research.