ARS' Research Activities

RCED-96-153R: Published: Jun 14, 1996. Publicly Released: Jun 14, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) research activities. GAO noted that: (1) as of January 1996, ARS had funded 1,198 research projects at an estimated cost of $648 million, which accounted for 91 percent of its fiscal year (FY) 1996 research appropriation; (2) ARS plans to allocate an additional $24 million to new or renewed projects in FY 1996; (3) the remaining $38 million of its FY 1996 research appropriation went to the National Agriculture Library, repair and maintenance expenses, and miscellaneous needs; (4) plant productivity research accounted for 43 percent of all projects and 35 percent of ARS research funds, commodity conversion and delivery research accounted for 18 percent and 21 percent, respectively, and animal productivity research accounted for 13 percent and 17 percent, respectively; (5) 495 projects valued at $257 million involved mostly nonbasic research, 432 projects valued at $220 million were outside high-priority research areas, and 148 projects valued at $78 million involved nonbasic research outside high-priority research areas; (6) 42 projects valued at $32 million were not likely to be subject to peer reviews and 173 projects valued at $114 million had specific, identifiable beneficiaries; and (7) ARS proposed to discontinue 50 projects valued at $28 million to streamline its budget request.

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