Research and Extension Programs to Aid Small Farms

RCED-83-83: Published: Feb 9, 1983. Publicly Released: Feb 9, 1983.

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GAO reviewed the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) actions to implement the recommendations made in a 1975 GAO report to ensure that small-farm research and extension programs are practical, beneficial, and cost-effective.

The current GAO examination showed that research and extension services have been increased and that data collection activities have been expanded since the 1975 GAO report. However, to date USDA has neither: (1) developed data on the overall costs and benefits of small-farm extension activities; nor (2) adequately encouraged State extension services to establish procedures to identify small farmers most in need of assistance and to establish action plans to improve the participants' farming skills.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of the Federal Extension Service to work, cooperatively with the State extension services, to develop guidelines for carrying out special small-farm extension programs in a way that will provide technical assistance to the maximum number of small farmers and a means to collect data on and estimate the costs and benefits of small-farm extension program activities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture


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