Recent research finds that the Missouri agricultural research network delivered the highest return on investment in the continental U.S. over 40 years
Oct. 22, 2009
Christian Basi, BasiC@missouri.edu, 573-882-4430
COLUMBIA, Mo. – In today’s economy, it’s difficult to find good investments with high rates of return. According to a new study from the University of Nebraska, Missouri agriculture might be one of those good investments. The study found that the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station, part of the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, delivered a 37 percent rate of return over a 42-year period, the highest from any agricultural experiment station in the continental U.S.
“This means that for every dollar invested in Missouri’s Agricultural Experiment Station, investors got $1.37 back,” said Lilyan Fulginiti, researcher and professor of agricultural economics at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. “This beats the 9 percent and 12 percent average returns of the S&P 500 and NASDAQ composite indexes during the same period. It would have been better to invest in agricultural research and development in Missouri than putting that money in the stock market. This means that new technologies developed in Missouri are very, very good for Missouri producers as they allow reductions in cost, or increases in productivity in the state—much more so than in other states.”
Fulginiti, along with Alejandro Plastina, an economist at the International Cotton Advisory Committee, measured the amount of crops, livestock and agricultural economic activity directly created by research at agricultural experiment stations, as well as infrastructure enhancements. The Missouri AES, established at MU in 1888, is an agricultural and natural resources research entity. In additional to its campus facilities, the AES operates a system of centers, farms and forests across the state. These function as outdoor laboratories for agricultural life sciences research and demonstration projects.
The station specializes in enhancing the productivity of beef and dairy production, forestry, natural resource development, and numerous farm crops such as soybeans. According to the researchers, part of what contributed to the Missouri AES’ profitability was research that developed livestock-feeding guidelines, which optimized cattle’s weight-gaining processes and reduced time-to-market for livestock.
“I was very excited to read this study,” said Marc Linit, associate dean of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and associate director of the Missouri AES. “I have always thought that we provided excellent research and demonstration projects to support the agricultural sector in the state of Missouri. This study shows that we have been excellent stewards of the investment made in the AES by the taxpayers of the state.”