I appreciate this opportunity to appear on your NACTA program and to talk with you about a topic which is critical to all of us - the expertise essential for a sound and progressive agriculture in our nation.
We are concerned about the declining enrollment in our agricultural programs nationwide. Enrollment in our land-grant colleges of agriculture has declined nearly 25 percent in the past five years. This, coupled with a shortage of agricultural scientists and an unusually high percent of faculty who are of retirement age, has created a national concern for the expertise needed to respond to the challenges of the next 16 years and on into the 21st Century. Many sectors are addressing the issue. Secretary of Agriculture John Block held a Challenge Forum on this topic early this year and a AAAS Seminar on "Shortage of Agricultural Scientists - Scenario for the Future" was held in New York on May 29, 1984. The Joint Council on Food and Agricultural Sciences has ranked the development of Scientific Expertise second only to Basic Biotechnology Research in eight national priorities for 1985.