NAWG Director of Research and Technology Jane DeMarchi represented growers at an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) stakeholder workshop this week, urging the researchers in attendance to look for opportunities to collaborate with their peers and work to communicate more effectively with lay people about their projects.
DeMarchi was invited to be one of six stakeholder speakers at the meeting, which was held as part of a planning process for the next five years of ARS National Program 303, which focuses on plant diseases.
In her remarks, DeMarchi noted that stakeholders know the value of the work USDA researchers do and are eager to advocate for their work before Congress and in other venues.
However, information about how particular projects will benefit a crop’s growers must be understandable to people without scientific backgrounds and include return-on-investment information.
“The strategic plan needs to lay out the specific work that you will be doing by crop synthesized into a readable format that covers each phase from diagnosis, detection and characterization, to engineering resistance and developing control methods,” she said.
Overall, DeMarchi noted, each commodity group should be able to easily describe the impact to its crop of ARS work, which is currently challenging due to the scope of projects and the number of researchers and locations involved.
Following the stakeholder presentations, DeMarchi helped to facilitate a crop-specific breakout session on how research supports the industry.
Stakeholder meetings like the one this week are part of a regular series of outreach meetings ARS holds as part of its planning process, but only happen every five years or so in accordance with each program area’s cycle.
To read DeMarchi’s full remarks, please visit www.wheatworld.org/research.