The Secretary shall conduct research and extension projects to obtain data, develop conclusions, demonstrate technologies, and conduct educational programs that promote the purposes of this part, including research and extension projects that—
(1)facilitate and increase scientific investigation and education in order to—
(A)reduce, to the extent feasible and practicable, the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and toxic natural materials in agricultural production;
(B)improve low-input farm management to enhance agricultural productivity, profitability, and competitiveness; and
(C)promote crop, livestock, and enterprise diversification; and
(2)facilitate the conduct of projects in order to—
(A)study, to the extent practicable, agricultural production systems that are located in areas that possess various soil, climate, and physical characteristics;
(B)study farms that have been, and will continue to be, managed using farm production practices that rely on low-input and conservation practices;
(C)take advantage of the experience and expertise of farmers and ranchers through their direct participation and leadership in projects;
(D)transfer practical, reliable and timely information to farmers and ranchers concerning low-input sustainable farming practices and systems; and
(E)promote a partnership between farmers, nonprofit organizations, agribusiness, and public and private research and extension institutions.
The Secretary shall carry out this section through agreements entered into with land-grant colleges or universities, other universities, State agricultural experiment stations, the State cooperative extension services, nonprofit organizations with demonstrable expertise, or Federal or State governmental entities.
(c) Selection of projects
(1) In general
The Secretary shall select research and extension projects to be conducted under this section on the basis of—
(A)the relevance of the project to the purposes of this part;
(B)the appropriateness of the design of the project;
(C)the likelihood of obtaining the objectives of the project; and
(D)the national or regional applicability of the findings and outcomes of the proposed project.
In conducting projects under this section, the Secretary shall give priority to projects that—
(A)closely coordinate research and extension activities;
(B)indicate the manner in which the findings of the project will be made readily usable by farmers;
(C)maximize the involvement and cooperation of farmers, including projects involving on-farm research and demonstration;
(D)involve a multidisciplinary systems approach; and
(E)involve cooperation between farms, non-profit organizations, colleges and universities, and government agencies.
(d) Diversification of research
The Secretary shall conduct projects and studies under this section in areas that are broadly representative of the diversity of United States agricultural production, including production on family farms, mixed-crop livestock farms and dairy operations.
(e) On-farm research
The Secretary may conduct projects and activities that involve on-farm research and demonstration in carrying out this section.
(f) Impact studies
The Secretary may approve study projects concerning the national and regional economic, global competitiveness, social and environmental implications of the adoption of low-input sustainable agricultural practices and systems.
(g) Project duration
(1) In general
The Secretary may approve projects to be conducted under this section that have a duration of more than one fiscal year.
(2) Sequence planting
In the case of a research project conducted under this section that involves the planting of a sequence of crops or crop rotations, the Secretary shall approve such projects for a term that is appropriate to the sequence or rotation being studied.
(h) Public access
The Secretary shall ensure that research projects conducted under this section are open for public observation at specified times.
(1) In general
Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary may indemnify the operator of a project conducted under this section for damage incurred or undue losses sustained as a result of a rigid requirement of research or demonstration under such project that is not experienced in normal farming operations.
(2) Subject to agreement
An indemnity payment under paragraph (1) shall be subject to any agreement between a project grantee and operator entered into prior to the initiation of such project.
1996—Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 104–127, § 860(c)(2)(A), redesignated subpars. (B) to (E) as (A) to (D), respectively, and struck out former subpar. (A) which read as follows: “the recommendations of the Advisory Council;”.
Subsec. (c)(2). Pub. L. 104–127, § 860(c)(2)(B), redesignated subpars. (B) to (F) as (A) to (E), respectively, and struck out former subpar. (A) which read as follows: “are recommended by the Advisory Council;”.
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