About REE

3 people working in a laboratory

The Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area of the U. S. Department of Agriculture has Federal leadership responsibility for Advancing scientific knowledge related to agriculture through research, extension, and education.

Imagine a world in which…

…Radically improved children’s diets and nutrition slash long-term health care costs in the United States;

…Farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners are recognized as significant contributors to large and sustainable reductions in global greenhouse gases;

…Farmers in sub-Saharan Africa have easy, affordable access to new seeds and animal breeds so well adapted to local conditions and so resilient to changing conditions that they feed five times as many people domestically and eliminate persistent hunger;

…Trends in availability of high-quality water and new options for watershed management outpace increasing demand for water even as climate change alters the geography of water resources; and

…Technologically advanced production, processing, and foodborne pathogen detection methods make food product recalls nonexistent.


No. These goals are achievable, but doing so is powerfully dependent on the food, agricultural, and natural resource science conducted by the four in USDA’s mission area of Research, Education, and Economics.  

  • The National Institutes of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is USDA’s primary extramural research funding agency. Its mission is to advance knowledge for agriculture, the environment, and human health and wellbeing by funding targeted research, education, and extension projects and programs, some of which are specific to the Land-Grant University System, others open to participation by other partner organizations.
  • The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the largest intramural research agency of USDA. ARS has a workforce of around 8,000 employees, including 2,500 life and physical scientists who represent a wide range of disciplines and who work at more than 100 locations across the country and at five overseas laboratories. The ARS research agenda is broad, with about 1,200 research projects organized under 4 major program areas: Nutrition, Food Safety and Food Quality; Animal Production and Protection; Natural Resources and Sustainable Agricultural Systems; and Crop Production and Protection.
  • The Economic Research Service (ERS) is USDA’s primary source of economic information and economic and social science research. ERS’ mission is to anticipate economic and policy issues related to food, agriculture, the environment, and rural development, and conduct research that informs public program and policy decisions.
  • The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is committed to providing timely, accurate, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture. Its reports cover virtually every aspect of U.S. agriculture, including production and supplies of food and fiber, prices paid and received by farmers, farm labor and wages, farm finances, chemical use, and changes in the demographics of U.S. producers.

We invite browsers to visit the websites of these REE agencies or contact the individual agencies to further explore REE programs. In particular, we welcome young people to consider joining us in a rewarding profession in which the creation and dissemination of knowledge contributes to the well being of the entire human race.