Agriculture plays a vital role in our economy. In 2015, agriculture and related industries contributed $992 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product (5.5 percent total
GDP) and provided 21 million jobs (11 percent of total U.S. employment).
However, when it comes to schools of agriculture, recent reports have shed light on the critical infrastructure needs all across the nation. One study, supported by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and published by Sightlines,
LLC in October 2015 estimated that the deferred maintenance backlog at schools of agriculture totaled $8.4 billion. Each year USDA provides over $1.5 billion in research funding to schools of agriculture. Despite investing in agricultural research and development,
federal funds have not recently been made available for infrastructure needs. According to the Sightlines study, 80 percent of schools of agriculture are making infrastructure investments below what is required to stabilize or reduce the maintenance backlog.