Share via Email

* Email To: (Separate multiple addresses with a semicolon)
* Your Name:
* Email From: (Your IP Address is
* Email Subject: (personalize your message)

Email Content:

USDA IG to Inquire into Suppression of Research Results


Following representations by a dozen Democratic Party Senators, the Ranking Member of the Agricultural Committee Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), requested an investigation into deliberate suppression of research results relating to the effect of climate change. The Inspector General (IG) of the USDA was asked to specifically examine “potential instances of suppression and alteration of scientific reports, documents or communications generated by USDA”. The investigation to be carried out by the IG will determine whether any changes in policy influence publication of scientific articles or communications resulting from USDA research.

According to a recent report in Politico, an author of an accepted peer-reviewed manuscript on the effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels on nutrient content of rice was allegedly subjected to coercion to withdraw the paper. The crop scientist concerned apparently resigned from the Department.

Phyllis Fong, the USDA IG commented on concerns over the relocation of the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture from Washington, D.C. to Kansas City. The move resulting in mass resignation of senior economists and scientists was justified by extremely flimsy justifications. An October 21st letter to Fong from Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) requested that the broad probe could examine whether the relocation was “used as a means to suppress research on controversial topics such as climate change”.

It is understood that USDA currently has 60 percent of ERS positions vacant. This represents not only a loss of personnel, but also collective wisdom, experience and cohesion in areas critical to evaluation and planning of future food supplies. Farmers and the public are entitled to the results of scientific research to enable adaptation to whatever environmental changes may or may not be occurring irrespective of how unpalatable this may be from a political perspective.