Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Agriculture

Factors Influencing Collection Policy

Anticipated future trends

All aspects of agriculture have been and will continue to be impacted by rapid social change, economics, technology, biotechnology and politics.

Agriculture is still the third leading industry in Michigan and will remain high.  Niche farming, community-based farms, urban farming, and farmers' markets are becoming popular with today's consumer of locally grown, organically grown, and uncommon varieties of produce. However, the number of family farms is still declining, being taken over by corporate farming operations and the conversion to more monocultures and need for pesticides, fertilizers, and genetically modified crops.

Computer technology skills are a necessity, for keeping financial records, to researching new farming methods, using remote sensing equipment, GPS and GIS technologies, smartphones, etc.  Thus today's agriculturalist needs a well-rounded education that includes not only understanding the cultural requirements of plants and animals and their interactions, but also personnel and business management and technology training.

Various uses of biotechnology, sustainable farming practices, organic culture, and drought-resistant crops are all areas of research being studied to identify better ways to respect the earth, grow food, and feed the growing world populations.

The growth of data-intensive research is exponential. Grant-funded research will increasingly demand data management plan specifications, including considerations for publishing and sharing data. Relevant granting agencies such as the USDA and the National Science Foundation will soon include these data management requirements. This will increase the need for awareness of data publication venues.

Relationships with other resources

1. On campus branch or format collections, if any

Business Library: Farm management, agribusiness, international trade, market reports

Special Collections: Historic American agricultural works

Turfgrass Information Center: Lawn and home landscape works

2. Regional or network resources, if any

Other strong collections in the region are at Ohio State University, Penn State, Purdue University, and the University of Wisconsin and the University of Illinois. The MSU Libraries borrow very little in the agricultural subjects (relative to other areas in the applied sciences) and much of what is borrowed comes from the National Agricultural Library and other land-grant established universities.

In 1990, the MSU Libraries became a charter institutional member of the United States Agricultural Information Network (USAIN).

In 2012, the MSU Libraries became and institutional member of the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries (CBHL).

3. Relationships to Other Resources Treated in Other Policy Statements

Animal Science: applied areas of plant science related to food animal agriculture, pastures and forages, beekeeping

Biological Science/Natural History: applied areas of plant science related to natural plant communities

Botany: applied areas of plant science related to natural plant communities

Engineering: agricultural and biosystems engineering

Environmental Studies: natural resources management, sustainable programs, pesticide use and pollution

Digital Research Data

Food Science and Human Nutrition: crop production and nutritional value, post-harvest processing

Geology:  soil sciences

Turfgrass Information Center: applied areas of plant science related to lawns, home landscaping and turf

Veterinary Medicine: applied areas of plant science related to food animal agriculture

Michigan State University