In this section:
(1) Advanced research and development
The term "advanced research and development" means research and development activities used to address research challenges in agriculture and food through—
(A) targeted acceleration of novel, early stage innovative agricultural research with promising technology applications and products; or
(B) development of qualified products and projects, agricultural technologies, or innovative research tools, which may include—
(i) prototype testing, preclinical development, or field experimental use;
(ii) assessing and assisting with product approval, clearance, or need for a license under an applicable law, as determined by the Director; or
(iii) manufacturing and commercialization of a product.
(2) Agricultural technology
The term "agricultural technology" means machinery and other equipment engineered for an applicable and novel use in agriculture, natural resources, and food relating to the research and development of qualified products and projects.
The term "Director" means the Director of the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority established under subsection (b)(1).
(4) Other transaction
The term "other transaction" means a transaction other than a procurement contract, grant, or cooperative agreement, including a transaction described in subsection (b)(6)(A).
The term "person" means—
(A) an individual;
(B) a partnership;
(C) a corporation;
(D) an association;
(E) an entity;
(F) a public or private corporation;
(G) a Federal, State, or local government agency or department; and
(H) an institution of higher education, including a land-grant college or university and a non-land-grant college of agriculture.
(6) Qualified product or project
The term "qualified product or project" means—
(A) engineering, mechanization, or technology improvements that will address challenges relating to growing, harvesting, handling, processing, storing, packing, and distribution of agricultural products;
(B) plant disease or plant pest recovery countermeasures to intentional or unintentional biological threats (including naturally occurring threats), including—
(i) replacement or resistant plant cultivars or varieties;
(ii) other enhanced management strategies, including novel chemical, biological, or cultural approaches; or
(iii) diagnostic or surveillance technology; and
(C) veterinary countermeasures to intentional or unintentional biological threats (including naturally occurring threats), including—
(i) animal vaccine or therapeutic products (including anti-infective products); or
(ii) diagnostic or surveillance technology.
(7) Research tool
The term "research tool" means a device, technology, procedure, biological material, reagent, computer system, computer software, or analytical technique that is developed to assist in the discovery, development, or manufacture of a qualified product or project.
(b) Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (1) Establishment
There is established within the Department of Agriculture a pilot program that shall be known as the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (referred to in this section as the "AGARDA") to carry out advanced research and development.
The goals of the AGARDA are—
(A) to develop and deploy advanced solutions to prevent, prepare, and protect against unintentional and intentional threats to agriculture and food in the United States;
(B) to overcome barriers in the development of agricultural technologies, research tools, and qualified products and projects that enhance export competitiveness, environmental sustainability, and resilience to extreme weather;
(C) to ensure that the United States maintains and enhances its position as a leader in developing and deploying agricultural technologies, research tools, and qualified projects and products that increase economic opportunities and security for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities; and
(D) to undertake advanced research and development in areas in which industry by itself is not likely to do so because of the technological or financial uncertainty.
(3) Leadership (A) In general
The AGARDA shall be a component of the Office of the Chief Scientist.
(B) Director (i) In general
The AGARDA shall be headed by a Director, who shall be appointed by the Chief Scientist.
The Director shall be an individual who, by reason of professional background and experience, is exceptionally qualified to advise the Chief Scientist on, and manage advanced research and development programs and other matters pertaining to—
(I) qualified products and projects;
(II) agricultural technologies;
(III) research tools; and
(IV) challenges relating to the matters described in subclauses (I) through (III).
(iii) Relationship within the Department of Agriculture
The Director shall report to the Chief Scientist.
To achieve the goals described in paragraph (2), the Secretary, acting through the Director, shall accelerate advanced research and development by—
(A) identifying and promoting advances in basic sciences;
(B) translating scientific discoveries and inventions into technological innovations;
(C) collaborating with other agencies, relevant industries, academia, international agencies, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, and other relevant persons to carry out the goals described in paragraph (2), including convening, at a minimum, annual meetings or working groups to demonstrate the operation and effectiveness of advanced research and development of qualified products and projects, agricultural technologies, and research tools;
(D) conducting ongoing searches for, and support calls for, potential advanced research and development of agricultural technologies, qualified products and projects, and research tools;
(E) awarding grants and entering into contracts, cooperative agreements, or other transactions under paragraph (6) for advanced research and development of agricultural technology, qualified products and projects, and research tools;
(F) establishing issue-based multidisciplinary teams to reduce the time and cost of solving specific problems that—
(i) are composed of representatives from Federal and State agencies, professional groups, academia, and industry;
(ii) seek novel and effective solutions; and
(iii) encourage data sharing and translation of research to field use; and
(G) serving as a resource for interested persons regarding requirements under relevant laws that impact the development, commercialization, and technology transfer of qualified products and projects, agricultural technologies, and research tools.
In awarding grants and entering into contracts, cooperative agreements, or other transactions under paragraph (4)(E), the Secretary shall give priority to projects that accelerate the advanced research and development of qualified products and projects that—
(A) address critical research and development needs for technology for specialty crops; or
(B) prevent, protect, and prepare against intentional and unintentional threats to agriculture and food.
(6) Other transaction authorities (A) In general
In carrying out the pilot program under this section, the Secretary shall have the authority to enter into other transactions in the same manner and subject to the same terms and conditions as transactions that the Secretary of Defense may enter into under section 2371 of title 10.
The authority of the Secretary to enter into contracts, cooperative agreements, and other transactions under this subsection shall be in addition to the authorities under this chapter and title I of the Department of Agriculture and Related Agencies Appropriation Act, 1964 (7 U.S.C. 3318a), to use contracts, cooperative agreements, and grants in carrying out the pilot program under this section.
The Secretary shall establish guidelines regarding the use of the authority under subparagraph (A).
(D) Technology transfer
In entering into other transactions, the Secretary may negotiate terms for technology transfer in the same manner as a Federal laboratory under paragraphs (1) through (4) of section 3710a(b) of title 15.
(7) Availability of data (A) In general
The Secretary shall require that, as a condition of being awarded a contract or grant or entering into a cooperative agreement or other transaction under paragraph (4)(E), a person shall make available to the Secretary on an ongoing basis, and submit to the Secretary on request of the Secretary, all data relating to or resulting from the activities carried out by the person pursuant to this section.
(B) Exemption from disclosure (i) In general
This subparagraph shall be considered a statute described in section 552(b)(3)(B) of title 5.
The following information shall be exempt from disclosure under section 552 of title 5 and withheld from the public:
(I) Specific technical data or scientific information that is created or obtained under this section that reveals significant and not otherwise publicly known vulnerabilities of existing agriculture and food defenses against biological, chemical, nuclear, or radiological threats.
(II) Trade secrets or commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential (within the meaning of section 552(b)(4) of title 5) and obtained in the conduct of research or as a result of activities under this section from a non-Federal party participating in a contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or other transaction under this section.
Information that results from research and development activities conducted under this section and that would be a trade secret or commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential if the information had been obtained from a non-Federal party participating in a cooperative agreement or other transaction shall be withheld from disclosure under subchapter II of chapter 5 of title 5 for 5 years.
(8) Milestone-based payments allowed
In awarding contracts and grants and entering into cooperative agreements or other transactions under paragraph (4)(E), the Secretary may—
(A) use milestone-based awards and payments; and
(B) terminate a project for not meeting technical milestones.
(9) Use of existing personnel authorities
In carrying out this subsection, the Secretary may appoint highly qualified individuals to scientific or professional positions on the same terms and conditions as provided in subsections (b)(3), (b)(4), (c), (d), (e), and (f) of section 7657 of this title.
(10) Report and evaluation (A) Report
The Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate an annual report examining the actions undertaken and results generated by the AGARDA.
After the date on which the AGARDA has been in operation for 3 years, the Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct an evaluation—
(i) to be completed and submitted to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate not later than 1 year after the date on which the Comptroller General began conducting the evaluation;
(ii) describing the extent to which the AGARDA is achieving the goals described in paragraph (2); and
(iii) including a recommendation on whether the AGARDA should be continued, terminated, or expanded.
(c) Strategic plan (1) In general
Not later than 360 days after December 20, 2018, the Secretary shall develop and make publicly available a strategic plan describing the strategic vision that the AGARDA shall use—
(A) to make determinations for future investments during the period of effectiveness of this section; and
(B) to achieve the goals described in subsection (b)(2).
The Secretary shall disseminate the information contained in the strategic plan under paragraph (1) to persons who may have the capacity to substantially contribute to the activities described in that strategic plan.
(3) Coordination; consultation
The Secretary shall—
(A) update and coordinate the strategic coordination plan under section 6922(d)(7) of this title with the strategic plan developed under paragraph (1) for activities relating to agriculture and food defense countermeasure development and procurement; and
(B) in developing the strategic plan under paragraph (1), consult with—
(i) the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board established under section 3123(a) of this title;
(ii) the specialty crops committee established under section 3123a(a)(1) of this title;
(iii) relevant agriculture research agencies of the Federal Government;
(iv) the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine;
(v) the National Veterinary Stockpile Intra-Government Advisory Committee for Strategic Steering; and
(vi) other appropriate parties, as determined by the Secretary.
(d) Funds (1) Establishment
There is established in the Treasury the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Fund, which shall be administered by the Secretary, acting through the Director—
(A) for the purpose of carrying out this section; and
(B) in the same manner and subject to the same terms and conditions as are applicable to the Secretary of Defense under section 2371 of title 10.
(2) Deposits into fund (A) In general
The Secretary, acting through the Director, may accept and deposit into the Fund monies received pursuant to cost recovery, contribution, or royalty payments under a contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or other transaction under this section.
(B) Availability of amounts in fund
Amounts deposited into the fund shall remain available until expended, without further appropriation, and may be used to carry out the purposes of this section.
Nothing in this paragraph authorizes the use of the funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation to carry out this section.
In addition to funds otherwise deposited in the Fund under paragraph (1) or (2), there is authorized to be appropriated to the Fund $50,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023, to remain available until expended.
(e) Termination of effectiveness (1) In general
Except as provided under paragraph (2), the authority provided by this section terminates on the date that is 5 years after December 20, 2018.
Paragraph (1) shall not apply with respect to—
(A) subsection (b)(7)(B); and
(B) grants awarded or contracts, cooperative agreements, or other transactions entered into before the end of the 5-year period referred to in such clause.1
REFERENCES IN TEXT This chapter, referred to in subsec. (b)(6)(B), was in the original "this Act", and was translated as reading "this title", meaning title XIV of Pub. L. 95–113, Sept. 29, 1977, 91 Stat. 981, known as the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977, which is classified principally to this chapter, to reflect the probable intent of Congress. For complete classification of title XIV to the Code, see References in Text note set out under section 3102 of this title and Tables.
7 U.S.C. § 3319k (2018)