Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) is a new non-partisan science-based coalition seeking sound research policies that focus more of our best minds on feeding America and the world.
SoAR is working with major research institutions, farmer groups, scientific organizations, and private sector partners who believe a strong competitive grants program will encourage top scientists from multiple disciplines—from botany and biology to energy and engineering—to address the many agriculture-related challenges facing our country today.
Competitive grants encourage innovation by directing federal funds to the most promising proposals. This approach laid the foundation for America’s global leadership in biomedical innovation. Now, SoAR believes the time is right to greatly increase funding for competitive grants in the exciting and rapidly expanding world of agricultural research.
SoAR is calling on Congress to fully fund the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) at the United States Department of Agriculture. AFRI is the only agriculture-oriented competitive grants program in the US that awards funding to projects that apply the best science to the most important problems.
When it was created in 2008 the US Congress called for AFRI to receive $700 million per year. But for 2012 it received only $264 million even as the cost for projects submitted for funding topped $4 billion.