10.17.2019

Introduced in the House: New Legislation—“America Grows Act”—Would Increase Federal Investment in Farm and Food Sciences as US Agricultural Sector is Buffeted by Economic and Weather Crises

WASHINGTON, DC (October 17, 2019)—The Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation applauds Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Rep. Kim Schrier (WA-8), and Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), who introduced the House companion legislation to the America Grows Act today. The companion bill, with the same text, was introduced in conjunction with a House Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research subcommittee hearing on the implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill Research title.  Senator Dick Durbin introduced the America Grows Act in August to ensure that the budget targets for appropriators in Congress continue to expand. 

“For most of this year, many U.S. farms have been literally and figuratively underwater. They’ve been hammered by extreme weather and economic pressures,” said Thomas Grumbly, SoAR’s President. “Farmers need new tools to meet these challenges. Cold hard science will help address these problems. The ‘America Grows Act’ will make sure they get the innovation needed.”

The America Grows Act would motivate investment in U.S. scientists and producers and reassert American research leadership on the global stage. Modeled after the successful 21st Century Cures Act passed in 2016, which spurred additional funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the America Grows Act authorizes a 5 percent inflation-adjusted annual increase for the next five years for agricultural research in the following USDA agencies:  National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Economic Research Service (ERS), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

USDA projects 2019 net-farm income to be half that of 2013. Yet food and agriculture remain a pillar of the U.S. economy, accounting for nearly $1 trillion of our GDP, 1 in 10 jobs, and a significant contribution to our nation’s trade balance.

The timing for the America Grows Act could not be better. The 2018 “Science Breakthroughs to Advance Food and Agricultural Research by 2030” report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine identifies the greatest opportunities within agricultural research and provides a clear roadmap for additional strategic investment. The report also shows how the advent of technologies unavailable even a decade ago have positioned our nation’s scientists to deliver a new generation of solutions. These solutions, however, will not be realized without additional funding. 

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