Statement from Thomas Grumbly, President of the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation:
“Thanks to leadership from Rep. Rodney Davis and Rep. Jimmy Panetta, the momentum continues to grow for a stronger science capacity within the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA). While the caucus will look at emphasizing research programming in the 2018 Farm Bill negotiations, we also hope they focus on the fiscal year 2018 budget and push back on the cuts to the USDA proposed by the White House.
“Ten years ago, momentum for reshaping how the USDA funds research was building in Congress in a similar way and as a result, the 2008 Farm Bill established the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). This program has become the USDA’s flagship source for competitively awarded grants—but the the program budget has also never reached the level authorized in the Farm Bill.
“Farmers face a deluge of threats—the markets, the weather, the pests, the operating expenses, everything is changing at unsustainable speeds. Cold hard science is the lifeblood of the USDA and the one thing that that can help farmers adapt and adjust so that the food on Americans’ dinner table remains safe and nutritious.
“Rep. Davis has been a strong ally of agricultural research and Rep. Panetta is already making his mark. We welcome and applaud their leadership.”