WASHINGTON, DC (March 11, 2019)—The Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation applauds the inclusion of increased funding for NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), USDA’s flagship competitive grants program, in the administration’s proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget.
The budget requests $500 million in discretionary funding for AFRI, an $85 million increase from FY 2019 enacted levels. The competitive process that AFRI uses to award grants applies the best scientific research to the challenges that farmers and consumers face. Funding is based on merit, and proposals are rigorously peer-reviewed.
“Our farmers and producers need science-based solutions to feed the world’s growing population,” said Thomas Grumbly, President of the SoAR Foundation. “With this increase, our nation’s scientists would have the resources they need to conduct research that builds thriving farms and a healthier nation.”
AFRI was authorized at $700 million in the 2008, 2014, and 2018 Farm Bills, but has never received this full amount during the annual appropriations process. The $500 million level, if enacted by Congress, would be the program’s highest level since its inception.
“Public agricultural research is vital to maintaining U.S. leadership in global markets and growing a safe, nutritious food supply,” said Grumbly. “We thank the Secretary of Agriculture for his support and look forward to working with committee leadership, its members, and all of Congress to fully realize this funding level for AFRI.”