SoAR Foundation and Partners Seek Increased Investments to Advance Agricultural Research

February 23, 2022 

Dear Chairman Bishop, Chairwoman Baldwin, Ranking Member Harris and Ranking Member Hoeven: 

The undersigned organizations and institutions would first thank you for your collective efforts to complete FY 2022 appropriations. As the House and Senate begin their work to develop a final FY 2022 spending package, we encourage the subcommittee members to support increased investments to advance agricultural research in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

Federal investments in the broad suite of research, education, and extension programs within USDA is critical to ensuring agricultural resilience, nutrition security, and food systems sustainability. We urge you to make the following investments within the FY 2022 Agriculture Appropriations bill.

  • Provide $1.657 billion for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Research (NIFA) as recommended in the Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill. As USDA’s extramural funding arm, NIFA programs integrate research, education, and Extension to ensure that groundbreaking scientific discoveries are brought out of the laboratory and into the hands of those who can put them to work. NIFA’s capacity programs, including Hatch Act, Smith-Lever, McIntire-Stennis, Evans Allen, 1890 institutions, and 1994 institutions provide an innovation network that supports our nation’s experiment stations and extension activities that help keep the United States as the global leader of agricultural research. 
  • Within NIFA, provide $450 million in funding for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) as recommended in the House Agriculture Appropriations bill. AFRI is the premier competitive research program within USDA, supporting fundamental and applied research to address challenges in public health, food production, national security, and global competitiveness. At its current funding level, AFRI can support fewer than a third of the projects recommended for funding. 
  • Provide $1.764 billion for the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) as recommended in the House Agriculture Appropriations bill. As USDA’s intramural research network, ARS has a decades-long track record of providing science-based solutions to agricultural challenges. ARS also plays a critical role in partnering with the university systems and industry to advance science and address emerging issues. 
  • Provide $2 million in funding for the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AgARDA) as recommended in the House Agriculture Appropriations bill. AgARDA represents an unprecedented opportunity to support transformational, high-risk, high-reward agricultural research and development within USDA. This initial investment in AgARDA is critical to establish the program and build momentum for its success. 

The American food and agricultural enterprise is facing unprecedented challenges, from increasingly volatile weather patterns due to climate change, to threats from plant pests and animal diseases, to adverse health outcomes related to nutrition insecurity. The investments in USDA research, education, and extension programs made today will be responsible for developing the scientific outcomes and workforce urgently needed to meet identified and as-yet unknown challenges in the future. We urge you to do all you can to support a robust, diverse research, education, and extension portfolio within USDA. 

We thank you for your continued support and look forward to working with you on this important effort. 


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

AFRI Coalition

Agricultural & Applied Economics Association

American Association for the Advancement of Science

American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges

American Dairy Science Association

American Institute of Biological Sciences

American Seed Trade Association

American Society for Horticultural Science

American Society for Microbiology

American Society for Nutrition

American Society of Agronomy

American Society of Animal Science

American Society of Plant Biologists

American Soybean Association

APLU Board on Agriculture Assembly

Aquatic Plant Management Society

Association of American Universities

Biotechnology Innovation Organization

Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST)

Colorado State University

Corn Refiners Association

Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Crop Science Society of America

Ecological Society of America

Entomological Society of America

Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy

Farm Journal Foundation


Michigan State University AgBioResearch

Mycobacterial Diseases of Animals – Multistate Initiative

National Association of Plant Breeders

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research

National Grange

North Central Weed Science Society

Northeastern Weed Science Society

Plant Based Products Council

SoAR Foundation

Soil Science Society of America

Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors

Southern Weed Science Society


The Breakthrough Institute

The Nature Conservancy


Union of Concerned Scientists

US Dairy Forage Research Center Stakeholder Committee

Weed Science Society of America

Western Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors

Western Society of Weed Science

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