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
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
North Central Weed Science Society
Northeastern Weed Science Society
Plant Based Products Council
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