Today, the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation commended the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations for approving a $25 million increase for the USDA’s AFRI program for fiscal year 2017. If this funding level makes it to the finish line, AFRI will have received a 15 percent increase over the past two fiscal years.
“AFRI tackles the critical problems that farmers and consumers face today,” said Thomas Grumbly, President of the SoAR Foundation. “In the past three months alone, we have seen almost $88 million in AFRI grants awarded to scientists working to improve domestic agriculture. This increase will help fund more cutting-edge solutions. We appreciate the action taken today by the Senate Appropriations Committee and urge additional investment when the House and Senate produce a final bill.”
Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation—a SoAR Foundation partner—advocated for an increased budget for AFRI in an April opinion piece. “Every dollar spent on agricultural research generates $20 for our economy, and we see those returns in safer, more nutritious and more plentiful food,” he wrote. “Publicly-supported research pays dividends to all Americans, and it is an investment we all must embrace.”
Recent AFRI grant announcements include:
- $30 million to develop improvements in food safety and plant resilience
- $15.6 million in grants to strengthen rural communities
- $16 million for research into sustainable crop and livestock production methods
- $6 million for antimicrobial resistance research
- $6.6 million in animal nutrition and health research grants
- $5.2 million for nanotechnology research
- $8.5 million to investigate new ways to conserve water resources
- $30 million in grants for food safety and plant health improvements.