05.19.2016

SoAR Foundation Applauds Senate Appropriations Committee for Advancing a $25 Million Budget Increase for USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI)

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.

More Stories from the community

Supporters of Agricultural Research Foundation and 13 university collaborators release report highlighting current scientific breakthroughs

Thirteen prominent research institutions in the United States joined the SoAR Foundation today in calling for a surge in federal support of food and agricultural science. Retaking the Field, the report released by this coalition, highlights recent scientific innovations and illustrates how US agricultural production is losing ground to China and other global competitors.

Read More
The Hill: New Strains of Avian Flu Highlight the Need for New Science

Federal funding for agricultural research—not just avian flu grants, but everything including breeding drought-resistant corn varieties to devising new ways to process livestock waste—has remained mostly flat for decades. Between 2000 and 2008, the U.S. agricultural R&D budget barely increased by two percent annually. China, on the other hand, doubled its agricultural R&D budget in the same time period.

Read More
SoAR Foundation Welcomes USDA Focus on Sustainability and Productivity Research

Statement from Thomas Grumbly, President, Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation The Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation congratulates US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue and his entire agency on focusing this year on agricultural research and innovation. After the warmest January on the planet, the Midwest is expecting a deep freeze. The deep south is waterlogged from record floods, and California is wrapping up one of its driest Februaries ever. It’s the perfect time to start talking about agricultural research and desperately needed federal funding.

Read More