FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dan Klotz, email@example.com
Helps Supercharge Agricultural Research to Confront Climate Change Challenges
Statement from Margaret M. Zeigler, Ph.D., Interim President, SoAR Foundation
September 14, 2021
“The Build Back Better budget reconciliation includes $7.75 billion over 10 years for investments in agricultural research and the infrastructure where that research will take place. These investments—meant to bolster the regular annual research budgets—are badly needed by farmers and food consumers to battle the serious threat of climate change. And the returns on these research investments have been quantified; U.S. public agricultural R&D spending returns, on average, $17 in benefits for every $1 invested.
“Climate change has already cut growth in agricultural productivity, slowing productivity growth by 21% since 1961. To handle the many problems that the next several decades will bring, we need to supercharge our agricultural research programs. The Build Back Better budget reconciliation is an important place to start.
“With these new investments, we can fund excellent research proposals, such as climate-proofing dairy and beef production systems, understanding optimal soil management for carbon-sequestration, and improving forest management to avoid wildfires and absorb more pollution and greenhouse gases. Our universities can begin to fund the many grants that have been left on the cutting room floor.
“While we are grateful for the recent reversal in funding for USDA’s research programs, we need these additional investments to catch up with the pace of investment seen in many other federal research programs. Since 1976, USDA’s research budget has increased an average of only about 1% annually—and farmers now must handle a wide variety of extreme weather events along with new varieties of pests and disease, while ensuring better nutrition and food safety. We are hopeful that with these significant new funds, the research enterprise at USDA will now be better able to meet the climate change challenges faced by every farmer, rancher and forest manager in the United States and also meet the needs of a growing world.
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About the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation
The Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation leads a non-partisan coalition working to educate stakeholders about the importance of agricultural research. For the past seven years, SoAR has supported increased investments to encourage top scientists to create agricultural solutions that improve public health and food security and enhance economic competitiveness. For more information, please visit www.supportagresearch.org.