US Farmers Need Science and Innovation as Climate Change Hits Harder and Harder—
$7.75 Billion Allocated in Build Back Better Plan Can Unlock Solutions


Contact: Dan Klotz, dklotz@burness.com/347-307-2866

US Farmers Need Science and Innovation as Climate Change Hits Harder and Harder—$7.75 Billion Allocated in Build Back Better Plan Can Unlock Solutions

WASHINGTON DC (October 15, 2021)—With a long-term climate forecast that threatens to rewrite far too much of the US agricultural sector, 117 agricultural organizations, including scientific and research institutions from around the country, petitioned Congressional leaders to maintain the $7.75 billion for agricultural research found in the Build Back Better plan currently being negotiated on Capitol Hill.

“NCFAR applauds this proposed generational investment in the USDA Research Education and Economics enterprise because it will drive innovation and talent toward tackling some of our most pressing challenges relating to climate change resiliency and nutrition security for all Americans,” said Laura Wood Peterson, Executive Director, National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research.

“The research investments in the Build Back Better climate infrastructure package provide targeted research for agricultural innovation and more productive, climate-resilient crops and livestock,” said Margaret M. Zeigler, Ph.D., Interim President, Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation.  “This will strengthen the American agricultural sector so that the next generation of farmers can weather the upcoming storm while helping mitigate climate change.”

The letter highlights the finding that U.S. public spending on food and agriculture R&D returns, on average, $17 in benefits for every $1 invested. Despite this incredible return, the United States’ share of global agricultural R&D investment has decreased significantly in the last half-century, going from 20 percent to 8.9 percent. The $7.75 billion allocation is only 0.2% of the proposed original total reconciliation package but will help climate-proof our agricultural systems for decades to come.

“By making $7.75 billion of bold investments in agricultural research infrastructure, Extension engagement resources, and research innovation programs, the U.S. can help ensure equity across all communities, so they have the support they need to thrive while conserving resources and effectively adapting to climate change.” Douglas L Steele, Vice President Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

“The Build Back Better Act is a once in a generation opportunity to make much needed public investments in agricultural research to prepare our food system for looming climate risks,” said Tricia Beal, chief executive officer of Farm Journal Foundation. “Farmers today are already under significant pressure from climate change. Increased support for agricultural research is absolutely critical to ensure safe, affordable food supplies and healthy farm livelihoods for the future.” 

# # #

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.

More Stories from the community

Has US Agricultural Production Peaked?

We are at a challenging time in U.S. agricultural history. The past ten years of data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) show that production—all of the food, fuel, fiber, and other materials that farmers grow--has stopped increasing. The trendline flattened out and is now pointed downwards.

Read More
SoAR Foundation Announces Scientific Advisory Committee Assembled to Strengthen Agricultural Research

The Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation today announce the formation of its Scientific Advisory Committee, an eight-member panel led by Vicki Chandler, PhD, Dean of the College of Natural Sciences at the Minerva Schools at KGI. The Committee’s primary mission is to strengthen agricultural research and raise its profile within the broader science community. Special focus will be placed on the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, the nation’s primary source of competitively awarded funding within the US Department of Agriculture.

Read More