With Both Eyes Squarely on the 2018 Farm Bill, US Senate Agriculture Committee to Hold Hearing on Research
Nebraska Corn and Soybean Farmer Steve Wellman to testify on behalf of SoAR Foundation
WASHINGTON, DC (June 14, 2017)—As the policy discussions that shape the 2018 Farm Bill begin to heat up, the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry will dedicate its next hearing to discuss the importance of agriculture research. Nebraska Farmer Steve Wellman—board member emeritus of the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation and past president of the American Soybean Association—will testify at the hearing.
“We need three things to get American agriculture growing: sun, rain and research,” said Wellman in prepared remarks included in his testimony. “Sufficient federal investment and wise policies are essential if the United States is to continue to be a global leader in agriculture.”
In his testimony, Wellman also noted that “the 2008 Farm Bill authorized AFRI at $700 million dollars annually, yet today funding has reached only the halfway point of that level. As a percentage of total federal research investment, USDA has fallen to less than 3% of the annual federal investment.”
Wellman relies on the latest seed technology as his farm–a mix of soybeans, corn, alfalfa, and winter wheat—does not operate with irrigation. When long-range weather forecasts indicate a dry growing season, he relies on drought-resistant varieties to improve his yields.
“We appreciate that Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow are focusing on research as part of their preparation for the next Farm Bill reauthorization,” said Thomas Grumbly, President of the SoAR Foundation. “Farmers can’t rely on past scientific breakthroughs when the threats that they face will not stop evolving.”
“Farmers like me are rightfully concerned about trade policy, commodity risk management, crop insurance and conservation,” said Wellman. “But the ancestry of virtually every topic discussed in the Farm Bill can be traced to research. And for that matter, the future of each rests on the shoulders of our collective ability to modernize USDA agriculture research so that we don’t miss opportunities awaiting discovery.”