With Senate and House Hearings, Congress to Assess $700M Request for Agricultural Research

This week, Congress continues examining the ambitious proposal to double the budget for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the USDA’s premier source of competitively awarded, peer reviewed research grants. The proposal would increase AFRI’s budget line to $700 million, the amount Congress authorized for the program in the 2008 Farm Bill.

USDA secretary Tom Vilsack is expected to include a discussion of the AFRI proposal in his testimony on March 9 before the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Jerry Moran. And on March 16, USDA Undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics Catherine Wotecki will testify before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, chaired by Representative Robert Aderholt.

“Congress has a terrific opportunity to support a critical pillar of our rural economy,” said Thomas Grumbly, president of the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation. “With U.S. agricultural productivity having slowed down over the past decade, the sector needs a big booster shot of science-driven innovation.”

The AFRI proposal was the subject of a recent opinion piece written by Dr. Kirk Schulz, president of Kansas State University, and Dr. John Floros, dean of the university’s College of Agriculture, that ran in the Emporia Gazette and was picked up in other outlets online.

“The big picture,” they wrote, “is to produce food that is safe and affordable. That’s it.”

# # #

For more information on AFRI and the proposed budget increase, please read:

About the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation
The SoAR Foundation leads a non-partisan coalition working to educate stakeholders about the importance of agricultural research and focus more of our best minds on feeding America and the world. The SoAR Foundation advocates for full funding for the Agriculture Food and Research Initiative (AFRI) to encourage top scientists from multiple disciplines to address agriculture-related challenges in order to improve public health and strengthen our economic competitiveness.

More Stories from the community

House Ag Committee examines relationship between agricultural security and national security

On November 4th, the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing to examine the relationship between agricultural security and national security. Witnesses included former US Deputy Secretary of State, Ambassador John Negroponte and Dr. Tammy Beckham, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University; both of whom provided valuable testimony on the threats and vulnerabilities that could potentially compromise our national security.

Read More
Food Demand is Rising Faster than the World's Population

The global population is surging. There are currently 7.3 billion people and this number is expected to grow to almost 10 billion by 2050. All over the world, people are living longer lives. In the coming decades, we will need more food to nourish both today and tomorrow’s families.

Read More