Soy growers are asking Congress that $425 million be included in the FY 2018 budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Research Initiative.
The American Soybean Association (ASA) and several other agriculture organizations signed onto a letter this week to Chairman John Hoeven and Ranking Member Jeff Merkley of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, and Chairman Robert Aderholt and Ranking Member Sanford Bishop of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, reiterating the importance of the program to keep American agriculture competitive and moving forward.
“All of agriculture needs innovation,” the groups state in the letters. “Whether the need is healthier cattle, healthier humans, or healthier balance sheets for farmers, the common thread is science-driven innovation. This investment creates jobs and strengthens rural economies.”
The groups said lack of funding has left U.S. scientists behind and scrambling for grants to discover disease- and weather-resistant genes for plants and animals, while scientists in other countries are quickly catching up. The letters also expresses concern, as some department heads at leading research universities are being poached by European institutions because funding is more secure.
“Funding AFRI with $425 million in FY 2018 is a modest step toward ensuring American agriculture preeminence in the face of rapidly expanding research budgets in China, Brazil, and Europe,” the groups state in the letters. “We think you will agree that our best science and our best researchers should have every opportunity to succeed so that U.S. agriculture enjoys greatness for generations to come.”
Article: American Soybean Association’s eBean News.