On July 15, the Senate Committee on Appropriations approved an agriculture budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 with an overall decrease of $20 million for agriculture research below the FY2010 level but an increase to $310 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).
AFRI is the flagship competitive grants program of the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture. A coalition of groups, including NAWG, was seeking to increase the AFRI budget from $262 million to $500 million as part of a goal to bring about a significant overall increase in the USDA agriculture research budget.
A copy of the 2009 letter sent to the Administration can be found at http://www.wheatworld.org/issues/research/.
A number of priorities that are important for wheat are included in the Senate appropriations bill and were included in the Obama Administration’s proposed budget. Wheat priorities include $2.4 million for improved breeding strategies and germplasm to enhance food production and security and $793,000 for “high priority grain disease research at St. Paul, MN” to reduce world hunger.
On June 30, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approved a USDA budget which included overall agriculture research funding of approximately $10 million below FY2010 with AFRI funded at $312 million. A vote by the full House Appropriations Committee was delayed this week and has not been rescheduled.
Full details on the specific funded priorities in the House Agriculture appropriations bill have not been published. With time running short before the end of the Congressional session, it is unclear what budget will be in place when the new fiscal year begins October 1, but it is clear that in FY2011 the agriculture research budget will be lower than it was in FY2010.
For more information on the Senate bill, go to http://appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=da94ce97-8783-4c81-84a4-dc2f8fcf0452.
More information on the House bill can be found at http://appropriations.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=85&Itemid=16.