Agricultural research organizations and farm groups are urging leaders of the House Agriculture Committee to include language in their version of the 2012 Farm Bill authorizing a USDA-administered ag research foundation to collect private-sector donations to supplement federal appropriations.
NAWG and more than 70 other organizations wrote House Agriculture Committee leaders on Monday describing a foundation concept included in the Senate’s version of pending farm bill legislation.
That bill, S. 3240, establishes a Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) to complement and add to USDA’s portfolio of intramural and extramural research programs, modeled on similar foundations that have been successfully established to bolster medical research work. The FFAR would be managed by a board made up of scientists and industry members and an executive director.
The groups strongly urged House Agriculture leadership to include similar provisions in the research title of their farm bill draft, which will increase the likelihood the FFAR structure will be included in the new farm law.
“We recognize the need for innovative solutions to increase funding and to leverage current and future investments in research,” the groups wrote. “Establishing a FFAR will generate new sources of funding for food and agricultural research. It will provide a structure for new public/private partnerships and investments that will further USDA’s research mission.”
USDA-sponsored research is vital to achieving the agricultural production levels necessary to feed the expected worldwide population of nine billion by 2050 and to remain competitive in a global economy.
Despite its importance, current funding for food and agricultural research is less than 2.5 percent of USDA’s budget and has been cut by about 12 percent since FY2010.
NAWG is a supporter of the research foundation concept as a way to bring new funds into agriculture research projects while federal appropriations slow. Wheat research continues to be done primarily in the public sector, through USDA programs and at land-grant universities using a combination of federal, state and grower dollars.
The full letter sent this week is at http://www.wheatworld.org/wp-content/uploads/research-FFAR-group-support-letter-20120604.pdf.
More about the wheat research community and research needs is at www.wheatworld.org/research.