A statement from NAWG Chief Executive Officer Daren Coppock and National Wheat Improvement Committee Chairman Dr. Jim Peterson on the debut of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), launched Thursday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.:
“We were pleased to see the official launch of the new NIFA today in Washington. Like other members of the agricultural community, we are hopeful that its inception will spur important new investments in agricultural research.
“There is plenty of hard work that lies ahead. In too few years, there will be billions more people to feed on this planet, and our production is threatened every day by weather and emerging disease and insect pests.
“Leadership and money are important parts of these battles. USDA and NIFA have excellent leaders in Under Secretary Raj Shah and Dr. Roger Beachy, the new NIFA director. We were grateful to see a significant boost in funding for competitive grants through the FY2010 appropriations process and especially pleased that the funds did not come at the expense of other important research efforts. However, we know that funding for both core research and competitive grant programs still falls far short compared to the great challenges we now face.
“Aggressive and coordinated research is vital to the success of our industry and to all those enterprises throughout the economy that depend on our products.
“We have appreciated USDA’s recent effort to reach out to us and other agricultural interests over the past few months, and we look forward to renewed cooperation and coordination between the producer community and the Department.”
Melissa George Kessler, NAWG, 202-547-7800
Dr. Jim Peterson, NWIC, 541-737-4278