House Agriculture Committee member Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Wash.) joined with two of her colleagues, Rep. Jimmy Pannetta (D-Calif.) and Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill), to introduce a bill that would authorize an annual 5 percent funding increase at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
In a press release, the group said the bill, The America Grows Act, restores the U.S. public’s commitment to funding agricultural research. In recent years, publicly funded research has declined as privately funded research has grown. The press release also points out that among high-income countries, the U.S. share of publicly funded research has declined from 35 percent in 1960 to less than 25 percent in 2013.
“We have seen outstanding work come out of our research institutions, including Washington State University. With agriculture as one of the main drivers of our state’s economy, research and research funding are increasingly vital for farmers and growers to keep up with the changing economy and climate. The investment made by the America Grows Act will allow for consistent funding crucial for the future of agriculture in our state and country,” Schrier said.
The bill would fund research specifically at the Agriculture Research Service, USDA’s chief in-house scientific research agency; the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, which funds external research through a nationwide network of land-grant colleges and universities, agricultural experiment stations, schools of forestry, schools of veterinary medicine and cooperative extension experts; the National Agriculture Statistics Service, which collects and reports statistics on U.S. agriculture; and the Economic Research Service, which provides economic and policy analysis on farming, ranching, food, conservation practices, farm management, commodity markets and rural economic development.