April 13, 2016

Funding for Key Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Increased by $25 Million

Statement by Ricardo Salvador, Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (April 13, 2016)—Today, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approved a fiscal 2017 spending bill that would increase funding for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) by $25 million. In the 2016 fiscal bill, AFRI received $350 million, just half of the $700 million authorized by the 2014 farm bill.

One of AFRI’s primary goals is to foster a better understanding of how to manage agricultural lands to improve the health of the farmland and surrounding environments, a field of study known as agroecology. Last year, a UCS-led study found that less than 15 percent of USDA competitive research grants went to research that included agroecology. Some 350 scientists from universities in nearly 50 states have called for a greater public investment in this research, which they say is necessary to address current and future farming challenges.

Below is a statement by Ricardo Salvador, Director of the Food and Environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists

“This is small step forward in research funding, but an important investment in farmers and rural communities facing increasing challenges and uncertainties. By boosting funding for this research, Congress is providing farmers with new tools to respond to droughts and floods, build healthy and resilient soils, fight weeds and pests, while turning a profit over the long term.”

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