Washington D.C. (Oct. 29) -- Farm Journal Foundation is grateful to Congressional leadership and the Biden administration for including agricultural research in the climate provisions of the Build Back Better Act, and asks Congress to move forward with passing the legislation.
The new framework of the bill includes $2 billion for agricultural research and infrastructure investments at research facilities. While this is lower than the $7.75 billion originally proposed, Farm Journal Foundation understands that negotiations to reach this conclusion required steps to lower the overall cost of the spending bill, which in addition to agriculture includes social and climate change support programs that cover areas across our national economy. The new funds would represent the largest increase in new agricultural research funding in years, and could not come at a better time, as farmers are contending with increasing challenges from climate change.
“Agriculture has a significant role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, so we are pleased that agricultural researchers and facilities will receive additional, much-needed funding to contribute to U.S. climate change efforts,” said Tricia Beal, chief executive officer of Farm Journal Foundation. “Farmers are being significantly impacted by climate change, which is reducing crop yields and profits.This new support will ultimately go a long way toward helping farmers and our food system prepare for increasing challenges from extreme weather and volatile markets.”
Agricultural research has one of the highest returns of any public investment, estimated at $17 to every $1 spent, yet public spending has declined in real dollars since 2003. Public funding is needed to fill gaps left by the private sector, such as early stage research that can pave the way for private-sector development later on, and research in smaller-acreage crops such as rice and wheat. Public research funding can also open up access to new technologies to small-scale farmers in developing countries, helping ease global hunger.
In the new framework of the Build Back Better Act, $1 billion in funding would go toward updating infrastructure at agricultural research facilities for the 21st century. These investments are sorely needed – currently, about 69% of buildings and facilities at U.S. schools of agriculture are at the end of their useful life, according to a study by the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities.
In addition, the bill allocates $210 million for the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR), a public-private partnership that has matched every $1 it received in public funding with $1.40 from a non-federal source, providing significant returns on taxpayer investment. The bill also includes $210 million in funding for the USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the nation’s leading competitive grants program for agricultural sciences.
“We ask that Congress pass the Build Back Better Act, so that our nation’s top agricultural researchers and scientists can move forward with their important work,” said David Hong, senior vice president for government affairs at Farm Journal Foundation. “It can take years to develop and refine new scientific discoveries until they are ready to be put into farmers’ hands. New research funding provided today will help prepare our food and agricultural systems for future climate change challenges.”
Whitney McFerron, Communications Manager
Farm Journal Foundation
About Farm Journal Foundation
Farm Journal Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving global food security by sustaining modern agriculture’s leadership role and ability to meet the vital needs of a growing population. The organization works to advance this mission through key issue areas, including global food security, agricultural research and development, nutrition, and conservation agriculture. To learn more visit www.farmjournalfoundation.org. For media inquiries, contact Whitney McFerron at firstname.lastname@example.org.