Bennet, Marshall, Panetta, Feenstra plan ag research bill
Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Roger Marshall, R-Kan., last week introduced the Advancing Cutting Edge (ACE) Agriculture Act to support high-risk, high-reward agricultural research and development at the Agriculture Department.
Reps. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., and Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, are expected to introduce companion legislation in the House this week.
In a news release, Bennet noted that the 2018 farm bill established the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AgARDA) at USDA to address technologies that private capital often considers too financially risky and USDA does not address in its regular research programs.
Modeled after the successful Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) programs, AgARDA spurs innovation through the development of breakthrough technologies and practices to address water conservation, soil health, disease and pest management, and extreme weather variability.
Specifically, this bill would:
▪ Double the authorization of the existing program from $50 million to $100 million to ensure access to more transformative agricultural innovation projects across multiple states.
▪ Expand the existing program’s scope to address animal and plant pathogens and pests which could help farmers increase production capacity and competitiveness, and include opportunities for projects that could help farmers and ranchers use less water; enhance soil health; and mitigate, reduce, and/or sequester greenhouse gas emissions from farms and ranches.
“The ACE Agriculture Act will strengthen American leadership in agricultural research, and help farmers and ranchers be a part of the solution to our changing climate and agriculture landscape,” Bennet said.
“Now more than ever, Americans have seen how vulnerable our nation’s food system can be,” Marshall said.
“Whether it is facing challenges within the supply chain, unforeseen biological disasters, or the threat of foreign adversaries, targeting these risks through research will ensure that the United States continues to provide a safe, secure food supply for a growing world population,” said Marshall.
“Our farmers face an evolving set of challenges and need new, groundbreaking agricultural technologies, approaches, and data systems to continue to survive, provide, and thrive,” said Panetta.
“This bipartisan legislation would double our investment in agricultural innovation and expand our efforts to provide for our nation’s food security and climate resiliency.”
“From foreign animal disease mitigation to increased crop yields, cutting-edge agricultural research and innovation will help make our farmers and producers more profitable, productive, and competitive in global markets,” Feenstra said.