Coalition calls for doubling USDA research budget | TheFencePost.com

Coalition calls for doubling USDA research budget

A coalition of 63 farm, commodity and research institutions today called for doubling the Agriculture Department's research, education and extension budget to $6 billion over the life of the next farm bill.

In a letter to House and Senate agriculture leaders, the group noted that China has doubled it commitments to agricultural research.

"We need to regain and maintain our nation's place as the international leader," Richard Wilkins, a Delaware farmer and chairman of the American Soybean Association, said in a news release.

Coalition members range from conventional agricultural groups to those that often question large-scale, industrial agriculture, and their letter outlines 10 specific policy recommendations.

"The need to drastically improve the federal agricultural research budget has created a consensus far broader than anyone thought possible," said Michael Heller, Maryland livestock producer, founder of the Maryland Grazers Network, and a member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

"Based on my long involvement with sustainable agriculture research and in helping to train the next generation of American farmers, I know firsthand how important it is for the next farm bill to boost funding for research title programs to help get the USDA research budget off its current plateau and climbing again, quickly."