Coalition of 50 ag groups asks for increase in Ag apropos
A coalition of 50 agriculture organizations on Tuesday sent a letter to the House and Senate appropriations leaders asking for an increase in the Agriculture appropriations bill for fiscal year 2020, particularly for research and education.
In a letter, the groups urged support for the Trump administration’s announced goal of the USDA Innovation Agenda – to stimulate innovation to substantially increase production while simultaneously cutting the environmental footprint of U.S. agriculture.
The groups acknowledged that appropriators need to develop an emergency funding package, but said, “Strong funding for the Agriculture appropriations bill, including in particular its research, education, extension, and economics programs, is a critical step toward meeting the Innovation Agenda goal and the United States reclaiming its global lead in food and agricultural science and technology.
“A renewed common commitment to advances in agriculture, food and nutrition, natural resources, and environmental sciences is required to improve national security, competitiveness, sustainability, climate resilience, and public health. We believe securing these interests and reaching this goal cannot be achieved absent a very substantial increase in public funding for food and agricultural research, education, extension, and economics.”
The letter was distributed by Catherine Woteki, the Agriculture undersecretary for research, education and economics in the Obama administration.
Woteki is president of the Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation, which held a roundtable discussion convened earlier in March to identify priorities for the FY 2021 appropriations. The letter “presents a unified voice in support of the research and education needed for economic growth and food security,” Woteki said.
Woteki is also a professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University and a visiting professor at the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute.