Wednesday, April 20, 2016

House Appropriations Committee Provides $25 Million Increase for USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative


WASHINGTON, DC (April 19, 2016)—Today, the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations approved a $25 million addition for the USDA’s AFRI program for fiscal year 2017. If this funding level holds throughout the federal budget process, AFRI will receive a 15 percent increase in the past two fiscal years.

"The Subcommittee markup shows progress and a step forward in this difficult budget environment," said Thomas Grumbly, president of the SoAR Foundation. "The additional resources are urgently needed to tackle today's agricultural crises like Avian flu and citrus greening disease as well as those that have yet to emerge."

AFRI is the USDA’s premiere source of competitive research funding; proposals are subject to a peer review process to make sure that the key questions in agriculture and food production can be answered. In the last four years, AFRI’s review process identified $3.85 billion in grants worthy of funding. However, with a limited annual budget, the program could only award $950 million—less than a quarter of the science that the program’s expert panels deemed worthy.

The House Appropriations Committee is chaired by Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky. Last year, the increase that AFRI received in FY2016—more than three quarters of all new funding for USDA Research and Education activities that year—brought the annual budget to $350 million.

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