U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is visiting Washington state on his “Back to Our Roots” tour around the country. His visit coincides with the reauthorization of the 2014 Farm Bill, legislation that covers everything from research supporting our state’s agriculture industry and conservation to programs like crop insurance and the supplemental nutrition assistance program also known as SNAP.
Funding for agricultural research and development under the farm bill is one of Washington state’s top priorities as it supports more than 300 types of crops grown and harvested across our state. However, in the 2014 bill, funding for agriculture R&D made up only
The first farm bill was adopted during the Great Depression. Over the years, farmers have benefited from breakthroughs in agricultural innovation funded by the bill – from
Cutting-edge technologies are critical to the agricultural economy and are often a product of the fundamental scientific research conducted at our nation’s research universities. Basic research principles have the laid the groundwork for agricultural innovation – from precision agriculture to detecting viruses impacting fruit trees, potatoes, grains, wheat, hops and grapes.
The importance of fundamental agricultural research is not lost on our elected federal officials. Due to the support of Washington’s congressional delegation, Washington State University is ranked No. 1
WSU is also a proud member of The Science Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustaining federal support for fundamental research. As a WSU alumnus and recipient of TSC’s Champion of Science Award, I’ve seen firsthand how basic and applied agriculture research can turn into a foundational discovery and lead to innovative technologies like a new crop varietal or improvements in farming practices. USDA research has really helped Eastern Washington farmers.
Since the last reauthorization of the farm bill, WSU has been awarded more than $103 million in USDA funds. That money has been put to good use. With the
WSU’s research doesn’t just benefit Washingtonians, it helps all Americans. Approximately
Unfortunately, as is the case in other areas of scientific advancement, the U.S. is losing its foothold as the clear front-runner in agricultural innovation. In 2013,
As Secretary Perdue visits our state with congresswoman McMorris Rodgers and meets with local farmers, business owners and WSU students and researchers, this simple but important message is key: A farm bill that supports fundamental research is a farm bill that supports Washington state.
George Nethercutt Jr. is the founder and chairman of The George Nethercutt Civics Foundation and was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2005, representing Washington’s 5th Congressional District, where he served on the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Agriculture and the House Science Committee.
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