Support for Increased Ag Research
April 4, 2014
 

In a letter hand delivered to the appropriations committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, 88 national and state organizations, including the American Sheep Industry Association, wrote to request support for $10 million in appropriations for Section 1433 Continuing Animal Health and Disease, Food Security and Stewardship Research, Education and Extension Programs in the fiscal year 2015 Agriculture Appropriations Bill.

The recently passed Farm Bill includes an important expansion of Section 1433 to establish a new competitive research-grants mechanism to address critical priorities in food security, one health and stewardship. The expanded authority came in response to a historic funding disparity for the animal sciences and represents a strong opportunity to address significant challenges facing animal agriculture.

Demand for food is expected to increase from 70 percent to 100 percent by 2050 and animal agriculture must be a major contributor to meet these needs. Meat consumption is estimated to increase by 73 percent, dairy consumption is estimated to increase 57 percent and per capita egg consumption in developing countries is expected to rise by almost 40 percent.

As the world's population grows and natural resources become limited, animal agriculture research is necessary now more than ever to improve efficiency in order to continue providing safe and abundant food supplies for the growing global community. It is imperative that the increased food production be done in a manner that will protect our natural resources while maintaining America's global competitiveness in producing animals and animal products.

Advancements in animal science will play an important role in the future success of animal agriculture and the rural economy. The United States must step up its investments in agriculture research to maintain its status as a leading producer of safe, affordable and abundant food and meet increasing demands.

The new competitive grants program in Section 1433 provides a mechanism to focus resources on high priority areas to help animal agriculture meet future challenges. It is important to get the new competitive program started as soon as possible. The signators respectfully requested that $10 million be appropriated for Section 1433 in fiscal year 2015, as a first step toward the goal of meeting the program's authorized level of $25 million.