November 9, 2007
November 9, 2007 - Currently, $200 million per year in Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems (IFAFS) funds are scheduled to become available in fiscal year 2010. The Food and Energy Security Act, as reported by the Senate committee, proposes to eliminate mandatory funding for this program, whereas the House version protects the funding so that it becomes available as scheduled and provides additional mandatory research dollars.
National and state associations, including the American Sheep Industry Association, forwarded letters to Sens. Tom Harkin (Iowa), chair, and Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), ranking member, of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, urging them to ensure that IFAFS funding becomes available for the nation's agricultural research, education and extension needs as scheduled. The groups contend that the elimination of these funds will severely limit integrated agriculture research and extension programs at a time when such efforts are even more necessary to help solve pressing national and international problems.
The IFAFS program was created in 1998 to provide a source of mandatory funding for integrated competitive programs sponsored by land-grant universities. Since its inception, however, IFAFS funds have been captured in all but two years by the appropriations committees, the Office of Management and Budget and committees on agriculture via the budget reconciliation process. Nonetheless, the land-grant system has worked hard to reverse this situation in light of the tremendous unfunded needs. Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33