The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) joined with dozens of other agriculture groups to encourage appropriators to restore research funding in the fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget that were cut from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in the 2011 budget.
Although representing a broad cross-section of American agriculture and food stakeholders, the signators share an unwavering commitment to maintaining the federal agricultural and food research, development and education (R&D) efforts that produce scientific outcomes needed to help the agricultural and food system achieve multiple national objectives.
The ARS appropriation in FY 2011 totaled $1.113 billion, $117 million less than the FY 2010 appropriated level of $1.251 billion. Similarly, NIFA funding in FY 2011 totaled $1.230 billion, $128 million less than the FY 2010 appropriated level of $1.359 billion. The groups urged Congress to revisit this matter when putting together the 2012 agriculture appropriations bill.
Societal demands and expectations placed upon the agricultural and food system are ever-changing and growing. Our nation has a serious and unsustainable agricultural and food R&D deficit, just as the nation has a budget deficit. Failure to address this research deficit will have real negative consequences, not just to the agricultural and food system but to the entire nation and U.S. economy.