April 1, 2011
The Honorable Harold Rogers The Honorable Norm Dicks
Chairman and Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515 Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Dicks:
The undersigned organizations represent a broad coalition that is extremely concerned about the elimination of vital research funding for American agriculture under the most recent Continuing Resolution.
Under House Joint Resolution 48, funding was eliminated for the remainder of the year for all special research grants under the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and all “Congressionally directed” research projects in the ARS budget. The total amount of this account for FY 2011 was $89 million from the NIFA budget and $42 million from the ARS budget, which is a small sum in comparison to the overall federal budget, but a critical amount considering the essential research being conducted in almost every state. Moreover, these research efforts support jobs and future technological advancements that will help our country maintain its ability to address future global food security issues.
Specifically, NIFA and ARS funding supports vital research essential to combat pests and diseases, address food safety and security issues, environmental compliance, and to enhance the nutritional value of certain crops. Additionally, the beneficial impact of the vital funding that effective agricultural research can deliver has been identified as a 30 to 1 return on investment for the American taxpayer. What makes this situation even worse is that NIFA and ARS are allowed no alternatives to achieve savings. Rather, they are directed to target and eliminate “Congressionally-directed” research projects without regard for the importance of, or the need for, the research being conducted.
Though we are respectful of the difficult task that confronts Congress and the important efforts that have been taken to begin to reducing our federal deficit, we believe that the costs of eliminating this funding, and thereby these research functions, far outweigh any immediate benefit in regard to spending reduction. In the future, the funds that the federal government will need to provide to fill this void, particularly in the area of pest and disease eradication will far exceed the small yet vital investment that these competitive
grants currently receive.
We respectfully ask that a funding level equal to that in FY2010 be provided for these essential activities.
Thank you for considering this important issue.
American Nursery and Landscape Association
Blue Diamond Growers
California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers
California Grape and Tree Fruit League
California Table Grape Commission
Cape Cod Cranberry Growers
Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association
Del Monte Foods
Empire State Potato Growers
Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association
Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association
Idaho Grower Shippers Association
Idaho Potato Commission
Maine Potato Board
Michigan Carrot Development Program
Michigan Potato Industry Commission
National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance
National Association of Wheat Growers
National Aquaculture Association
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
National Grape and Wine Initiative
National Grape Cooperative Association/Welch’s
National Milk Producers Federation
National Potato Council
National Watermelon Association
Northern Plains Potato Growers Association
Northwest Agri Products
Northwest Horticultural Council
Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.
Oregon Potato Commission
Produce Marketing Association
Seneca Foods Corporation
Society of American Florists
Texas Produce Association
United Fresh Produce Association
U.S. Apple Association
U.S. Dry Bean Council
Washington State Hay Growers Association
Washington State Potato Commission
Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers
Western Pistachio Association
Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine
Wisconsin Cranberry Growers Association
Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association