Senators Introduce Research Bill

Senators Debbie Stabenow and Pat Roberts recently introduced legislation that would aid agricultural research by soliciting, organizing, and collecting private donations.

Over the past several months, various scientific organizations have questioned the ability of world governments to feed an ever-growing global population. According to the United Nation, over the next50 years the population may increase to nearly 10 billion, putting a significant, if not unendurable, strain on current agricultural practices.

One way to combat hunger and reform agriculture is through farm research. Drought resistance crops that can withstand anticipated climate change, that require fewer fertilizers, are more resistant to pests, or yield larger harvests could all make a serious difference in the fight against food insecurity.

However, recent budget cuts have hit the Department of Agriculture’s budget hard, and agricultural research funding has taken a serious hit as a result. The recent bill seeks to get around austerity measures by linking public investments to private charity.

The proposed legislation would create a foundation that would seek out and manage private research investments, seeking to supplement dwindling public money with more ample private resources.

According to Senator Pat Roberts, “Establishing this foundation is an innovative way to generate new sources of funding for agricultural research by leveraging our public investment with private donations during a time of federal budgetary constraints. Agriculture research must remain a priority for our nation, especially given the role food plays in national security and stability.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer