AG Research Farm Bill

AG Research Farm Bill

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
From the Ag Information Network, I’m Bob Larson. Ag Research was the farm bill issue before the Senate Ag Committee last week, as USDA and others testified on the need to fund cutting-edge Ag research, the power behind modern, high-tech agriculture.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says it’s been neglected in past farm bills …

GRASSLEY … “The United States is falling way behind our competitors in investing in Ag research. China’s now the largest funder of Ag research and development.”

A theme echoed at Senate Ag by USDA research chief Chavonda Jacobs-Young …

YOUNG … “Federal investments in agricultural research have declined by a third in the past two decades, falling far behind our international partners. Once the world’s leader, the United States now trails far behind other major nations in public agricultural research investments.”

Some believe a lack of researchers is to blame …

YOUNG … “When you talk to most Americans, they have no idea how high-tech agriculture is. And those things are only possible if you have broadband access, if you have smart young people, young people who understand biology and computer systems and informatics, who can come in and help us build AI systems and machine learning. And then we need traditional breeders, who can breed plants that can be mechanically harvested.”

She says existing programs are helping, but today’s ag needs smaller, usable technology and ways to reduce input costs.22

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