Barrow Introduces Bill to Modernize Research and Education Components of the Farm Bill
As the House Committee on Agriculture begins negotiations on the 2007 Farm Bill, 12th District Congressman John Barrow (D-Savannah) introduced new legislation to modernize the research funding and education components of the Farm Bill.
"Many of the challenges our country has faced throughout history have been solved with science," Barrow said. "That goes double for the challenges facing America today from rising energy demands and climate change. We can only meet these challenges with more scientific know-how. And every available tool needs to be part of a team effort."
Barrow's legislation, which would comprise the Research Title of the Farm Bill, aims to meet the emerging agricultural and scientific demands of the 21st Century by eliminating duplicative research efforts at the USDA; consolidating USDA's research, extension, and teaching agencies; expanding targeted research funding; and enhancing the research capacity at the many of the nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and small 1862 land-grant universities.
In the last 35 years, the U.S. population has increased by 100 million. Our economy has grown by 293 percent. Federal revenues, outlays, and domestic spending have all risen dramatically. And funding for health and medical research at NIH has increased by 882 percent. However, during that same time period, USDA funding for food, agriculture, and natural resources research only grew at an average annual rate of just under 2 percent.
"When it comes to the research needed to feed, clothe, and fuel our nation, the supply of research funding has not kept pace with demand," Barrow said. "To make matters worse, when research is being done, it's often overlapping, because the USDA's left hand doesn't seem to know what its right hand is doing. This wastes time and taxpayer money. There's a smarter way to boost needed scientific research, and that's what my bill aims to do."
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