FARM, NUTRITION, AND BIOENERGY ACT OF 2007 -- (Extensions of Remarks - August 04, 2007)
The House in Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 2419) to provide for the continuation of argicultural programs through fiscal year 2012, and for other purposes:
* Mr. CARTER. Mr. Chairman, I want to lend my support to the committee-passed Farm Bill, and specifically the provisions related to research. In my District we have one of the Nation's best research teams at Tarleton State University, and through the expansion of the research title we have the opportunity to use this resource and further address water quality and dairy industry issues.
* In the bill there is an expansion of the Nutrient Management Research Provision to allow us to address ``unique regional concerns'' and ``dairy cattle waste''--both of which are ideally suited for the work being done at Tarleton State University. Accompanying this expansion is report language that calls attention to the challenges and opportunities facing the Southwest dairy industry, and environmental security issues addressed through the Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research (TIAER) and the Southwest Regional Dairy Center.
* This language will allow the Department of Agriculture to use a program such as TIAER for further development of cost efficient tools and policies for agriculture, with the goal of cleaner water through better science and research. This expanded language will also provide expanded dairy research initiatives in line with research already in place at Tarleton. The State of Texas has invested $11.1 million dollars to construct the Southwest Regional Dairy Center at Tarleton to address the needs of the robust dairy industry in the Southwest Region of the United States. The Southwest Region is predicted to host the greatest concentration of dairies in the nation within 15 years. This rapid expansion will create unique economic and environmental challenges and opportunities. It's fitting that we, the Federal Government, also do our part in supporting this initiative by giving it authorization to further develop this regional opportunity.
* The bill also provides for expanded research in the Chesapeake Bay, and TIAER is uniquely qualified to assist with the further development of this research activity. By using their expertise in water quality policy, monitoring, and modeling we can take advantage of existing research capabilities to expedite the goals of the Chesapeake Bay initiative. I hope these two programs are authorized and funded, as it would be foolish and wasteful to ignore and duplicate the experience and talent we have developed over the years.
* It is clear that the research language is intended for the use in developing sound scientific, economic and environmentally effective research and watershed programs. Through programs like TIAER and the Southwest Regional Dairy Center we will see coordinated research with other research institutions and universities on watershed programs, modeling tools, monitoring, applied research, and dairy cattle waste management to include bioenergy recovery. With federal assistance, the Southwest Regional Dairy Center will research, develop, and implement programs to recover energy and other useful products from dairy waste and identify best management practices in support of the dairy industry.
* The research provisions expanded in this bill would place TIAER as the leader in watershed modeling and allow them to establish the International Modeling Application Clearinghouse. With this action we can save millions of dollars through coordinated research activities. If authorized, TIAER will also facilitate the use of the Center for Environment and Private Lands (CEPL) and Industry Led Solutions (ILS) under the direction of the Institute. With past Congressional funding, ILS provides for a group of commodity diverse producers from geographically different parts of the U.S. to examine environmental policy options for private landowners. This group has been proactive in examining environmental initiatives that affect agriculture.
* I appreciate the Committee recognizing the need for the additional research in water quality, modeling, program development, monitoring, animal waste management and bioenergy recovery for the southwest dairy industry. While I continue to encourage expansion of this language to outline not only the work to be done through groups like Tarleton and the Institute, I realize this is the first step in making sure that quality research is not only scientifically sound, but cost efficient.
* I echo the committee in encouraging the Secretary of Agriculture to establish these programs promptly so that we can soundly address environmental and water quality issues and how they relate to agriculture.