Today, Rep. Timothy V. Johnson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture, held an audit hearing to examine U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research programs. This is the ninth hearing in the audit series that is designed to provide members of the committee with a greater understanding of farm policy.
Within USDA, the Under Secretary of Research, Education, and Economics (REE) administers research efforts. REE is divided into four main agencies: Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Economic Research Service (ERS), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Research programs are vital to enhancing agricultural productivity, decreasing input costs, and ensuring American consumers continue to enjoy safe, abundant, affordable, and nutritious food supply.
"The only way to meet the growing demand for food will be through technological advances. As we consider the next farm bill, we are faced with scarce resources, so this subcommittee has a responsibility to improve the administration of research programs to make most efficient and effective use of the funds available. These dollars go to not only developing the next generation of farm practices, but also to future generations of farmers through agriculture study programs offered through extension offices and land-grant institutions," said Chairman Timothy V. Johnson (R-IL).
"For 150 years, research has been a core mission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that has helped American farmers thrive. In 2008, for the first time ever, the Farm Bill created the Specialty Crops Research Initiative, which has helped confront the challenges facing America's fruit and vegetable growers in the same cooperative way program crops have enjoyed for over a century. It is critically important that our agricultural research programs remain strong so our land-grant universities and other agriculture schools can continue their important work on behalf of American agriculture," said Ranking Member Jim Costa (D-CA).