Ag research advocates seek USDA representation at Senate hearing

By Sarah Gonzalez

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, April 25, 2014- A research coalition representing agricultural groups, businesses and universities asked Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., to have USDA representation at a hearing the committee is holding next week on federal research spending.

Lets Talk Food

The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on April 29 entitled, “Driving Innovation through Federal Investments.” Witnesses include representatives from the White House, the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense.

Tom Van Arsdall, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research (National C-FAR), said in testimony sent Thursday that Dr. Catherine Woteki, Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics and Chief Scientist, should be invited to represent USDA at the hearing.

“Innovation in the food and agricultural sector is an essential part of any comprehensive innovation conversation,” the testimony stated. “Yet there is no witness listed as scheduled to testify at this hearing representing the USDA.” 

National C-FAR also asked Mikulski to host a full committee hearing on innovation achieved through food and agricultural science.

The testimony highlighted USDA's recently released “Annual Report on Technology Transfer FY2013,” which outlines examples of innovation achieved through federal investments in agricultural research.

National C-FAR also said USDA's $2.7 billion dedicated to food and agricultural research is less than two percent of the department's total budget. “Meanwhile China plans to spend about 16-times more at $45 billion annually on agricultural research,” according to the testimony.

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