The agricultural research funding drought must end, a new report from the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation says, citing examples of how targeted federal grants have helped to increase blueberry production, make wheat and barley adaptable to warmer weather, and identify a gene in pigs resistant to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome.

“Innovations developed today will feed our nation and the world for generations,” SOAR President Thomas Grumbly said. “But scientists need grants to cultivate those advances. We need to keep researchers hard at work now more than ever.”

SOAR pointed to funding levels for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, “USDA’s flagship program for competitively awarded research grants.” Authorized at $700 million in the 2008 Farm Bill, SOAR said “budget politics every year prevent the program from hitting that level.” AFRI is funded at $425 million for fiscal year 2020 and the Trump administration’s FY 2021 proposal is for $600 million.

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