Senator Stabenow Introduces Bill to Advance Agricultural Research

Thursday, May 21, 2015

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today introduced legislation to support agricultural research. The Charitable Agricultural Research Act, which is cosponsored by John Thune (R-SD), encourages the creation of public-private partnerships to boost funding and spur innovation for agricultural research. This will allow colleges like Michigan State University to continue their work to help make sure there is a safe and steady food supply for the world's growing population. Senator Stabenow, a senior member of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, also introduced this legislation last Congress and co-led the passage of a similar bipartisan measure out the U.S. Senate Finance Committee in February.

"We need to invest in agricultural research if we want to have a strong agricultural industry in Michigan," Senator Stabenow said. "Farmers and ranchers face extraordinary challenges every day, from pests and diseases to droughts and severe weather. Our bill builds on decades of success, giving incentives to new and creative partnerships to fund research into some of agriculture's most pressing challenges."

"This initiative will encourage more private investment into agriculture research and complement current funding programs," said Doug Buhler, Director of Michigan State University AgBioResearch. It will enhance our ability to support food security for our nation now and into the future. Michigan State University supports this effort and hopes that it will become a reality."

Over the last 60 years, agricultural research has expanded food production significantly. Michigan agriculture contributes over $100 billion to the state's economy and exports $3 billion in farm goods annually. However, agricultural scientists warn that failing to invest in agricultural research could spell disaster for the future of American food security and safety. The Charitable Agricultural Research Act seeks to address these challenges by creating agricultural research organizations (AROs) that would work in conjunction with agricultural and land-grant colleges and universities to conduct research in the field of agriculture.