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Demonstrating the Importance of Agricultural Research & Education

By Doug Steele, APLU Vice President for Food, Agriculture, & Natural Resources

Federal funding for research and education in food, agriculture, and natural resources is critical to solving many societal challenges. As a nation, if we want to decrease obesity and malnutrition, control invasive species, improve the vitality of our rural communities, and provide clean water, healthy forests, abundant fish and wildlife, and sustainable energy, we need to invest far more in the agricultural research, education, and Extension system.

Doug Steele

This week, APLU is joining AFRI Coalition, National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research (NC-FAR), and Supporters of Agricultural Research Foundation (SoAR), in hosting its annual Agricultural Research Congressional Exhibition and Reception to show members of Congress and their staffs how federal funds for agriculture research and education impact our everyday lives.

This year’s event includes 29 exhibits from universities; scientific professional societies; USDA agencies; and others. Highlighted research will include federally funded projects on sustainability, antimicrobial resistance, preventing food-borne illness, improving access to nutritious foods, averting the next epidemic, plant breeding, dealing with drought, training agricultural leaders, and much more.

The research shared at this event represents only a tiny fraction of the incredible work being carried out in the United States and an even smaller fraction of what could be accomplished with increased funding and support for our agricultural research and education programs.

Importantly, this funding must include strengthening both competitive grants and the capacity funds that sustain our land-grant university system. Capacity funding is the backbone of federal investments in agricultural science. These funds allow our universities to make the necessary investments to respond to local needs and identify emerging issues. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been an incredible partner in supporting our vital research and education programs and we need to ensure this partnership continues.

The participants in this year’s exhibition show the critical importance of federal investments in agricultural science and how our research and education system drives innovation and increases competitiveness.

Agricultural research impacts all Americans, whether we live in a rural community or urban center. We must continue to invest in these vital programs.

  • Agriculture, Human Sciences & Natural Resources
  • Commission on Economic & Community Engagement
  • Commission on Food, Environment, & Renewable Resources
  • Council on Governmental Affairs
  • Research, Science & Technology

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