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Release: Briefing Addresses Building Agricultural Resilience for Future Generations

February 28, 2023

For Immediate Release

Contact: Laura Zaks

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition


Release: Briefing Addresses Building Agricultural Resilience for Future Generations 

Farmer/Researcher Panel Encourages Increasing Public Investments in Ag Research

Washington, DC, February 28, 2023 – Yesterday, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), Union of Concerned Scientists, Carbon180, and the Breakthrough Institute hosted a joint briefing on how public funding for agricultural research and development (R&D) has the potential to improve sustainability and build farmer and rancher resilience in the face of increasing food system disruptions caused by climate change. Despite its proven economic and environmental benefits, public investment in agricultural research has stagnated. Adjusted for inflation, annual public agricultural R&D investments in the U.S. have declined by about one-third since peaking in 2002.

Representative Jimmy Panetta (D-CA 19), and Representative Jim Baird (R-IN 4), co-chairs of the House Agriculture Research Caucus, gave opening remarks on the importance of increasing investments in agriculture research in the next farm bill. 

“I plan to work with Republicans and Democrats on the agriculture committee to expand organic research by directing USDA to direct the Agriculture Research Service to expand organic research,” said Representative Panetta.

Representative Baird stated: “I’m excited to be involved with the agricultural committee in DC and I will be the chair of the subcommittee on research, conservation, and biotechnology, all three of which are important. ”

Over the last several decades, publicly funded agricultural research has led to the advancement of countless innovative techniques and practices that have helped farmers across the country increase their profitability and sustainability. All farmers need access to high-quality research that is relevant to their particular region and type of operation.  Existing USDA research programs such as the Long-Term

Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) Network and Climate Hubs, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) have played a significant role in providing this research even with limited funding. This type of research is particularly critical for diversified and organic growers – who on average tend to be younger, operate smaller operations, and have less access to capital and other resources. 

“In sustainable agriculture growing systems, we can’t follow a standard formula. We don’t just kill all the bugs and weeds and start with a flat empty field. Instead, we work with the unique qualities of our land and ecosystem to grow with as little input and as minimal disturbance as possible, while enhancing the fertility and natural diversity year over year. Managing this is nuanced and site-specific. It requires a whole big toolbox of knowledge and skills, and careful observation to determine which to apply and when and how much,” shared Lindsay Klaunig of Trouvaille Farm in Athens, OH who is a SARE farmer. “Programs like SARE are critical to the continuing survival and success of sustainable farmers like myself, and as climate change continues to disrupt our food systems, sustainable agriculture is poised to best meet the challenges ahead.” 

“We need greatly expanded investments in food and agriculture research across USDA’s REE mission area to ensure long-term food security for all in the face of climate change. This includes the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Economic Research Service (ERS), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), and the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS),” noted Nick Rossi, NSAC Policy Associate, adding that “through their intramural and extramural programs, these agencies can provide much-needed scientific research and economic data and analysis so that agricultural producers can sustain and improve their operations while helping us reach meaningful solutions to address the climate crisis.”

For additional information on the briefing here


About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: https://sustainableagriculture.net

Categories: Press Releases, Research, Education & Extension

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