September 23, 2014
On Monday September 22, twenty-eight members of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Coalition sent a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committees thanking them for the increase in funding for AFRI included in each of their Fiscal Year 2015 Agriculture Appropriations bills.
The letter also requests their continued support for the inclusion of $325 million in Fiscal Year 2015 funding for AFRI, as part of the end of the year funding package that Congress is expected to consider later this fall.
This amount represents a modest increase of 3 percent for the AFRI program.
AFRI is the largest federal research program providing competitive grants to researchers to solve the pressing challenges facing farmers of all kinds.
AFRI provides grants for fundamental and applied research, extension, and education to address key challenges that farmers, rural communities, and consumers face.
AFRI was created by the 2008 Farm Bill and replaced both the National Research Initiative (NRI), authorized in 1990, and the Initiative for Future Agricultural and Food Systems (IFAFS), authorized in 1998.
The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorizes the program and provides an authorization for appropriations of up to $700 million for each Fiscal Year through 2018. In recent years, the annual agricultural appropriation passed by Congress has provided steadily increasing funding for AFRI, but the program has never been fully funded.
The House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committees have both passed appropriations bills providing funding for the United States Department of Agriculture, including AFRI. However, no year-long agriculture appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2015 has been passed into law.
On September 18, Congress passed a short-term appropriations bill, funding the government through December 11.
A spreadsheet of all of NSAC’s appropriations priorities for Fiscal Year 2015 can be found here.