The continuing importance of agricultural research is evident with the proposed funding for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) in President Obama’s FY 2012 budget. Strong AFRI funding will support land grant, USDA, and industry scientists in meeting global challenges including food security needs, maintaining soil ecosystem health, adapting crops to a changing climate, and producing renewable energy.
In the President's FY 12 budget AFRI funding increases from $262 million to $325 million.
“We are pleased that the President has included competitive agricultural research as part of his agenda for the future of innovation, as shown by the proposed 2012 level for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). The $63 million is a realistic increase in the current budget environment,' says Caron Gala Bijl, Senior Science Policy Associate for the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA).
ASA, CSSA, and SSSA are members of the Washington DC based AFRI Coalition, a group of more than 30 science organizations that advocate for AFRI funding.
'For the purposes of addressing key issues like soil health, crop adaptation, energy production, as well as food security and safety, it is essential that AFRI weather this tough fiscal climate,' she continues.
AFRI is the flagship competitive grant program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The Institute supports work in six priority areas: plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition, and health; renewable energy, natural resources, and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities.
The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Coalition is made up of 32 scientific societies and science advocacy organizations with diverse research interests who support a full appropriation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).
The Coalition believes that robust funding of AFRI shows strong commitment to America’s farmers, consumers, researchers, and food and rural entrepreneurs, bringing them the tools necessary to maintain the country’s competitiveness. At the same time, work performed under AFRI helps to protect the natural resource base and environment, enhance human nutrition and promote health, improve our fundamental understanding of plants and animals, and foster vibrant rural communities. For more information, visit: www.africoalition.org.
The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) www.agronomy.org, is a scientific society helping its 8,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.