Letter
Dear Chairman Bishop, Chairwoman Baldwin, Ranking Member Fortenberry and Ranking Member Hoeven:

As your committees consider Appropriations for the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies for Fiscal Year 2022, we respectfully request full funding for the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AgARDA), authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Now more than ever, funding for agricultural research is of vital importance. Over the last year, the food and agriculture sector has faced unprecedented disruption that has had rippling effects across our entire supply chain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding AgARDA will be instrumental to overcome gaps in the stability of the U.S. food system, and it will help the United States maintain a position of global leadership when new challenges, or science and engineering opportunities, emerge.

AgARDA’s authorizing legislation aims to quickly and definitively tackle some of the biggest challenges in food and agriculture, from climate change, to production mechanization, to zoonotic diseases. AgARDA’s specialized statutory hiring authorities and contracting vehicles, combined with the strategic planning, coordination and consultation, allows significant achievements to occur more rapidly than in a conventional setting. Leveraging this model will serve to boost economic recovery, kickstarting new ventures and creating new career opportunities in the agricultural sector.

As we have learned all too well from recent human, animal, and plant health crises, ranging from COVID- 19 to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, the United States must be prepared to respond rapidly to outbreaks by leveraging public-private partnerships, improving efficiency and accelerating research and development for critical technologies. AgARDA, which is modeled after the successes of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), will foster research and development that will help the U.S. food and agriculture value chain better prepare for future pandemics and respond more efficiently.

Extreme weather events caused by continued changes to climate represent a real, long-term threat to our ability to maintain a domestic food supply. Innovative research funded by AgARDA will not only improve biosecurity but also advance climate smart technologies and production practices that put U.S. farmers in the driver seat to address challenges related to climate change.

As Congress looks for ways to combat the health, economic, and climate crises Americans currently face, we urge you to fund the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority pilot at the authorized level of $50 million. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

American Association of Mycobacterial Diseases

American Dairy Coalition

American Dairy Science Association

American Farm Bureau Federation

American Feed Industry Association

American Seed Trade Association

American Society of Agronomy

American Society of Animal Science

American Society of Plant Biologists

American Society for Microbiology

American Soybean Association

Association of American Universities

Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges

California Citrus Mutual

California Fresh Fruit Association

California Table Grape Commission

Colorado State University

Corn Refiners Association

Crop Science Society of America

Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative

Entomological Society of America FASS

Florida Tomato Exchange

Iowa State University

Kansas State University

Michigan State University, AgBioResearch

Mycobacterial Diseases of Animals – Multistate Initiative

National Association for the Advancement of Animal Science

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture

National Association of Wheat Growers

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

National Coalition for Food & Agricultural Research

National Milk Producers Federation

National Pork Producers Council

National Turkey Federation

North American Meat Institute

Pet Food Institute

Plant Based Products Council

Produce Marketing Association

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rural & Agriculture Council of America

Society for Range Management

Soil Science Society of America

Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation

Union of Concerned Scientists

United Fresh Produce Association

United States Cattlemen’s Association

Western Growers

Date Sent:

March 1, 2021

Sender:

Agriculture coalition group

Recipient:

U.S. House and Senate Agriculture Committee Leadership

Subject:

FY22 Ag Appropriations: Agriculture research funding

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