Budzinski Announces Ag Research Funding Increase Bill at U of I Roundtable

By Benjamin Cox on August 30, 2023 at 8:38am

13th District Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski has announced legislation that would increase funding for the first time in several decades in the agricultural research sector.

Budzinski announced the America Grows Act at a round table at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with the Farm Journal Foundation on Monday.

The America Grows Act would require a five percent annual funding increase each year for the next ten years for research activities driven by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and Republican Kansas Senator Jerry Moran are leading companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.

Budzinski said in a press release that expanding research at the USDA, including through the National Institute for Food and Agriculture will bolster America’s competitiveness in international markets, advance new sustainability and engineering technologies, develop more food-based solutions for rising global population rates, and prevent risks for plant and animal disease transmissions.

According to the press release, U.S. Share of total agriculture research investments globally among high-income countries as a group has declined from 35 percent in 1960 to less than 25 percent by 2013. By comparison, in the past 30 years, Chinese investments in public agriculture research have risen eight-fold, with China now the world’s largest public funder of agriculture research. According to a 2021 report jointly commissioned by the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Farm Journal Foundation, U.S. public spending on food and agriculture has been flat for the past decade, threatening the competitiveness of U.S food systems, a growing concern as the global population may reach 10 billion by 2050, and food production needs will increase by 60-70 percent.

The bill has been endorsed by over 100 organizations Illinois and national organizations.

The bill is currently being heard before the House Appropriations Committee.