Rep. Panetta Leads Colleagues in Urging House Leadership to Include Agricultural Research in Any Comprehensive Infrastructure Package

July 8, 2021
Press Release

Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley), Congresswoman Kim Schrier (D-WA-8), Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), and Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12) led several of their colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter to House leadership requesting a robust investment of at least $40 billion in agricultural climate research, agricultural innovation, and agricultural research in any comprehensive infrastructure package that may move forward.   The letter elevates the concerning decline in overall research and development spending as a percentage of GDP, noting that food and agriculture research lags even further behind most other federal research and development areas.  The letter also highlights the impact of these declines on the United States’ global leadership, particularly as other countries including China are investing heavily in agriculture research.  Looking ahead at the various interconnected crises facing America’s farmers, the Members underscore the importance of robust funding for agriculture research to ensure the United States stays on track to achieve net zero emissions and reclaim its international leadership in food and agriculture science.

“As American farmers continue to grapple with COVID-19 and the climate crisis, other countries, especially China, are investing heavily in agriculture research and development,” said Rep. Panetta. “That is why now more than ever we must significantly invest in the research, innovation, and infrastructure needed to support our nation’s agricultural producers and secure our global leadership in food and agricultural science.  Such a major investment would not only help today's farmers meet the present challenges, it also would provide future farmers the tools necessary to succeed."

“Modern agricultural research and education facilities are the backbone of our nation’s cutting-edge agricultural and food research enterprise,” said Rep. Schrier. “But these facilities, at institutions such as the University of Washington and Washington State University, face huge deferred maintenance needs on electrical and heating systems, efficiency standards, seismic requirements, water distribution, and more. A multi-year investment in research facilities will reposition the United States for long-term success, competitiveness, and leadership in global agricultural and food research.”

“Investments in agricultural research have led to extraordinary gains in productivity over the past century,” said Rep. Plaskett.  “While the United States has been, and should remain, the leader in cutting-edge agricultural research, public funding for agricultural research has been stagnant. Private-sector research often depends on the fundamental research supported by public investment. If the U.S. is going to remain competitive going forward, we must more investments in our agricultural research system.”

“As the proud graduate of an agricultural and technical university, I know [how] critical research is to continuing our country’s global leadership in food and agricultural science,” said Rep. Adams. “From 1862 and 1890 land-grant universities, to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and every other domestic institution that contributes to agricultural research, today’s crises and those in the future require a transformative infrastructure investment. The security of our food supply and our environment requires nothing less.”

The letter can viewed here.