Federal Issue Brief

 S. 2274, Foundation for Food and Agriculture

AVMA Position:

Support

Summary:

The legislation directs the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) to establish the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) to: 

  • advance USDA's research mission by supporting agricultural research focused on addressing key problems of national and international significance
  • foster collaboration with agricultural researchers from the federal government, institutions of higher education, industry, and nonprofit organizations
The legislation directs the foundation to:
  • award grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, scientists and entities to advance Foundation goals
  • identify and coordinate existing and proposed federal research and development programs relating to Foundation purposes
  • identify unmet and emerging agricultural research needs
  • facilitate technology transfer and information release to the agricultural research community; and 5. promote the development of the next generation of agricultural research scientists

Background:

  • FFAR would complement and add to USDA’s portfolio of intramural and extramural research programs that help solve current and future challenges facing agriculture, develop new opportunities for American agriculture, and bring innovative technology from laboratory to marketplace
  • With an ever expanding global population and increasing demands for food and other agricultural products, increased investments in food and agricultural research are essential to maintaining our nation’s food, economic and national security
  • USDA-sponsored research is vital to achieving the agricultural production levels necessary to feed the expected worldwide population by 2050 of 9 billion people and to remain competitive in a global economy. Despite the importance of such research, current funding for food and agricultural research is less than 2.5% of USDA’s budget
  • FFAR is an innovative solution to increase funding and to leverage current and future investments in research. Establishing a FFAR will generate new sources of funding for food and agricultural research. It will provide a structure for new public/private partnerships and investments that will further USDA’s research mission
  • FFAR can help provide funding for new concepts and ideas, research to address knowledge gaps, translational research, and emerging research needs.

Current Status: 

S. 2274 was introduced on 3/29/2012 by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee. S. 2274 has been incorporated into the Senate’s 2012 Farm Bill, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act (S. 3240) which passed in that chamber by a vote of 64-35 on June 21, 2012. The House’s version of the Farm Bill does not include a similar provision.

AVMA Contact:

Gina Luke, Assistant Director, Governmental Relations Division, 202-289-3204.