Extramural agricultural research at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) could receive an increase if a funding proposal approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee is enacted into law. On 26 April 2012, the committee passed an appropriations bill (S. 2375) for fiscal year (FY) 2013 that would provide $33.5 million in new funding for a USDA competitive research program. The $298 million proposed for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) is nearly a 13 percent increase over the current funding level. The program supports extramural research on crop and livestock production, biofuels, food safety, and the environment.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which AFRI is part of, would receive $1.2 billion. This is a roughly $37 million increase over FY 2012.

Funding for USDA’s intramural research program would remain essentially flat. The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) would receive $1.1 billion, an increase of $7.2 million. Notably, the Appropriations Committee rejected the Obama Administration’s request to close six ARS research facilities. USDA shuttered a dozen research facilities this year.

The House Appropriations Committee has yet to act on the measure.

 


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