Wheat farmers, researchers, millers and bakers have delivered a message to lawmakers in Washington. There is no more to cut from federal funding for agriculture research. The industry’s annual fly-in was sponsored by the National Wheat Improvement Committee, a group of wheat scientists and stakeholders, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the North American Millers’ Association and the American Bakers Association.
The industry leaders are worried that funding for public research will be down as much as 12 percent next year. The Agricultural Research Service is expected to cut research funding by 30 percent, closing 12 labs. The American Association for the Advancement of Science reports that despite demonstrated return on investment of up to 32-dollars for every dollar invested, just 1.6 percent of the 142-billion annual federal investment in research goes to agriculture.
Public researchers undertake vital basic science. Public programs, particularly those that work in collaboration with land-grant universities, also focus on addressing local or regional problems. Bing Von Bergen, a wheat farmer from Moccasin, Montana, and NAWG’s first vice president, says - funding for research is an investment in the future of farming and the future of food.