ACTION ALERT – HOUSE and SENATE CALLS/EMAILS NEEDED - IMMEDIATELY!
TO: Board on Agriculture Assembly
Council on Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching
Council on Governmental Affairs
As you know, (see: create-21.org/alerts/02-13-2008.htm) the top Farm Bill priority for the land-grant system is mandatory funding for research, extension, and teaching.
Current documents from the House-Senate Farm Bill conference show a $1.244 billion reduction in such funding -- a 75% reduction in the "Research, Teaching, and Extension" Title. No other title in the Farm Bill received such a large percentage reduction.
We need you -- and your researchers, extension personnel, graduate students, and any other parties willing to help -- to immediately call and/or email your senators and representatives. Please urge them to communicate with the Agriculture Committee leadership in their respective chamber. (Senators Harkin and Chambliss or Representatives Peterson and Goodlatte)
WE NEED TO INUNDATE CAPITOL HILL WITH OUR CALLS AND EMAILS!
The message follows:
I am calling/writing to express my strong concern with regard to the House-Senate conference on H.R. 2419, the Farm Bill.
While it is encouraging to hear of progress being made which would bring the conference to a conclusion, I am distressed by indications that existing mandatory "Research Title" funding for land-grant research, extension, and teaching will be all but wiped out.
Over the past many years, I have heard senators and representatives from both sides of the aisle talk about the need for more funding, not less.
Additional university funding is absolutely necessary to combat the growing problem of obesity; to find new conservation techniques for preserving soil and water; to develop methods to provide more plant and animal production at less cost (to the farmer, the consumer, and the environment); and to find ways to feed our citizens and people in the rest of the world.
The most recent conference documents indicate a reduction of $1.244 billion from the Research Title — a cut of over 75%!
This would appear to be the largest percentage cut from the baseline of any title in the Farm Bill. And, it would be far below what either House or Senate Bills contained when originally passed.
We recognize that difficult decisions lie before the conferees. But these massive cuts to the Research Title are inconsistent with the increase in overall Farm Bill spending and are disproportionate to that being contemplated in other titles of the bill (such as trade and crop insurance).
The challenges facing rural America and the nation’s nutrition-challenged populations have never been greater — and neither have the opportunities to meet these challenges. We cannot address these and other problems without an enhanced investment in land-grant research, extension, and teaching.
The best opportunity to do that is in this Farm Bill.
Please do not let the outcome of this Farm Bill be the destruction of existing Research Title funding. If you cannot find ways to enhance funding, I urge you to at least protect the current land-grant funding baseline.
There is a tremendous stake for the land-grant system in a positive outcome. We need you and all of your faculty, staff, graduate students, and outside supporters to make these calls and emails!
Thanks, as always, for your assistance.
Jeffrey D. Armstrong
Chair, NASULGC's Farm Bill Committee