Sending Office: Honorable Rodney Davis
Sent By:

Support Agriculture Research in FY19 – Closing COB TODAY (March 13)

Please join us in supporting robust agricultural research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) for FY19.

Agricultural research is one of the best investments our government can make, and yet it accounts for a mere 2% of total federal R&D spending. A recent study estimates there is a $20 return for every one dollar invested in agricultural research through USDA-NIFA,
specifically the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), USDA’s premiere competitive grants program.  

Scientific advances that result from AFRI-funded research can enhance the competitiveness of American agriculture, ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply, improve the nutrition and health of communities, sustain the environment and natural resources,
and bolster the economy. However, due to budget constraints, AFRI awards have supported less than a quarter of the science that the program’s expert review panels deemed worthy.

We believe that the need for competitive agricultural research funding is clear: Disease, pests, market volatility, climate variability, labor instability, and water quality are just a handful of challenges which make agriculture an enterprise that relies
disproportionately on good science to thrive. A significant investment in AFRI is desperately needed to support the best scientists and innovators working in the crucial fields of agriculture.

Therefore, we hope you will join us in signing the below letter to House Agriculture Appropriations Chairman Aderholt and Ranking Member Bishop requesting robust support. Increased funding for AFRI will ensure that U.S. agriculture remains competitive, and
it will narrow the gap between current productivity and future anticipated need.

If you would like to sign the below letter, please contact Jimmy Ballard with Representative Rodney Davis at (, Shantanu Tata with Representative Suzan DelBene at (,
or Brandon Honeycutt (  by COB March 13th. Thanks for your consideration.



Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen, Chairman Aderholt, Ranking Member Lowey and Ranking Member Bishop:

Thank you for your previous support for competitive agricultural research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). As you meet to consider funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, we urge you to sustain
this critical effort.  Your leadership will make a difference in helping to ensure that U.S. agriculture remains competitive globally and our country continues to lead the way in food and agriculture innovation.

Since 1948, total U.S. agricultural output more than doubled. Over the same period, the U.S. population also more than doubled. The ability of the farm sector to feed far more people today while using less farmland than six decades ago is attributed
to increases in agricultural productivity.

The major driver of growth in agricultural productivity is innovation. Average rates of return to public investments in agricultural research range from 20 to 60 percent.

Investments in public agricultural research are the major factors driving technological change that leads to growth. In the 1940s, almost 40 percent of American research and development spending was focused on agriculture. Today, agriculture research
only accounts for 2 percent of federal research and development spending. According to the USDA, total agricultural production has slowed significantly since the turn of the century.

In Fiscal Years 2012-2015, the USDA-NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) review process identified $3.85 billion in grants worthy of funding. However, with a limited annual budget, the program could only award $950 million—less than a
quarter of the science that the program’s expert panels deemed worthy.

In order to continue the important work made possible by the Committee’s prior support, we request robust funding in FY 2019. The Nation’s economic prosperity and security depend on our dedication to developing innovative, science-based solutions to
meet our growing agricultural needs and managing efficient food systems.

Thank you for your consideration of these requests. We are grateful for your leadership in ensuring that the necessary funds to protect animals, crops, and people will continue to be available.


Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Agriculture, Appropriations

icon eDC logo e-Dear Colleague version 2.0