Richard Wilkins, soybean farmer from Greenwood, Delaware, Chairman of the American Soybean Association (ASA) and vice president of the National Coalition for Food and Agriculture Research (NCFAR) testified before the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research on the role of public-sector research in providing innovations for the ag community.
His testimony urged members of Congress to support research at the USDA in the 2018 Farm Bill. Failure to provide public research presents a danger in terms of missed opportunity, Wilkins said.
“We as a nation are not investing enough in in publicly funded research to permit discovery necessary to regain and then maintain our nation’s place as the leader in agricultural research. Federal funding for food and agricultural research, extension and education has been essentially flat for over 20 years despite much greater demonstrated needs, and has reportedly declined by about 25 percent in real terms since 2003. At the same time support for other federal research has increased substantially. Our nation’s competitiveness in global markets is at risk, as investments in food and agricultural science by our global competitors have been growing rapidly.“