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Senate Ag Hearing focuses on funding for ag research

Available funding for research is a big concern as debate continues on the 2018 Farm Bill.  The Senate Ag Committee held its fourth hearing on the Farm Bill as it prepares for reauthorization.

Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young with the Agricultural Research Service says ARS is faced with another big budget cut for 2018.  She says the President’s proposed budget cuts would force the USDA to make cuts at research facilities.  “The ARS has a reduction of 161-million-dollars,” she says. “As you can imagine – over the past years because budgets have not grown tremendously, we’ve done a big job of trying to look across our portfolio and using data to streamline and consolidate.  We’re at the point today where every decision we make is a tough one.”

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet says the proposed budget is coming at a cost to America’s farmers and ranchers.  And, he says, the last Farm Bill already drastically reduced its budget.  “No other committee in the Congress did that,” he says.  “No other committee did that.  And for them to be presented with a 30 percent cut to the Department of Agriculture is an insult.  It’s more than an insult.  It’s a war on Rural America, I think.”

Seventeen USDA sites face possible closure under President Trump’s proposed budget.

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