In a move aimed at securing America's global agricultural dominance, Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (D-IL-13) unveiled the bipartisan America Grows Act. The bill, announced during a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign roundtable with the Farm Journal Foundation, addresses the need to enhance investments in agricultural research.
The America Grows Act mandates a consistent annual increase of five percent in funding over the next decade for research initiatives driven by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) are leading parallel legislation in the Senate.
Speaking about the initiative, Congresswoman Budzinski emphasized the urgency to bolster research, highlighting the growing dominance of China and the European Union in agricultural research funding. The bill seeks to channel resources into institutions like the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to sustain the U.S.'s position in the 21st-century agricultural economy.
German Bollero, Dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, highlighted the crucial role of research in ensuring a secure food supply and driving economic development. The bill's expansion of research opportunities at the USDA, including the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), aims to improve America's global competitiveness and foster innovative solutions for challenges such as sustainability and disease prevention.
With endorsements from numerous organizations, including the University of Illinois, the Alliance to End Hunger, and the National Farmers Union, the America Grows Act holds the promise of revitalizing the nation's agricultural research landscape.