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RSS By: Kevin Van Trump, AgWeb.com

Kevin Van Trump has over 20 years of experience in the grain and livestock industry.

Washington Looks to Cut Funding for Wheat Research?

Feb 14, 2011

 

I am told that wheat growers, researchers, millers and bakers were all in the Nations Capital this past week trying to convince members of Congress not to cut funding for wheat research.  You have to believe their timing has been impeccable, considering wheat has been the crux of the Middle-Eastern riots.  Congress is certainly getting a first hand look at just how important farming and agriculture can be to a country.  As I have mentioned in previous reports funding for USDA programs including wheat research is under heavy scrutiny and in jeopardy of being cut.  You have to remember, Federal government spending on wheat research is considered "discretionary-spending," the type most targeted for cuts by the House Budget Committee.  Wheat is vital to the U.S. and world economy and for food security.  What they have to remember is that wheat exports alone contributed almost $6 billion dollars to the US economy last year.  That doesn't count all of the additional billions in revenue generated from items containing wheat domestically.  What I found amazing was the fact that agriculture research funding for the past 20 years has remained unchanged, while revenue generated, expenses for salaries and new technology have soared.  Like those supporting the Wheat industry in DC, I wanted to voice my support for the cause as I understand how important it is for wheat research to continue to receive this funding.  I believe it is critical that here in the US we continue to have access to an abundant and affordable wheat supply.  There are certainly many other government programs that can can be cut prior to one that produces massive amounts of revenue and is instrumental in keeping our families fed.  I have been told that trying to produce a new variety could take close to an entire decade.  Finding new innovative ways to fight disease and pest inside the crop and better ways to plant, harvest and deliver the grain to the mills is essential.  For years we spent millions teaching the rest of the world how to farm and ways to improve their production, now your telling me we can't afford to keep advancing the ball here at home... Somebody has to be nuts!  I am all for reduced government spending, but I don't think this is where you start.  Let's hope those who have been voted in can come to some sensible conclusion. 
 

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