agriculture

Biden Nominates ARS Administrator to lead USDA Research

The Biden Administration has announced the nomination of Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young to serve as the Department of Agriculture’s Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics (REE). The REE Under Secretary oversees the Department’s science and research activities, including the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the Economic Research Service (ERS), and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Dr. Jacobs-Young is currently the Administrator of another REE agency, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and has also been serving as Acting REE Under Secretary. A Senate confirmation hearing has not yet been scheduled.

House and Senate Committees Approve FY 2019 Agriculture Funding

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved their fiscal year (FY) 2019 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bills. This bill contains funding for the two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistical agencies, the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), as well as the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which funds competitive research projects. The House bill (H.R. 5961) was approved by the subcommittee on May 9 and by the full committee on May 16. The Senate version of the bill, which does not yet have a…

House Appropriations Subcommittees Begin Marking Up Spending Legislation

The House Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) and Agriculture and Rural Development (Ag) hosted markups last week on drafts of their fiscal year (FY) 2019 spending bills. The CJS bill, which is responsible for funding the Census, the Department of Justice, and federal science agencies, among other programs, includes $8.2 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF), a $408 million increase above the FY 2018 enacted amount. The Ag bill, which includes funding for the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, does not endorse the large cut to the Economic Research Service…

Congress Moves FY 2018 Spending Bills Ahead of August Recess

The House and Senate have worked in recent weeks to advance as many of the fiscal year (FY) 2018 annual appropriations bills as possible before heading out of town for the typical month-long August recess. Details have been emerging on lawmakers’ funding plans for agencies and programs important to the COSSA community. The House Appropriations Committee approved two bills this month that provide the bulk of funding support for the social sciences. The Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill, which funds the National Science Foundation, Department of Justice, and Census Bureau, was approved on July 13. The…

Agriculture Research Board Seeking Representatives from Social Science Associations

The National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board is seeking nominations to fill nine vacancies, including a slot reserved for a representative from a national social science association. The NAREEE Advisory Board is comprised of 25 members, each representing a core stakeholder group for agricultural research, extension, education, and economics, and advises the Secretary of Agriculture on policies and priorities related to those domains. In addition to seeking to fill a vacancy for the National Social Science Association category, the Board is seeking nominations for the National Food Science Organization, National Nutritional Science Society, and 1862 Land-Grant…

NIFA Introduces New Behavioral Science Grants Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced a new grant program, Behavioral and Experimental Economic Applications for Agri-Environmental Policy Design, within the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities program. The new program is jointly funded with the USDA’s Economic Research Service. For its first round, the new program plans to offer two grants, totaling $500,000 to help “pinpoint motivators that drive farmers to adopt conservation practices and identify the roadblocks that may get in the way.” Back to this issue’s table of contents.

National Academies to Launch Study on the Future of Food and Agriculture Research; Nominations Sought for Executive Committee

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced a new study, Science Breakthroughs 2030: A Strategy for Food and Agriculture Research. The year-long study hopes to “identify ambitious scientific directions in food and agriculture made possible by incorporating knowledge and tools from across the science and engineering spectrum.” The study is sponsored by the Supporters of Agriculture Research (SoAR) Foundation, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), and the Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Nominations are currently being sought for the study’s executive committee, which will author the project’s final consensus report, after seeking…

Nominations Open for New National Academy of Sciences Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (a public-private venture created by the 2014 Farm Bill) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have endowed a $100,000 National Academy of Sciences Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences. The annual prize will recognize an “extraordinary contribution to agriculture or to the understanding of the biology of a species fundamentally important to agriculture or food production.” Potential recipients may represent any of the following fields: plant and animal sciences, microbiology, nutrition and food science, soil science, entomology, veterinary medicine, and agricultural economics. Nominations are being accepted through October 3, 2016. More information…

House and Senate Get Moving on 2017 Spending Bills

More than a dozen markups and hearings are scheduled this week for House and Senate Appropriations committees and subcommittees. Appropriators are moving ahead with writing their respective fiscal year (FY) 2017 appropriations bills, despite no agreement on top-line funding levels by way of a budget resolution. You will recall that a bipartisan budget deal was struck back in October, which provided for an extra $30 billion (of a $1.1 trillion total federal budget) in discretionary spending—split evenly between defense and nondefense—in FY 2017. However, the most conservative wing of the GOP in the House are digging in their heels, demanding…

House Agriculture Appropriations Bill Passes Appropriations Committee

The House Appropriations Committee has released its draft bill and Committee Report for the fiscal year (FY) 2017 funding for the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies. The bill passed the Subcommittee by on April 13 and the full Commtitee on April 19. A list of amendments adopted during the full committee markup is available here (none affect the research and science agencies funded by the bill). Details on the bill’s proposed funding for the Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies important to the social and behavioral sciences follow. Overall, the bill provides flat funding or very modest increases to…

Sam Farr, Ranking Member on House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Announces Retirement

Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) announced his retirement from Congress at the end of his term after 22 years in the House. Farr is the Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. As Ranking Member, Farr has been a vocal advocate for agricultural science and statistics, memorably speaking out on the House floor against a proposed amendment to cut funding for the Economic Research Service (ERS) in 2014. It remains to be seen who will fill Farr’s spot. Currently, only three other Democrats serve on the Subcommittee. Back to this…

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