Ag Research Bill Introduced in Both Chambers to Spur Innovation

Legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to help spur new agricultural research by leveraging private dollars to create charitable partnerships between universities and private entities. The Charitable Agricultural Research Act was introduced by Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow and Committee Member John Thune of South Dakota in the Senate and Representatives Devin Nunes of California and Ron Kind of Wisconsin in the House. The measure would amend the tax code to allow for the creation of new charitable, tax-exempt agricultural research organizations. Stabenow says innovation is critical in protecting the health and welfare of our rural communities and expanding our agriculture economy. She notes American agriculture outpaces and outperforms every other nation in the world because of decades of research that allow us to be more efficient with fewer resources. Stabenow calls this a win-win effort that builds on decades of success and momentum by continuing to pursue new research - and doing so in a cost-effective way by engaging the private sector.

Given the current tight budget environment - Thune says Congress needs to enact innovative legislation like this that encourages private donors to help meet shortfalls in agriculture research funding. He says the bill will provide a new investment tool for donors wishing to dedicate their own resources to ag research. Representative Kind is a strong supporter of reforming the tax code to help spur economic growth. He says this bill does that by bolstering the agriculture industry. He says the legislation will help create incentives for charitable donations so the connection between the private sector and the agriculture research industry can be strengthened and American can stay on the cutting edge of agricultural innovation and production.

Farm productivity has risen 158-percent since 1948 according to USDA's Economic Research Service. The increase is attributed to research - by implementing new changes in the efficiency of farming practices and the use of agricultural technology. Since the 1970s - ag research funding has become stagnant and fallen far behind other federal agencies. Agricultural scientists warn failing to invest in agricultural research could spell disaster for the future of American food security and safety. The Charitable Agricultural Research Act seeks to address these challenges through the creation of agricultural research organizations that would work in conjunction with agricultural and land-grant colleges and universities to conduct research in the field of agriculture.

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