policy issues

Supporting Funding for Future Agriculture and Food Research

Just as research is vital to improving human health, it is critical for providing the agricultural community with the tools it needs to protect animal health and the country’s food supply. One animal disease outbreak could cripple the entire agricultural sector, forcing animals to be culled and reducing the supply of meat, milk or egg products to the marketplace, as well as devastate U.S. economic and global competitiveness.

Unfortunately, funding for agriculture and food research is not always a top priority for policymakers. Over the past decade, federal investment in agriculture research has fallen. As of 2009, China garnered the top spot for global funder of public agricultural research and development, beating out the United States, which also trails western Europe. China outspends the United States nearly two-to-one in federal funding for ag R&D.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) highlighted the historic underfunding of animal sciences at the federal level in a recent report. In particular, the NAS said that the lack of resources in R&D is putting the U.S. agriculture community at risk. The NAS called for increased federal investments in the areas of research, development and technology to meet the 70-100 percent increase in food demand the world will require by 2050.

China outspends the United States nearly two-to-one in federal funding for ag R&D.

AFIA has been working to address the animal food industry’s future research and agricultural needs by calling on policymakers to support funding for myriad programs, including:

  • A program that would help U.S. farmers and ranchers better prevent, identify and rapidly respond to animal disease outbreaks.
  • The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), which builds unique partnerships to support innovative science and leverages an initial taxpayer investment of $200 million with equal or greater matching funds from non-federal partners for every grant awarded.  
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), which funds competitive science in all facets of agricultural research, from cutting-edge genomics to precision agriculture to innovative conservation practices.

Increased support for agricultural research will strengthen rural economies, support public and animal health, and protect the country’s national security and ability to compete in a global marketplace.

In addition, AFIA, through its public charity, the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER), also funds research on behalf of the animal food manufacturing industry. This research provides valuable information to assist policymakers and regulators as they develop policies that will impact the animal food manufacturing industry. Learn more about some of the current research projects on IFEEDER’s website.