The America Grows Act of 2021 was introduced on Monday in the Senate. It would significantly increase U.S. public investment in agricultural research and development.
The bill would increase funding for agricultural research by 5% every year on an inflation-adjusted basis at four USDA agencies over the next decade. Those agencies are the Agricultural Research Service, the Economic Research Service, the National Agricultural Statistics Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Backers of the legislation say more support for agricultural research is badly needed. U.S. public funding has declined in real dollars since 2003, while investments in other forms of domestic research have risen dramatically. The U.S. has fallen far behind its major competitors like China and Brazil when it comes to agricultural research funding. However, the America Grows Act would help reverse the trend and reassert American leadership on the global stage.
A recent study in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics says agricultural research has one of the highest returns of any public investment, estimated at $17 for every $1 spent. Maintaining U.S. competitiveness is vital to ensuring abundant, affordable food supplies, as well as supporting the economy. Food and agriculture account for nearly $3 trillion of the U.S. GDP.
(From the National Association of Farm Broadcasters)