US awards $30m to improve food production

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: President of the united states, Barack obama, Beef, Lamb, Pork, Poultry

Tom Vilsack (centre) called the $30m grants an "investment" in America's future
Tom Vilsack (centre) called the $30m grants an "investment" in America's future
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will award grants of more than $30m to improve food safety, reduce antibiotic resistance and bolster plant resilience in the wake of climate change.

The announcement was made by US President Barack Obama’s science advisor Dr John Holdren and USDA secretary of state Tom Vilsack.

Vilsack confirmed Barack Obama’s 2017 budget will also earmark $700m for the USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), a level of funding that was enshrined in the 2008 Farm Bill.

‘Investment in our future’

Obama’s decision to double AFRI funding is good news for the scheme as it has only been able to fund one in ten research proposals since its creation in 2008 - the scheme lacked the levels of funding agreed upon in the 2008 Farm Bill, the USDA claim.

In the face of diminishing land and water resources and increasingly variable climatic conditions, food production must increase to meet the demands of world population projected to pass nine billion by 2050​,” said agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack. “Funding in research to respond to these challenges should be considered as an investment in our nation’s future, an investment which will pay big dividends in the years to come.​”

Obama doubles funding

Barack Obama’s special advisor on science John Holdren joined Vilsack in announcing the $30m grants and called the investment in food safety and science “essential​”.

Science, technology, and innovation are essential to meeting virtually every challenge our nation faces, which is why the administration has consistently supported increasing federal investments in R&D,​” said John Holdren.

Further strengthening our investments in agricultural research will be essential for US farmers to be able to keep the nation’s food supply abundant, healthy, reliable, and sustainable through the 21st century. That’s why the President’s forthcoming 2017 budget request doubles funding for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative to the full authorised level of $700 million.​”

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