New earmark-limiting spending bill could crimp ag research

A government-wide spending bill presented to Congress this week proposes to temporarily halt many earmarks. The moratorium may crimp agricultural research, according to an article in the Jan. 29 Wall Street Journal. Most affected, says the article, are land-grant universities, which have become increasingly dependent on earmarks. Earmarks for potato research, for example, have climbed from less than $25 million in 1981 to more than $125 million in 2006. Most of the earmarked funds will be distributed back to the colleges through federal aid programs, but most of the college’s will receive less than they do now.