Legislation would put USDA research, education and extension in one agency and double funding

CREATE-21, a proposal introduced in the U.S. Senate on April 12, would make one agency out of four existing USDA units that deal with research, education, and extension. To be combined would be the Agricultural Research Service; the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service; the Economic Research Service; and the Forest Service R & D.

The idea is that creating the new agency, to be called The National Institutes for Food and Agriculture, would eliminate program duplication and reduce budgetary and operating inefficiencies,while protecting critical existing programmatic capacity and doubling funding.

“This nation and the whole planet face both daunting challenges and tremendous opportunities that will require structural and funding improvements at USDA,” said Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who introduced the proposal along with Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA).

“CREATE-21 authorizes a doubling of funding for food, agriculture, and natural resource research, teaching, and extension programs at USDA to address the enormous opportunities and daunting challenges that face the country and the greater global community. In CREATE-21, the National Association of State Universities andLand-Grant Colleges and its partners have developed a bold and comprehensive proposal that truly seeks to update and improve the Federal-State Partnership in the Food and Agricultural Sciences. I am proud to support that effort.”

The proposal was developed by the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, a voluntary association of public research universities, land-grant institutions, and many state university systems. CALS is a member of NASULGC.

“This is an important first step in our legislative campaign to improve the structure of the USDA’s research, teaching, and extension programs and enhance funding for these critically important efforts,” said Dr. Ian L. Maw, Vice President of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources for NASULGC.

“Agricultural Secretary Johanns endorsed this agency consolidation in large part with release of the USDA’s recommendations for the Research Title of the 2007 Farm Bill. NASULGC is pleased to see that this will now be discussed in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry as they begin to put together the 2007 Farm Bill.”