Government Relations & Washington Update
AAEA Joins Coalition Letter in Support of Agricultural Research Funding
On September 30th, Congress cleared a short-term funding bill that was signed by President Biden, averting a government shutdown. The bill, which extends fiscal year 2022 funding levels through December 16th, passed with bipartisan support in the House and Senate. The continuing resolution give Congress additional time to reconcile differences between House and Senate spending proposals.
AAEA has joined with coalition partners in sending a letter urging Congress to provide strong support for agricultural research in the final fiscal year 2023 spending package. The letter requests that Congress provide $1.768 billion for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Research (NIFA) as recommended in the House Agriculture Appropriations bill and $1.922 billion for the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) as recommended in the Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill. The letter also highlights specific program requests including:
- $500 million in funding for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) as recommended in the House Agriculture Appropriations bill.
- $2 million in funding for the Research Facilities Act (RFA) as recommended in the House Appropriations Minibus bill.
- Provide at least $2 million in funding for the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AgARDA) as recommended in the House Agriculture Appropriations bill.
AAEA also supports the Senate proposed levels for the Economic Research Service ($96 million) and the National Agricultural Statistics Service ($213.5 million), which would provide higher levels of funding than the House passed version.
White House Holds Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, Health
On September 28th, the Biden Administration hosted the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. AAEA has been actively engaged with the White House throughout the planning process, participating in stakeholder listening sessions and providing detailed written comments in the lead-up to the event. The conference focused on five pillars: 1. Improve food access and affordability, 2. Integrate nutrition and health, 3. Empower all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices, 4. Support physical activity for all, and 5. Enhance nutrition and food security research.
In conjunction with the conference the Administration has released a National Strategy with actions the federal government will take to drive solutions to these challenges. Of particular interest is the section on Pillar 5: Enhance Nutrition and Food Security Research. The National Strategy calls for improving nutrition metrics, data collection, and research to inform nutrition and food security policy, particularly on issues of equity, access, and disparities. The Biden Administration is committing to developing innovative, inclusive, impactful, and science-based, policy solutions to address nutrition and food insecurity. The federal government spends approximately $2 billion on nutrition research each year, primarily through HHS National Institutes of Health (NIH). However, there are still gaps in the scientific understanding of nutrition and health. To expand nutrition, health, and food security research efforts and ensure equitable opportunity for marginalized groups to realize the benefits of research, the Administration is proposing to:
- Bolster nutrition research funding to support evidence-based policies
- Implement a coordinated federal vision for advancing nutrition science.
- Ensure diversity and inclusion in nutrition, health, and food security research.
- Expand and diversify the nutrition science workforce
- Invest in creative new approaches to advance research regarding the prevention and treatment of diet-related diseases.
- Bolster data collection to better identify trends.
- Evaluate federal assistance programs and innovative models to understand impact and areas for improvement and scalability.
- Better understand the SDOH to help achieve health equity.
- Research the intersection of climate change, food security, and nutrition.
AAEA will continue to engage with the White House and relevant agencies as implementation of the National Strategy moves forward.