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1,200 speak up for Federal research funding for Food and Agriculture
Date:11/8/2011

lays a significant role in the overall health of the U.S. economy and has been one of the few bright spots in recent years. In 2010, U.S. farms and ranches spent $288 billion to produce goods valued at $369 billion; the value of U.S. food and agriculture exports is expected to be more than $140 billion in 2011, creating a record trade surplus of $42.5 billion for the sector. Furthermore, the jobs of 21 million Americans depend on the vitality of the U.S. agriculture and food sector.

Investments in publicly funded research are critical for maintaining a successful agriculture and food sector. For every $1 invested in publicly funded agricultural research, $20 in economic activity is generated. Although the private sector engages in its own research and development, it depends upon the results of foundational research provided by public support. According to signatory Michiel van Lookeran Campagne, head of Syngenta Biotechnology, "Federally-funded research for food and agriculture has been a foundation on which technology innovators and growers in the U.S. have built the most competitive agricultural sector in the world. Syngenta invests about a $1 billion a year in R&D for agricultural innovation to help farmers improve productivity, and the sustainability of their business and the environment. We translate the knowledge from public sector research in basic science and technology into new products and techniques for growers. Federal funding for this research is essential for U.S. competitiveness."

As the letter concludes, "continued investment in science for food and agriculture is essential for maintaining the nation's food, economic, and national security," a statement that is endorsed by more than 1,200 individuals and organizations from across the United States.

The letter and list of signatories is available at <http://bit.ly/vOnFvh>.


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Contact: Adam Fagen
PublicAffairs@aspb.org
301-296-0898
American Society of Plant Biologists
Source:Eurekalert

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