ITIF Calls for Increased Focus on Agricultural Innovation
WASHINGTON (June 10, 2013) - The United States Senate will vote on a new ten-year farm bill this evening. In response Val Giddings, Senior Fellow with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), releases the following statement:
"While the Senate bill with its continued unnecessary crop insurance subsidies for farmers is far from perfect, it is important to note its focus on continued public investment in agricultural research, which will enhance economic development and improve our global response to climate change.
The current bill would bring modest increases to the USDA's competitive grants research program, and perhaps more importantly, would establish a vehicle to enable and strengthen public/private partnerships in R&D through the establishment of a Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR). Public investments in agricultural research have produced among the highest returns of any public sector expenditures, and expanded investment in federal agricultural research programs will further business development and innovation in this important sector.
In addition, continued focus on agricultural innovation will advance efforts to create more climate resilient crops with higher yields. As ITIF has noted, the challenges to the world's food supply caused by climate change and population growth will require the production of more food, feed and fiber in the next 40 years than the sum total of all harvests since the dawn of agriculture. The only mechanism for possibly reaching this goal is the continued investment in plant genetics and genetically modified organisms to develop next generation crops and seeds that can meet this increased demand.
The current farm bill is a step in the right direction to address these challenges. However, future agricultural policy must focus even more specifically on agricultural R&D if we are to maximize agricultural innovation."